More than 300 people, according to Rotarian Charlie Friddle's headcount near the mid-point of the show, attended the Elkins Rotary Club's PolioPlus Concert on Nov. 11. There was something on the musical menu for everyone.
A hearty "thank you" goes out to Rotarians Bob Dunkerley, Charlie Friddle, Ron LaNeve and the many others who spent so much time putting it together. A very special thanks is extended to Kenny Sexton, owner and producer of the American Mountain Theater, for serving as emcee. His humor kept things interesting between performances. Not to be overlooked is the thanks and appreciation to those who attended helping a very worthy cause and having a fun-filled evening with a smorgasbord of music.
According to Club President Pat Schoonover, not a single group asked to perform refused the invitation if they were not already committed.
"Everyone, Rotarians and performers alike, made every effort to see that the concert was a success," she said. "While the evening's event raised more than $3,420, all of which will go to worldwide Rotary efforts to eradicate the dreaded polio disease, it also went a long way in letting the public know what the local Rotary clubs and the international organization are doing to make life better for mankind."
Schoonover also expressed her sincere thanks to Rotarians Mike Ellis, owner of Papa John's Pizza, for furnishing food for the performers; Pat Schumann of D&E College for her efforts securing the use of Harper-McNeeley Auditorium; Rotary District Governor Ranjit K. Majumder for speaking to the crowd and the many others who did so much behind the scenes to ensure the program's success.
Ron LaNeve, PolioPlus coordinator for the Elkins Rotary Club, told the crowd that a dose of polio vaccine costs about 80 cents. At that rate, the concert raised enough money to immunize nearly 4,300 children in the endemic countries of Pakistan, Afghanistan, India and Nigeria.
As far as I know, and no mention was made of it at the last merchant's meeting on Nov. 9, no one has offered to take up the responsibility to keeping the Downtown Merchants Association alive.
Most everyone knows that Ed Griesel will relinquish leadership of the organization, which he has held for nearly 10 years, at the end of December. Griesel and I have had many private conversations regarding the future of the association and what will happen if it ceases to exist.
The local economy will not fall on its face if the organization dissolves, but it will take with it most if not all those opportunities to plan many of the activities and collective advertising campaigns that have been so successful in the past. Some of the events planned by the organization include the concerts on the town square, helping to plan the Christmas parade and the kids' visit with Santa Claus afterward, the installation of flower boxes and maintaining the flowers that add so much color to the downtown area in the summertime, providing Christmas street lighting and decorations, collective advertising for special shopping days such as those coming up for the Christmas season and may other things that will be sorely missed.
I've had the privilege of covering most of the organization's meetings for the past six years. During that time, interest and participation in and with the group has waxed and waned; there have been sessions of great enthusiasm and some with seemingly little interest at all, disagreement, agreement, cooperation, a lack of cooperation and yes, even hard work. The organization's accomplishments may seem minuscule in the overall scheme of things, but I'll take all bets that once those things come to an end they will be missed by everyone - participant and non-participant alike.
The Veteran's Day ceremony at the All Veteran's Memorial was impressive and the turnout, aided by beautiful weather, was good. Looking over the crowd, however, one saw mostly veteran "gray beards" of wars from as far back as World War II to the present seemingly endless conflict in Afghanistan.
There were precious few representatives of generations after that which fought in Vietnam - who, by the way, came home to much indifference and ridicule. There were precious few of the younger generations there to express their thanks to those who have given so much (many gave their all) to ensure and assure the pleasures and freedoms they so bountifully enjoy. One school was represented by a contingent of any size, the Highland Adventist School Chorus who sang the national anthem. Thanks kids for doing your part in making the ceremony a success.
The day was, as it should be, a national holiday and the schools were closed giving the kids an opportunity to attend the veterans' ceremonies. But, obviously, they chose to spend the day doing things other than taking an hour or so to pay tribute to those who have given and continue to give to ensure that they can do what they mostly please. Their lack of understanding of the costs and responsibilities of freedom is not all their fault, however - for them to grasp the true meaning of anything they have to be taught.
It is sad that so few of our younger generations know, or care, what Veterans Day is all about.
A few weeks ago I wrote about the many drivers who disregard the warning signals at railroad crossings that a train is approaching risking life and limb, and a trip into eternity, to save a few minutes of time.
I was told this past week by those who work closely with the railroads that the violations of local railroad crossing signals continue to occur. I was also told that a couple weeks ago a woman with a young child challenged the Potomac Eagle for the right to cross an intersection first and lost. I have received conflicting information regarding the collision, but it is said that her vehicle was dragged from 100 feet to 300 feet. The woman and her young child had to be air lifted to medical facilities.
Folks, is it worth the risk for the few minutes you "might" save?
Wanda Arbogast, owner of Mountain Dreams Country Treasures, has moved her business to a location "with windows." Still located in The Town Mall, she is now located where Freestyle Skateboard used to be.
Bob and Sue Farrar, directors of the Randolph County Ministerial Association, want everyone to know that the Ministerial Association and community volunteers will sponsor a community Thanksgiving Dinner on Thanksgiving Day at the Odd Fellows Lodge on the Five-lane from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. To borrow a phrase from IHOP: Come Hungry - Leave Happy. The lodge is located across from the Elkins Regional Convalescent Center. Everyone is welcome and there is no charge. Volunteers are needed. If you'd like to help, give Bob and Sue a call at 304-637-2331.
Tyrand Ministries is also hosting a Thanksgiving dinner from 11 a.m. until 2 p.m. They will also deliver to shut-ins. The dinner, according to Director Belinda Toms, is for anyone - not just senior citizens.
There are other agencies hosting dinners on Thanksgiving, I'm sure, but these are all I know about.
Sue and I wish everyone a safe, memorable and happy Thanksgiving. There is so much to be thankful for: the gorgeous mountains that surround and protect us, the wonderful community in which we live, work and play, our healthy environment in which we raise our children, our security and peace of mind that is so precious to us and totally unknown in so many parts of the world. Let us all take the time to remember the true meaning of the day and give thanks for all the blessings provided us by our supreme deity.