By Buck Traxler, I-O Editor
The idea popped up as Bev Widhalm was getting ready for work on Monday morning.
The idea, or plan if you will, was to honor our own teachers and staff, in helping to raise funds for the families who lost so much in the senseless shooting tragedy at Sandy Hook School on Dec.14, in Newtown, Conn.
You would have thought this was planned out a couple of weeks ahead of time, instead of basically just one day’s chance of putting it all together.
With the resources and manpower of the Conrad Lions Club, the Conrad Area Chamber of Commerce, the school system and students. The old saying of “I love when a plan comes together,” really had a special meaning.
The word spread about, almost like a wildfire, that on Wednesday evening in the Meadowlark School lunch room a special fund-raiser would take place.
Lions Club members would be cooking and serving up a free-will pancake and ham dinner with the proceeds going towards the Sandy Hook School.
The dinner and a short program was put together, ending in time so parents and children could make it to their respective Wednesday night church services and programs as well.
While greeting people and serving up coffee, Widhalm commented, “We have such a caring community.”
Bev Anderson, a behind-the-scene organizer and helper at the fund-raiser told the I-O, “We just got the word out, this is amazing.” And it was, as the lunch room was packed with diners.
Anderson went on to add, “This is a really good turnout for a short notice, normally once people get home on a cold evening, they don’t want to come out again, and the Lions Club members, they are just awesome.”
Lions Club member Mitch Kellogg commented on the turnout, “It’s amazing the way everybody pulls together, it’s cool.”
Out on the floor, members of the Junior National Honor Society were clearing tables as people finished eating. Helpers included Danielle Moritz, Nicole Erickson, Sheridan Johnson, Jenna Barker, Bert Paulsen, Megan Vandenacre, Anna Jones, Ivy Kinamon, Megan Weis, Kinsey Harris and Ali Wakkinen.
During the short program, CHS cheerleaders Tia Zimbelman and Kaylea Killion talked about how much they were inspired by and appreciated their teachers.
Superintendent of Schools Craig Barringer noted that each of the schools had two or three places for students to go should an occurrence like Sandy Hook take place.
He noted that police, years ago, had come to the schools and did a walk through and made suggestions of what to do should something happen.
He also reminded people that the schools were not built with security in mind, they are 66-years-old he said. Tragedies like this were not even a figment of peoples’ imagination then.
Each classroom has a packet of information of what to do and how a “lock down” plan should be handled, however, admittedly, it is not something they practice.
The K-8 elementary Counselor Danele Dyer talked about the schools being safe.
Barbie Killion, the executive secretary for the CofC said that over $2,900 had been raised for the event. However, that was while people were still being served with a little more than 40 minutes to go before it was over and of course some expenses had to be paid.
Donations may still be made and dropped off at Stockman Bank, Conrad Tire, or the CofC.
Checks may be made to Benefit for Sandy Hook Elementary. The funds will be sent to Newtown for distribution to the 26 victim’s families.