The following is a letter I just received from Mr. W. This letter details how 2 men, one a retired baseball player, the other a teacher/coach, along with their wives dedicated a large part of their lives to helping mentally and physically challenged children and adults.This is a follow-up to my previous blog and here is a photo of the night I met Mr. W.
I am hesitant to claim credit for helping those less fortunate. For me it is simply treating others the way I would want to be treated. A mutual friend and I had worked at a camp sponsored by the Salvation Army. The camp was in Wisconsin and the campers were teenagers from the inner city of Chicago. My friend, also a teacher/coach was the camp director and hired me to be the water front director.Through this experience he recommended me to Carl. I first met Carl Erskine when he was doing a “Baseball Camp” at Anderson University. He had just retired in 1960 after playing for the Brooklyn and L.A. Dodgers. He contacted me and asked if I would serve as an instructor and be the “Dean” at the camp and live in the college dormitory with the campers for the week they were on campus. I had played baseball at Anderson University and was a young teacher and coach in our community. I was also a life guard for the Anderson Country Club Swimming pool. Through that position I knew many of the community leaders and had taught their children to swim. These were members that had connections with leaders in our State Legislature. This opened opportunities for Carl to seek funding for a community workshop. It was called “The Hopewell Center”, a workshop for mentally challenged young adults. Many businesses in our community provided work opportunities for the clients. Much of the work involved sorting, packaging, and assembly line projects.The clients were paid for their services and it was a savings for the companies that provided the work opportunities. Carl Erskine was the leader of this project and I was just a tag along.
Carl and I also worked together to secure funding to assist high school athletes to attend the camps sponsored by the “Fellowship of Christian Athletes”. We took approximately 40 high schoolers each summer to camps at Estes Park, CO, Black Mountain, NC and Lake Geneva, WI. Again Carl could approach the leaders at General Motors Factories in Anderson, IN for financial help. He was never turned down. I always chaperoned these trips and took care of details.
When my wife and I retired to Naples, FL we heard about a group called “Foundation for Developmentally Disabled.” This group had a bowling league for its clients. I was asked to be a lane captain and soon after was asked to be the coordinator for this group. My wife and I accepted this responsibility and have been doing this for 11 years. We have expanded the group and now have bowlers at 2 locations. They bowl every week for the entire year. We have a banquet for them each September at the Spanish Wells County Club in Bonita Springs. The Lions Club in Bonita Springs provides the funding to support this banquet and special recognition for each bowler. We now have expanded this group to include clients from both Collier and Lee Counties. We presently have 107 bowlers each week. This group is even larger when the part time residents return from the North for the winter months.
If you want information on starting a bowling group for the developmentally disabled email firstname.lastname@example.org .
Stan, I have rambled long enough although it has brought back many fond memories. Our son, Dennis, is the one that has motivated us to help those less fortunate. He is a very special young man and he and his special friends have brought much joy to our lives.
|Marty Cobern said…
Great story of a truly great and MODEST man.
May 30, 2016 08:04:53