"THE RAIN, THE PARK AND OTHER THINGS"
United Way staffers arrived at 7:30 a.m., at Kirby Park, on August 13, armed with boxes of tiny t-shirts up to 3XL, hundreds of hotdogs, buns, chips, drinks and trophies. The United Way Children's Parade which was also the 2011 Campaign Kick-off, was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. Around 8:30 a.m. the skies darkened. The parade route (normally on the park's perimeters) along with the Lakeview Band, children, bicycles and volunteers were quickly moved under the safety of the park's pavilion.
By nine o'clock, the heavens opened and torrential rain poured down. Through it all, the Lake View Band continued to play, Jay Michaels held his script firmly in his hand and Greg Duke from the Concho Valley Food Bank started the process of cooking hotdogs. Volunteers scampered to move just about everything into a storage room at the park when the water began to inch forward into the pavilion.
At 9:30 a.m. Bishop Michael Pfeifer arrived. He was originally scheduled to say a few words prior to the start of the parade. "We were going to ask for God's blessings for the parade," he said, "but God blessed us in other ways." Everyone agreed. With triple digit temperatures and weeks on end with no rain at all in the forecast, the thunderstorm was a welcome sight. In fact, it was the perfect way to kick-off the 2011 United Way Campaign.
The t-shirts and trophies will be kept in storage until next year and the hotdogs and buns were donated to United Way partner agencies. Volunteers and staffers made their way through flooded streets back to their respective homes. The United Way of the Concho Valley wants to take this opportunity to acknowledge the parade participants and their families, the volunteers, the Lake View Band, Jay Michaels and Bishop Pfeifer for "Being There" for us. And we'd like to thank a higher authority for providing the much needed rain even though it meant it rained on our parade. We hope to see everyone again next year for the Third Annual United Way Children's Parade.
Rick Mantooth, Fred Key, Patti Brietreiter, Bishop Michael Pfeifer