The parade will go on. The parades will go on. At City Hall today Mayor Michael Nutter accepted $200,000 from the new Greater Philadelphia Traditions Fund and announced another $100,000 will be received. The money will cover non-police parade costs for the Mummers Parade and 9 other parades the past two years and going forward through 2012. Congressman Bob Brady and philanthropist Gerry Lenfest and others were thanked for their creation and contribution to the fund. The fund provides a stable source of dedicated revenue and the arrangement gives the community organizations a better sense of what the costs will be. Freedom in 21st Century Philadelphia is not free, but it now appears to be more affordable.
Walking through the Philadelphia Zoo on a warm, sun-drenched morning in October. It’s a beautiful memory. It’s a memory that will last, too, because of the people with whom I walked. They came from throughout the Philadelphia region to the 5th annual Walk Like MADD to save lives. The walkers were all smiles and decked out in colors and imagery of loved ones. There was face-painting for the kids; a folk singer for the adults. Bonnie Weiner, of MADD PA, and Dr. Bryce Templeton, of MADD’s National Board of Directors, were among the staff and volunteers who directed the meaningful event. Miss Philadelphia 2010, Andrea Helfrich, was there, too, as were other pageant winners. All these family members, friends, co-workers, high school students and others individually or in teams raised money and pledged their time to encourage responsibility and prevent drunk driving crashes. Since Mothers Against Drunk Driving was created in 1980, drunk driving fatalities have been reduced by about 40-percent. That means, nearly 400-thousand people are alive today that might not have been. A significant portion of this achievement is attributed to the education, awareness, lobbying and legislation connected to MADD. However, each year thousands of people still die at the hands of drunk drivers. Several hundred deaths are recorded in Pennsylvania. The cause remains. The work remains. The families who know the pain of this loss know there is much work yet to do and that’s why they gather to remember their loved ones, but to do so by looking forward to save the lives of people they will never meet. Appreciation is owed to the Key Club of Council Rock High School South and their leader, math teacher Jaime Heicklen, to Team Nikki and to Team Jacob and all the teams walking in the name of a victim, to Jason and John, and all the ADA’s who came from the Montgomery County District Attorney’s Office, and to all the participants. These folks who are your friends and neighbors are giving of their time and their money to keep alive a son or daughter, a mother or father. You might want to check out MADD online to learn of some of the current issues and questions related to responsible driving. Thanks, too, to the friendly and helpful Philadelphia Zoo staff and volunteers. I found to be particularly entertaining and frisky today the animals at America’s first zoo. Check out the orangutan who decided to put a bowl on his head. Life of the party, and today, …a party for life.
The need for blood can be acute in the Philadelphia region. Woodland members give their time on a beautiful Saturday to save lives. For example, Amy Dingler stepped up to the plate and gave an arm.
Tom Loomis provided the leadership. Okay, he brought the doughnuts.
A couple of blocks away at Burke Playground, Megan West, Jen Cohen and friends held the first annual “Save the Mummers and Mutts” event. The folks at TreeTops Animal Rescue have been finding homes for puppies neglected in the South. Laurie, Beth and Andrea deserve thanks for their great efforts to help the pooches.
It was a riot watching the dogs. They were given a free run during the event inside the rink. It was like watching the “Puppy Bowl,” you know that event that runs the day of the Super Bowl.
You can fund out more about the ongoing effort by checking out treetopsrescue.org. The dogs do not bark with a southern accent.
Also on hand while I was there, members of the Quaker City String Band. QC provided the sound track for the festive afternoon of people and puppies.
Speaking of champions, it was interesting to see the results of the Phillies poll I posted last week. The question was which team most fits the description “Golden Era,” the 1950, 1980 or 2010 Phils? With about 3-quarters of the vote, the current teams wins. The 1950 Phillies edged the 1980 Phils for second.