Annual Fundraiser

It's that time again. I turn another year old, get another year wiser and another handful of grey hairs closer to the golden years. December is a busy time for me between celebrating the holidays and my birthday. In the beginning, I enjoyed receiving gifts, cards and presents. However, as I've gotten older, I've been more inclined to give something for my birthday and the holidays than to be on the receiving end. 

So, to continue in the spirit of holidays past, I would like to invite you to join me in helping my local community throughout this harsh time of year. No obligations, but if you have a few spare dollars and a generous heart, I welcome you to support me in this cause.

As you may know, I had an English teacher high school that started a charity called "Keep Waldo Warm," which provided assistance to needy families and elderly folks in need of warmth during the coldest and most brutal time of year. She was an inspirational member of the community who battled cancer several times before finally losing her fight in 2016. With her death went the funds that she would raise yearly for the charity she helped create for our neighbors.

As a child and young adult, I was helped by the community and its' programs countless times. A little bit can do a lot in the area I grew up in. It is my belief that with your kindness and support we can donate more money this year than the previous year. Maybe even double it. I've already committed $2000 of my own money to the cause, so worst case, I'll be able to help a few of people stay warm this winter. 

Thank you for your consideration and kindness.

I shared a story last year that, even with my awful memory, I will never forget. 

I made my teacher cry. I felt bad for it, but as I got older I've come to appreciate it differently.

My wrestling team was having a scrimmage match at my high school agagainst a "club" program. Most the wrestlers on the other team weren't very good.

I noticed one of the wrestlers on the other team was having a blast on the sidelines. A huge smile across his face. This wrestler on the other team was much bigger than me, at least 80 pounds heavier and upon further glance, I noticed that he had some special needs.

SIDE NOTE: My first and only "real" job as an adult was working with folks with similar needs and conditions. I even thought about attending college to become a psychologist or therapist. 

I asked my coach if I could wrestle him, but my request was dismissed as we were SEVERAL weight classes away from each other. Me being 140 pounds and him being a heavyweight wrestler around 220 pounds. On top of that, we were only a week or so  from all the big tournaments and I was expected to only have one real challenge in the way of me winning a State Championship (of which I fell short of achieving). 

My match that day was against a rookie wrestler from the other team, whom was easily defeated.

A freshman wrestler from my team went out to wrestle the above mentioned dude and beat him.  

A few moments later, I asked my coach again to have a match against the heavyweight wrestler and once again was denied. Risk of injury was too high this close to championship time. However, a senior on our team was going to wrestle him. I, in no uncertain terms, told him to lose the match. He gave a goofy smile and walked to the mat. Of course, the senior wrestler pins the handicapped wrestler from the other team. I was unimpressed to say the very least.  

I went back to my coach and put in my request once more. I'm a passionate person and sometimes that comes across as angry, so it can be a bit intense. I strongly stated my case. After my coach and the rival coach chatted, I was granted the match I had been eager for.

I'm a slight performer, as you know, and I didn't want this guy to think I was letting him win. 

The referee was my gym teacher and he had a smile on his face as he officiated the bout. I finally was pinned and my opponent leaped to his feet with a giant smile across his face. It was amazing and I had a blast. 

This makes me a bit emotional every time I re-tell the story. As I stood behind the wrestling team putting my warm-ups back on, my English teacher came down from the stands and with tear filled eyes asked if she could hug me then left the gymnasium. 

The next morning my first period class was English. Early into the class, she mentioned that I had done something very kind the previous night and asked me if she could share it with the class. I can be painfully shy and, more importantly, I don't think I should be recognized for something that everyone else should have done, so I shook my head and stated that I'd prefer if she didn't tell the class.

Definitely one of my favorite memories from my life thus far.

So with that story shared, I remind you that Maine is a rough (but beautiful) place to live, especially in the winter. Lots of folks live on fixed income or limited income. Our area isn't known for big houses or fancy cars. 

For my birthday and whichever holiday you are celebrating this season, I'd like to ask you for your support and contributions in honor of my high school English teacher. She wanted to help the community and I'd like to continue her spirit by helping as well. The money will be donated to people in need of heating oil and other additional expenses they accrue during these harsh bitter cold months. 

*That's a photo I took while in Maine this summer. Some of the best sunsets I've ever seen have taken place in this part of the world. I strongly suggest checking it out for yourself if you haven't yet :)


The Champ
Unity, ME

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