At 5pm on Wed 15th June, Hilda DeLucia began the formalities by thanking everyone for attending both the Open House, which had started at 12noon (see previous article) and the Recognition Ceremony. She explained that the volunteers were a combination of adults, teens and companies. The support she has received for the teen center has been beyond what she could have imagined. Among the many benefactors, she mentioned that Codfish Hill Construction supplied the paint that brightened up the space so much. Rings End Lumber provided wood for the cubicles and countertops. Bobs Furniture provided, among other items, the wonderful mirror that hangs by the piano.
She noted that the Pro Access Center was the first organization not connected to the schools to get a grant from the Bethel Education Foundation. She believes this speaks to the fact that the Foundation recognizes the need for teens to have a safe place to connect after school.
In fact, says DeLucia, the whole town rallied in many different ways. But she drew attention to Selectman Richard Straiton, who she feels was the backbone with the move to the temporary premises. Between November 2010 to March 2011, he spent part of almost every Wednesday working on making this temporary home work. She pointed out emphatically that she couldn’t have done this without him.
She also mentioned that both Selectman Paul Szatkowski and First Selectman Matt Knickerbocker recognized the need for a temporary home too and helped push the process forward.
Knickerbocker then spoke and thanked Szatkowsky and Straiton for their efforts and input. He mentioned that one of the first things that landed on his lap in 2009 was the lead and asbestos report. This led to the decision that the old facility was no longer safe for teens. There were also parking issues. At that point, he put the “teen issues” on hold and started seeking grant money. He emphasized that during these years, DeLucia has been very patient.
He says that Straiton, being the architect and builder, has come up with the idea of building an annex on the side of the high school gym, but there are many things to be done before this vision can become a reality.
Straiton himself said a personal “thank you” to DeLucia. He remembered the time when the Town Hall was a school and said it gladdened him to see kids back in the building.
DeLucia recognized the Youth Commission, saying “farewell” to the high school representative and welcoming the new one. There are many exciting changes happening in the Pro Access Bethel Teen Center, plus a lot of the favorites staying on board. Everyone agreed that it was the combined effort of the community that brought the Pro Access to its new, albeit temporary, home. The pictures with captions can be found on our Facebook page.
So many of us support causes that have been around for years without really knowing what they are all about. “Jimmy Fund? Isn’t that for cancer?” And that’s GREAT that you support it because cancer IS awful – a devastating, rotten disease. But it would be wonderful to know a bit about the fund, how it got started and, really, who was Jimmy?
The Jimmy Fund started in 1948 – 63 years ago this year. What was then the Variety Club of New England (Now the Variety Children’s Charity of New England) and the Boston Braves baseball team joined together to help 12-year old Einar Gustafson while he was a patient of Dr Sidney Farber, founder of the Children’s Cancer research Foundation (renamed Dana-Farber Cancer Institute).
Gustafson was dubbed “Jimmy” to protect his privacy and went on a national radio program from his hospital room. He appealed across the nation for revenue to support Dr Farber’s research into modern chemotherapy, and the appeal raised more than $200,000 in one year. This was the birth of the Jimmy Fund.
After his remission of cancer, Gustafson returned to his family’s farm in northern Maine and lived after that quietly in Massachusetts for many years, out of the spotlight. Everyone at the Dana-Farber institute assumed that he had passed away, because the chance for a cure for pediatric cancer was so low during those times.
Gustafson had never intentionally concealed his whereabouts – he just went about his life anonymously until the 50th anniversary of the original radio broadcast – 22 May, 1998. At that point, he contacted the Dana-Farber institute and gained near-celebrity status. His story was featured in national magazines and newspapers and in 1999 his home state of Maine held a Recognition Day for him. He was named Honorary Chairman of the Jimmy Fund.
After that, he continued to make efforts on behalf of the Jimmy fund, recording public service announcements for radio and TV, visiting patients at the Dana-Farber institute and appearing at Jimmy Fund events.
Unfortunately, Gustafson succumbed to a stroke at age 65 on 21 January, 2001. The fact that he was cured at a time when a cure for cancer was such an unattainable thought, and then went on to live a full life, serves as an inspiration to all, says the president of the Dana-Ferber Cancer Institute.
On 6 June, Bethel Baseball opened the Al Leonard Tournament with a ceremony at 5pm, honoring the Jimmy Fund (for pictures, see our Facebook page). The Tournament runs till 23 June and contributions taken at games this year will go towards the Jimmy Fund. For more information about the Tournament, the Schedule and other details, visit the Tournament website.
Last Saturday morning was supposed to herald the end of the In-Town soccer season, with the end of year picnic and award-giving being held at the Rockwell Field on 11 June from 12:00-1:00 p.m. However, the last game is now going to be on the 11th before the picnic.
For details, please go onto www.bethelsoccer.org and click on the “In-town” link. Here you will not only find details for the 11th’s games and picnic, but also information on free summer soccer and the soccer camp being held by UK International.
IMPORTANT: There are also details here on the site about try-outs on the 8 and 10 June for Travel Soccer.
Here are just a few pictures from the Girls’ Majors and Girls’ Seniors warm-ups and scrimmages on Rourke field on Sat morning. More pictures can be found on our Bethel Buzz Facebook Page.