I can’t move past this year’s Relay for Life without one final word about this amazing local non-profit organization.
The East St. Tammany Relay for Life event was held last Saturday night, April 28 and raised almost $200,000!
Simply saying that number is so amazing to me, when you consider this is just a group of local people who have worked the entire past year to prepare for their once-a-year fundraiser.
Since The Slidell Independent returned to the scene in January, 2009, I have been drawn to provide a lot of coverage for our volunteer organizations. Why?
First, they are a vital part of our community and what goes on here, so it is natural for the local paper to give them coverage.
But also, the good that they do for the people in the Slidell area is so worthwhile that it is only right for a community paper to provide some recognition.
The amazing thing is that the vast majority of the volunteers we have in this area are not doing it for the recognition. But I believe our paper is playing a part in helping the groups succeed by promoting what they do, and helping gain support.
When you talk about people who are “doing it for the right reasons,” you don’t have to look any further than the leadership of the Relay for Life organization in Slidell, and the hundreds of volunteers who have made this event now rank as one of the most successful fundraisers in the Southeast United States region!
Over the past three years, the group has raised over $800,000 for cancer research and to help cancer survivors. How unbelievable is that, when you again consider we have a small city here compared to the much larger cities that stack up against the East St. Tammany group.
I realize the Relay for Life group is a different kind of organization than some other charity events. They solicit hundreds of people for the teams to walk on the track for the night, and seek sponsorships from local businesses to make it a true community effort in raising the money.
Even though most fundraisers might raise $10,000, $20,000 or even the rare totals like Jazz on the Bayou, which raised $81,000 for charity this year, Relay is such an impressive effort in the way it was formulated to draw so many people in. That is the key behind the potential to raise such a large total of money, but it still never happens without the constant drive, effort and commitment of so many in the group each year.
I honestly look at organizations like that and wonder where they find the effort to do it year-after-year.
Congratulations to all who took part in this year’s Relay for Life. You are truly an inspiration in what you do.
As a 15-year sports editor in Slidell to start my newspaper career back in the 70s and 80s, it’s pretty common for me to run into former athletes who I wrote about.
But I was especially surprised last week at the Ozone Camellia Court afternoon luncheon to see Chip Davis, one of the athletes I covered from my earliest days.
I always remembered Chip as a baseball player for Slidell High in the early 70s since he was left handed and played first base for the Tigers.
Chip approached me at the Ozone event and surprisingly, I immediately remembered him even though he graduated in 1975 and it has been over 30 years. It’s surprising the way I can quickly recall some of the names, teams, sport and even position some athletes played, and Chip was one of those people.
He is now an orthopedic doctor in Mandeville and was very kind in telling me how much he has enjoyed the return of the Slidell paper to the area.
Thanks for the nice remarks Chip and it was great seeing you again.
Speaking of another face from the past, I saw one of my favorites two weeks ago at a funeral service I attended in Slidell.
I hadn’t seen former Slidell baseball star, and longtime local insurance agent Floyd Fogg in many years, so it was great to talk to him that day. Floyd and I have had a baseball connection in Slidell since I have been in the newspaper business. His son, 1972 Slidell High grad Kevin Fogg, was one of the greatest baseball players ever to put on the green and white at Slidell High.
Then his grandson, Kevin Fogg Jr., came along behind his dad and was every bit the baseball talent of his father. Both Kevin and his son played college ball and had a shot at the major leagues.
Floyd, who is now 86 years old and looks fantastic, said he is still helping young kids with their baseball ability, teaching them with a batting cage at his Pearl River home. It’s not surprising that Floyd is still at it since the guy has as much baseball knowledge as anyone who has ever played the game in this area.
Keep up the good work Floyd, and I might stop by to see you out there with the kids one day.
Kevin Chiri can be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.