We were stunned at our recent homecoming event with the large number of folks who came out to support us. It poured rain all day. Even with the wind and rain, we had a couple hundred guests pass through. It made me consider that it really does ‘take a village’ to do what we do at Old Friends. Our volunteers are truly amazing individuals without whom we could not exist. I want to thank each and every person who helped and I’m just praying I don’t forget to mention someone. Please forgive me if I do.
The morning began with Moneigh Mary, Cindy, Garnetta and Peg setting up the auction in our barn. They stayed all day long running it until we packed up at 6ish. Over at the tent, Patty Stinnett was working on securing the tent roof and had gallons of rainwater dumped on her. She also made a donut run at our local bakery for us and she cannot even eat donuts. Now that is above and beyond the call of duty! Alex LeBlanc took our morning tour group out and came back soaked. As a matter of fact, Michael and Diane, Beth Shannon, and Rick Horton were rain-soaked for most of the day. Sarah from Georgetown College helped out all morning. Viv Rowe, Laura Battles, Viv Morrison, and Rick Capone were all on hand to pitch in. Mercer VandenBurg worked the beverage station after fixing breakfast at his church all morning. Mary and Jason Matthews provided a wonderful cake! Roberta and Bea were working hard in the office and gift shop. Our trusty tour guides Charlie Brown, Tom Beatty, Rick Horton and Beth Shannon were on hand to guide folks around in the rain. Barbara Fossum and Barbara Bowen did a great job working with our auctioneers.
The list of our Donors of auction items is astonishing and too lengthy for me to do justice. From our local signature horse farms who donate halters, to our supporters far and near who sent auction items this past year for this event – we thank all of you most gratefully.
Our very good friends, Shades of Grass came to play music and had to squeeze into a small, semi-dry corner of the tent. They did a fantastic job. Everyone enjoyed their music so much! Tom Sayre and Curt Sharff have kindly been our auctioneers for years now. They are the best! Furlong’s BBQ dinner was delicious as always.
We thank our sponsors, Ale 8 One and Southern States for their continued support these past years at this event.
Special mentions should go to Michael Blowen, our founder, as I watch him running completely non-stop for at least a 60 day stretch this time of year. Michael sets a high bar for the rest of us. Diane White is the constant, consistent, quiet tower of strength behind all of us. Nothing is too small for her attention and we would be lost without her. Janet and Kent work very hard around the clock caring for the horses. Our regular core volunteers who couldn’t volunteer at this event; Linda, Teri, Rachel, Martin, Kelly, Tim, Nick, Rick, Ellen, Carol and Elizabeth are diligent and dedicated individuals. Bea Snyder volunteers in the office and gift shop six days a week. All year long. She attended Ferdinand’s Ball on Thursday, ran our booth at Beulah Park on Saturday, worked Homecoming all day Sunday and…. was back in the office on Monday. Her dedication is an inspiration to me.
This event is the end of our busiest week (Derby week) in our busiest month of the year. We are all already exhausted by the time Homecoming arrives. Our volunteers persevere and get us through each day all year long. Truly, they are the backbone of our organization. On a daily basis, all these folks give of themselves, hold us up and allow us to operate. They are the greatest group of people you can imagine. We can never thank them enough.
P.S. from Michael: Sylvia often goes unnoticed in the back organizing all of our Old Friends activities from soup to nuts.. and I do mean nuts. She doesn’t allow the smallest detail to escape her attention. She’s one of the only people at Old Friends who can keep the small picture and the Cinerama view in perspective, simultaneously. All of the retirees owe her an awful lot.