|Hundreds turn out to benefit boy with leukemia|
|The Press - Features|
|Written by Kelley Lannigan|
|Thursday, 01 September 2011 10:00|
When someone in Baker County needs help, local citizens don’t hesitate to pitch in and lend a hand, especially when that someone happens to be a child.
The second benefit for 7-year-old Hayden Williams, a Baker County child battling leukemia, was held on the grounds of the Baker County Moose Lodge August 27.
The event raised money to help the Williams family with Hayden’s considerable medical bills. The little boy has already had numerous blood transfusions and two bone marrow transplants.Organized by Katie Rhoden, Annette Barton and Amy Collins, the event featured a 5K run, food and baked goods sales and musical entertainment all day.
“The participation in the 5K run was amazing, especially in this heat,” said Ms. Rhoden. “Close to 200 people registered for the run.”
Volunteers in vivid orange t-shirts and orange wristbands were everywhere. Many shirts featured an image of an awareness ribbon, a contemporary symbol that stands for hope and support for those battling cancer and for continuing cancer research efforts.
Why orange?Awareness ribbons come in colors, which designates the type of cancer. The color orange is for Leukemia and several other related diseases.
One of the event’s highlights was rides on an unusual “train” known as the Voiture 1352. It’s owned and operated by Larry Burnham, member of the Lake City Moose Lodge and the Lake City chapter of Forty and Eight, an independent honor organization of WWII veterans who returned from France and whose mission focuses on charitable works to benefit child welfare.
The Voiture 1352 is actually an RV that was stripped down and rebuilt by hand from specially fabricated sections of steel to resemble a 19th Century steam engine.
An open air cab in the back has been fitted with seats for passengers. The vehicle is used to promote the Forty and Eight organization and other events.
Mr. Burnham and a small contingent of volunteers who are also members of both organizations drove the train to Macclenny and spent their time giving rides to children and adults.
“We tried to have horse and buggy rides but that fell through at the last minute,” said Ms. Rhoden. “But Mr. Burnham found out somehow about our fundraiser and they brought over this marvelous train.”
Sheriff’s deputies, especially those volunteering for the dunking booth, didn’t mind taking the plunge, and often, as the temperatures soared throughout the day. Maj. Gerald Gonzales, of the sheriff’s operations division, was dunked excessively.
The soaking-wet major shook his head as he escaped the booth at the end of his shift. “I do believe some of these kids must be on baseball teams because they definitely brought their pitching arms out today,” he said, with a laugh.
Attendees were enthusiastically buying tickets for the raffles, especially for the portrait of Tim Tebow painted by Brynne Volner, a 42-inch flat screen TV and the .30-06 rifle with scope.
Tim Starling, who is an old hand at preparing food for benefits and other community events, was manning one of several large gas fired pots filled with chicken and rice.
“We got started two days ago cooking the chicken,” said Tim Starling. As he poured rice into fragrant broth flavored with onion soup mix and chicken stock, Mike Crawford, an uncle of Hayden Williams, stirred the pot with a large wooden paddle.
Mr. Starling says he’s learned the chicken and rice recipe over years of cooking for large crowds.
“We’ll be serving about 700 meals today,” he said. “For that many people it takes a lot of chicken, 72 jumbo bags of rice, 50 carrots, 18 bell peppers, 12 heads of celery and pounds of butter.”
|Last Updated on Thursday, 22 December 2011 11:19|