The annual Philadelphia Mummers String Band Association banquet is underway at the Union League. 3 inductees into Hall of Fame later and awards to Jan. 1 winners.
Here’s a chance to show Mummer Power! Wendy Hamilton, of SugarHouse Casino, has been an enlightened friend to many community causes, including the Mummers, and the leader of a team creating a positive work environment at her business since becoming a leading business person in the Philadelphia region. She is up for the “Woman Who Empowers Us” award, presented by 95.7 BEN-FM.
You can vote, as as many times as you like, and they don’t ask any personal information. Here’s the link.
Wendy is in one of the 4 categories offered. In another category, I would suggest Cathy Engel Menendez, of PECO, for the Comcast Business “Productivity” Award. Cathy is an excellent manager and communicator.
In the Cancer Treatment Centers category, I know well that they are all equally deserving, so I will not recommend one over another.
It’s one of those moments when you wonder what it all means. I met a little boy and his family a little over a year ago. His name was Weston Keeton(in the middle), Mom, Julie, was as kind, patient and gracious as they come; as real as a good, almost overwhelmed mom is. Julie and her husband, Adam, and their children are from Tennessee, but Julie and Weston had been living in Philadelphia for almost a third of Weston’s life. He needed a heart transplant. Waiting and going in and out of Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia became the way of life. Julie talked about how kind and great CHOP and all of Philadelphia had been for her family, The Gift of Life staff was stellar. Some Mummers from Fralinger String Band became friends of the Keetons. Adam had to keep working in Tennessee and take care of the other kids, except for when they could all get away to be with Julie and Weston here, as Weston hoped for a matching heart. Lots of folks were doing everything they could. But, now, 7-year-old Weston Keeton has passed away. I thank Weston for his smile and for the courage a little boy cannot understand but lived everyday. May Julie, Adam and Weston’s brothers and sisters come to understand their grief and find the answer.
I had the pleasure of talking with former Philadelphia Flyer Brian Propp and with former State Senator Joe Rocks about NHS Human Services and a fundraising hockey game this Sunday at the Northeast Skate Zone. The event is Goals for Giving and helps people with a wide range of challenges. The entire interview airs Saturday morning at 6:30 on PHL17. The game is Sunday afternoon at 1:30. Among the Orange and Black greats playing in addition to the Propper: Frank Bialowas,Todd Fedoruk, Joe Watson, Bob Kelly, Andre Faust, Rob MacInnis, Dave Parro, Peter Zingoni and Ray Allison.
Most drug addicts are good people with a bad problem. Some of our veterans are trying to deal with this problem and we have to ask whether we are helping. About 1 in 4 people who use heroin become addicted to it. Most heroin available today is purer than it was in the 1980′s. While heroin has been a problem for some time, it has taken on new dimensions in the last decade. I spoke today for an upcoming show of PHL17′s “In Focus” with Scott Sarafini and Christie Wentz of Drug Free Pennsylvania. The increased used in the last decade of prescription painkillers like Oxycontin have led to an increase in heroin use. People hooked on painkillers are demanding purer heroin and are going to it because it is available and cheaper, about 8 to 10 dollars a hit. The death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman is a reminder that addicts are folks in their 40′s and 50′s, even seniors, as well as young people. Drug Free Pennsylvania provides free, 90-minute seminars for parents to outline the heroin and overall drug problem and prevention steps. A place of worship or a school or a community center can arrange a seminar. They also provide services to employers. You can contact them at straighttalkforparents.org or 1-800-533-3394. The “In Focus” program on heroin runs Saturday morning, March 8th, at 6:30.
11 Fancy Brigades and leaders from other Mummers divisions this weekend stood and applauded Saturnalian NYA President Fran Casper. If you want to know a Mummer, catch up to Casper. Franny lives up to the best of Mummery, including dedication, family and a love of the tradition of this people powered hobby.
Mr. Casper has been a mainstay of Saturnalian since 2001. He got started with another Brigade, the Jokers, in 1973. The next year he joined the Merry Makers and remained with them until 1996. He took a break from Mummery, but joined the “Sats” in 2001. His brother, Tommy, was the Captain. Franny’s commitment was obvious from the start, however, and by 2004, he had been elected president of Saturnalian. 10 years later, he is still president.
Fran Casper was inducted this weekend into the Fancy Brigade Hall of Fame. Current Saturnalian Captain, Jack Hatty, Jr., delivered the induction speech describing Fran at the annual Fancy Brigade banquet . He called Fran proud and selfless, a competitor and a doer. “Not one time since I have known him, has he put himself over the club,” said Jack. Fran’s leadership is all the more inspirational because of physical challenges he’s been working through the past few years. Hatty added, “He is still the glue that keeps the club together and the president that pushes each of us to be a better member. That is the mark of a leader.”
Congratulations to Hall of Famer Fran Casper and to the members of the Jokers, the Merry Makers and especially, the members of Saturnalian NYA.