Have you ever heard the expression “Holding down the fort?” Well, the Concordia Kahunas Relay For Life team were holding down the fort, and everything else…literally! The blue canopy that covered the hot dog sale in front of WalMart on Saturday had a Kahuna hanging onto every pole for the six-hour stretch of wind, rain and breaks of sun. That pesky wind grabbed umbrellas, balloons, rubber gloves, raffle tickets and anything left unattended for a second! They set up in the rain and endured a noontime deluge but nothing dampened the spirits of this veteran relay bunch!
The crew huddled under the tent changed during the day, with assorted family members and friends pitching in or stopping by, and it took most of them to hold down the awning. Despite the cold and wet, this is one happy group. Their optimism and cheery banter must have appealed to shoppers, because they sold nearly 50 pounds of hot dogs along with drinks and chips and a goodly number of raffle tickets for their Lottery Tree (A tree covered with Scratch-off lottery tickets to be given away at the June 21 Relay For Life). This team has had many fundraisers to support the American Cancer Society over the last 7 years and the money they raise is important, but they have brought something equally as valuable to the event… their spirit!
There could be no more positive ambassadors for the cause than this group from Concordia Lutheran Church in Newfane. Karen and Shelly are the driving force and many others have joined them for the drive! Here are folks ready to do whatever it takes, and to do it with a smile, and it was great to work with them today.
In addition to wind and rain, they had to listen to the loud, pink-haired clown hollering to customers all day! Pockets got to talk to kids and families about coming to the Relay For Life in June to enjoy the many family activities on tap. She blew up a lot of balloons, and the wind only blew a few away (You would not believe how QUICK Shelly is at chasing flying objects! She could have been a Seeker at Hogwarts with Harry Potter! You go, swift Shelly!) Everybody loves balloons and smiles and we had plenty of both. Young Cameron did a great job of advertising the hot dogs for sale and proved to be an able clown assistant. While many adults have given up in frustration when trying to learn how to twist those skinny balloons into something resembling an animal, young Cam picked it up on the first try! Way to go, Cam.
You may not think cooking up hot dogs is a hard job but consider this. Not only did someone have to truck in a canopy, tables, food cart, a giant grill, coolers, spare gas tanks and untensils, cash box and change, but they had to shop for hot dogs, buns, condiments, hot dog trays, cases of pop and water, straws, food service gloves, etc. etc. etc. Of course, they had to apply for a health department permit, make sure everything was properly stored and prepared, and keep it up to standards in the worst of weather conditions. Oh, and find willing hands to brave the elements for a big chunk of Saturday. Thanks to Grandpa Ralph and Wildman Jeff for being the grill guys (right under the edge of the canopy that funneled rainwater over their heads). Thanks to all the lovely ladies (and the big guy) who pitched in, held on tight and shared the laughs, and thanks to assorted Kahuna kids and grandkids who popped in and out all day.
Funny thing about the weather is that it was reminiscent of many nights at past Relays! Always in mid-May in Barker, our Relay teams have endured cold, wind, rain and whatever came along with good humor and grace. We share lots of funny stories of Relays gone by and know that we are a part of something that matters, something good and positive. Those who embrace the true spirit of the Relay For Life share a vision of hope and know they are fighting for the life and health of loved ones for generations to come. They have given their hearts and hands to help others; to serve their communities and the larger world family we share. While many teams burn out or move on, the Kahunas have become stronger and remain one of Relay’s shining lights. I am so proud of everything they do to promote the cause and fight the cancer battle.
Thank you to WalMart for giving space to the group for fundraising. Thank you most of all to all those who stopped by the tent today to support the cause! They couldn’t have done it without you!!
On a totally different note… some of the kids who stopped by for balloon creations were Soooooo very polite that Pockets was thrilled! Young boys and girls with good manners are such a joy!! I hope their parents are proud of them!