Legion, community answering the call
A benefit was held yesterday at the American Legion post in Rices Landing for a 6-month-old Carmichaels child who is facing two surgeries.
The results of that fundraiser are not know to us at this time, but we would expect it was a success because as this newspaper has reported numerous times, when there is a need the folks of Greene and Washington counties always seem to come through. It is a testament to the unselfish mindset of not only the organizations that put on these events but to the individuals who reach into their pockets and make a donation.
What attracted our attention to this particular event was that this was the second time the American Legion Riders of Post 816 stepped up to help a sick child, and in both instances, spearheading the efforts were two women who belong to the American Legion Riders.
So, what is it about helping others that keeps those who do it coming back for more? One of those no-nonsense women, Sandi Hogue, said it is just an awesome feeling to be able to do something to help make someone’s life a little bit easier.
And, when it comes to a cause, nothing seems to generate unity like a sick child. That was demonstrated in August when the Legion motorcycle riders decided 8-year-old Janelle Burketts of Dry Tavern was a compelling reason to gear up for their first big benefit.
Until then, Legion service projects had involved taking collections and sending items to all local veterans deployed oversees, and what a commendable enterprise that is. Yet, as noted by the other female member of the legion riders, Charlotte Blaker – equally as altruistic as her fellow legion member, Hogue – it is an amazing feeling to help our veterans and community, but an even better feeling to watch how the Legion, the community and volunteers from all over the area unite for a cause.
What the Legion and its auxiliary did for the Burketts was quite extraordinary. Yet, the effort to help extended beyond Post 186. Active Legion members, auxiliary members, Sons of the American Legion, Legion Riders, social members and area residents pitched in to help this young girl diagnosed with cancer
More than 110 pounds of spaghetti was sold at the dinner, the community donated more than 60 baskets to raffle, the Legion Riders did a motorcycle benefit ride and the Legion had a successful turnout the day of the event with more than 80 crew volunteers.
The Legion purchased a reliable vehicle the Burketts could use to drive Janelle to Pittsburgh for treatments, and the youngster is currently home-schooled and is taking chemotherapy treatments.
We expect the Legion heard about Janelle’s condition and rallied around the family. We have no way of knowing, but we doubt the family approached the Legion asking for help. It was the Legion, we would like to think, that heard the news and took control of the fundraiser, which by all measurements was a success.
Now, the plight of another family, that of Bryan and Nikki Balschmiter of Carmichaels, reached the ears of the Legion Riders, and of course, Hogue and Blaker. They have a young son born with cryptorchidism who is in immediate need of two surgeries.
The money raised from yesterday’s dinner and silent auction will go directly to Children’s Hospital to help with a “downpayment” of $5,278 prior to the Nov. 19 surgery.
Nikki Balschmiter’s family launched some activities to raise money by selling T-shirts, putting up posters and holding a bake sale at the Covered Bridge Festival. Then a relative ran into a woman who suggested she talk with Sandi Hogue’s husband, Darrin, at the American Legion.
And, as they say, the rest is history.