Let’s face it—times are tough.
Even though there has been an upswing in recent months, the economy of the nation as a whole is still troubled, and many of us struggle to make ends meet. Tens of thousands are unemployed, while others work more than one job in order to put food on the table. With winter on the horizon, heating bills loom, along with a need to clothe the kids and stoke the fire, while juggling the bills. While many of these issues hit home, life in the Upper Delaware Valley continues to inspire, and I’m grateful to have the opportunity to lend my support to good causes for others less fortunate than myself.
As I travel the countryside, one word constantly comes to mind: community. After college, I struck out on my own, determined to make my mark on the world, seeking fame and fortune and giving little thought to others, believing that the ills of the world were someone else’s problem and that (no matter what I heard) one person could not actually make a difference. I found a tiny bit of fame along the way, and what little fortune I accumulated slipped through my fingers as quickly as it came. Depressed and dejected, I reexamined my priorities, packed it in and made my way back home, where the heart is.
Almost immediately, I was humbled by the outpouring of community spirit that abounds here in the region. Observing neighbors helping neighbors, with a generosity of spirit that I had never witnessed before, it wasn’t long before I felt the need to be an active member, and sought ways that I could participate. Since money is often scarce, volunteerism seemed like a good idea, and (being less selfish than in my youth,) I decided to donate what I could—time. September is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and last year I chose to join the fight by standing in solidarity with the kids and shave my head during the local St. Baldrick’s “Line of Hope/Conga against Cancer across America” that Eldred’s Lou Monteleone organizes every fall. Monteleone toils all year long to help others and his yearly events (www.stbaldricks.org/conga ) raise thousands of dollars to help eradicate childhood cancer in our lifetime. The expression “bald is beautiful” comes to mind, but I allowed my (still selfish) vanity to prevail this year and sponsored others, seeking a way to contribute and still keep my hair. Although the Line of Hope has already taken place, it’s never too late to make a contribution, and one can contact Lou at 845/557-3321. Every dime helps.
Since it’s no secret that I love to hear the sound of my own voice, the kind folks at Thunder 102 radio have given me the opportunity to chatter endlessly over the last few years on behalf of The River Reporter and as a result, I feel the need to give back. The station (www.thunder102.com ) is community driven, and I’m grateful to be a small cog in the wheel of all that they do (as long as they let me keep talking). In association with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, (www.stjude.org ), Thunder 102 is once again lending it’s considerable support to the cause and held its second annual “Hoops for Hope” fundraiser last Monday on campus at SUNY Sullivan, with members of the community donating money to shoot basketball free-throws and listen to me call the shots, along with on-air radio personality Michelle Semerano.
A game of “H-O-R-S-E” capped the evening with Thunder’s Paul Ciliberto and Barry Lewis of the Times Herald Record, teamed up against Liberty’s (IMHO) legend-in-his-own-mind Fred Kahn and honest-to-goodness legend Larry Chance, who along with the Earls, recorded monster hits “Life is but a Dream” and “Remember Then” back in the ‘50s. Chance continues to perform the music that helped define rock and roll, and members of the community showed up to see him, donate to the cause and have fun in the process. With Greg Goldstein of the Misner Agency refereeing, Ciliberto’s team reigned supreme (sorry, Fred), and I’ll have another opportunity to keep talking as the third annual Country Cares for St. Jude Kids Radiothon takes place on Thursday the 19th and 20th. Dharma the Wonder Dog and I will be on-air, gratefully accepting pledges and keeping the tote board updated as the 48-hour event unfolds. To donate, visit the website or call 800/720-5944. I may be horse myself by the time the radiothon draws to a close, but don’t be surprised if when we see each other next, I hold out my hand and ask (for the kids, of course) “brother, can you spare a dime?”