I witnessed something this past week that makes me believe there is hope for everyone in this world. It was the coming together of not one, but two communities.
Monday night was Senior Night for the Wyoming Area field hockey team, which celebrated not only the team’s seniors and their parents, but also the life of field hockey parent Anne Gober. Annie, as many called her, lost her life in a motor vehicle accident in July.
The field hockey parents’ association, in conjunction with the Wyoming Area Kiwanis Club, banded together to organize a fundraiser to benefit the children of Anne and her husband Joe for their college education costs.
Nearly 100 raffle baskets were donated from all parts of Wyoming Area and beyond. It was such an amazing outpouring of love from the community. Folks not only came to watch Wyoming Area defeat Abington Heights, but they had a chance to contribute to the Gober family.
The Kiwanis Club sold refreshments out of the K-Club stand at Anthony “Jake” Sobeski Stadium. The food was donated, so 100 percent of the proceeds contributed to the fundraiser.
Two of Annie and Joe’s kids, Grace and Abby, play on the team. Grace, a senior and one of the honorees of the evening, has been a starter for the past few seasons. She was injured in the last outing and it was uncertain whether she would play Monday.
Luckily her injured hand was not broken, just bruised, and for Grace, the show must go on. She was determined to get in the lineup as usual and that she did.
Younger sister Abby, a freshman, is the starting goalie. She toughed it out and shut out the Comets with the final score of 8-0. The Gober family also includes daughter Julia and son Justin Thomas.
Did I mention the outpouring of love? People by the droves stopped to buy raffle or 50/50 tickets for the cause. It was pretty chilly that evening so the hot chocolate, pizza and other hot foods were flying off the shelf.
I walked away a happy man by winning a raffle prize — something that rarely happens with me. I’d like to think Annie had something to do with it!
I think one of the most poignant moments of the evening, in addition to Grace being escorted by her dad Joe across the field, was when Abington Heights contributed to the fund as well.
The school district in Clarks Summit held a coin drop to collect money for the Gober Children Educational Fund. They made the special presentation with a check along with flowers for the Gober family. Grace accepted the kind gift.
I really got choked up to see such generosity from the opposing team, but it made me happy to see how much they cared as well. Win, lose or draw, it’s only a game, but in these situations, tragedy could happen to anyone of us in a split second.
Annie was a great volunteer and gave so much to so many organizations, especially in the Wyoming Area School District. All of her children have played and currently play sports, and no matter what sport it was, Annie was involved in that particular organization.
When her eldest, Julia, decided to play high school tennis, a sport in which my daughter Tiffany and I were head coaches over the last eight years, Annie was instrumental in starting a parents’ association. She helped raise money for team sweatshirts, skirts, and T-shirts.
With the Wyoming Area having tennis courts in disrepair, Annie was in the forefront raising money for the cause to get the courts repaired. She was constantly contributing and doing it with a smile and a laugh.
As Joe said in a TV interview, Anne believed in higher education and would want all of her children to attend college. After all, it was a college setting where Joe and Anne met.
If you have not had a chance to contribute to the children’s college fund, you may do so by sending a donation to The Gober Children Educational Fund, c/o UFCW Credit Union, 377 Wyoming Ave., Wyoming, PA 18644.
You can read more about Senior Night and the fundraiser in a report filed by Nick Wagner in this issue.
Quote of the week
“Blessed are they who have the gift of making friends, for it is one of God’s best gifts. It involves many things, but above all, the power of going out of one’s self, and appreciating whatever is noble and loving in another.” – Thomas Hughes, British novelist.
Thought of the week
“If I leave here tomorrow, would you still remember me?” – Ronnie Van Zant, American musician with Lynyrd Skynyrd.
“Children are our most valuable resource.” – Herbert Hoover, American president.
Tony Callaio’s column My Corner, Your Corner runs weekly in the Sunday Dispatch. He can be reached at email@example.com.