“Round up the usual suspects.” Casablanca is one of my favorite movies and Claude Rains speaks that line both at the beginning and the end of the movie.
The Tickets for Kids project is winding down and I’m hoping that some youngsters are excited about attending this Saturday’s morning session of the NCAA Division III Wrestling Championships here in Cedar Rapids. I have received enough donations to buy over 600 tickets and have sent out over 400 so far. I’m still working to find enough groups that want to come and watch some exciting wrestling action.
So many people have been amazingly kind.
Chuck Yrigoyen, the commissioner of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, acted as the point man in getting NCAA approval. Cornell College athletic director, John Cochrane, assistant AD, Dick Simmons, and head coach, Mike Duroe have been incredibly supportive – as have Cornell alumni and fans. I’m guessing that some of the latter got tired of seeing me standing outside the men’s restroom asking them for money.
KJ Pilcher published an article about Tickets for Kids in the Cedar Rapids Gazette that revitalized the effort. Contributions had stalled, but when the article came out on Christmas Eve a rash of new donations came in. Thanks, KJ.
Corporate donors are key to the success of any fundraising effort and I’ve been blessed. The Cedar Rapids Marriott has been very generous, giving $2,000. If you’re staying at the Marriott this weekend for the DIII Championships, please look up the GM, Fred Jones, and thank him for supporting wrestling.
Terrostar, a web development company, and Medix Dental, a computer solutions provider to dental offices, made the very first pledges. Both are located in Davenport, IA and both are owned by Tom Terronez, a former high school wrestler.
Two printing companies in Hiawatha, IA – The Fisher Group and J & A Printing also got on board early. Each company believes strongly in supporting our community. Thank you, Jeff Donald at The Fisher Group and Scott Cadwallader at J & A.
The Ad Group, an advertising agency in Davenport, has been a client of mine for ten years. Over that time the principal owner, Mike Vondran, has become a good friend. Mike lost his 13-year-old son, Hunter, in a tragic accident a few years ago. The Ad Group donated in Hunter’s honor. Incidentally, Mike and his wife, Brenda, started the HAVlife Foundation in Hunter’s memory. So far they have given over $30,000 to middle school music and athletic programs.
Business Information Technologies in Edina, MN contributed. I’m glad that we have a youth wrestling club from Minnesota coming down as a way to say thanks to Rick Byers at BIT.
Then there are those “usual subjects” from the wrestling community. I have chosen to keep all of the private donors anonymous, but you know who they are. Go see who has supported Living the Dream, Wrestling 411, or any of the Save My College’s Wrestling Team sites and you’ll see the same names repeatedly. A lot of them sent me checks.
Special mention should be made of the posters on Hawkeye Insider. It may not be the most visited of Hawkeye wrestling fan sites, but its members are a close knit group. I got by far the most support from you folks at Hawkeye Insider than from any other site. Thank you.
To all of you – this was your effort. When those kids start filing in Saturday morning, it’s because of you. They can’t thank you so I will. Bless you all.