Dogs have a way of bringing great joy to everyone who crosses their path, especially the playful dog Sparky. The spring of 2008 marked four years of Sparky helping others in his community. Amy Huboda from the Gamma Kappa Chapter of Loveland, OH traveled with her dog a total of 4,000 miles and spent 400 hours visiting people with illnesses, elderly people, pre-schools, and elementary schools in the Greater Cincinnati area. Sparky brought joy to families, visitors, and staff at all the places he visited. For Sparky’s kindness to others he was awarded Canine Excellence in the Service of Mankind by the American Kennel Club.
Sparky wasn’t the only one bringing people together. On March 28, 2008 collegiate chapters came together for the first multi-state collegiate ESA conference. United by ESA spirit, the Illinois State University students in Normal, IL welcomed in other ESA members from nearby. The event included chapters from Purdue, Ball State, Southern Indiana, Eastern Illinois, and Bradley. They discussed joint service projects, recruitment, chapter management, and future get-togethers.
When July hit it was time for colligate and community members to come together once again. Laughter filled the lobby of the Chattanooga Marriott as ESA members gathered for the 61st
International Council Convention. Accompanying the Opening Flag Ceremony was a touching Hope for Heroes tribute honoring all branches of service. Additionally, the members who pledged a new member in the 2007 year were privileged enough to be a part of the Jonquil Society marked by a jonquil flower pined to their shirt that awarded them special “first in line” bathroom privileges.
Following the moving Hope for Heroes recognition at convention, the Beta Beta Chapter of Palm Harbor, FL decided to send monthly care packages overseas with the goal of making a small difference in the lives of a few service men and women.
Marine Gunnery Sergeant Rodger Hoke, Jr., son of a Beta Beta chapter member Leah Hoke, served in Iraq on his third tour of duty in 2008. While on tour, Sgt. Hoke and his Company used their diversified skills to build a school for the children in Iraq. Although he enjoyed his treats from home, Sgt. Hoke requested that his care packages be filled with school supplies to help the children. Thanks was given to ESA members from the Beta Beta Chapter when the school opened its doors with everything the kids needed. The marines sent the chapter members a certificate representing the flag flow over Al Asad Air Base.
After all the shopping and packing of care packages, members were ready for the 62nd
International Council Convention at the Crowne Plaza Hotel Riverwalk in San Antonio, TX. More than 500 ESA members came together to hear an Easterseals parent, Karen Meyer, share her daughter’s experience with San Antonio Easterseals. In response to her story, ESA members presented the Easterseals representative, Linda Tapia with hundreds of blankets and clothing to assist their clients.
Another special guest was Janet Ketch, executive director of CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) San Antonio. After she talked about the need for CASA, members created a mountain of approximately 1,200 teddy bears for police officers to put in their cars to give the children who are being removed from their homes. It was a special gift from ESA with the purpose of providing something to love and hold on to for comfort and peace.
Before convention came to a close, International Council President, Jamie Atchison challenged all ESA members to involve their communities in support of military members and families during the week of November 7-14, 2009. When she first released the Hope for Heroes Challenge, she had hoped for a big response from members but had no idea how large the project would become.
ESA chapters quickly began leading their communities in a myriad of activities. After touching the lives
of hundreds of heroes through the program, some chapters enjoyed their projects so much they decided to make it an ongoing part of their chapter activities.
Stories from the project came pouring into ESA Headquarters. They were all so moving that HQ decided to start ESA’s first blog.
ESA’s family tree grew in early June of 2010. The Omega Mu Chapter of Albany, OR put together a seedling swap in order to grow the small chapter into a strong, thriving one. Members sent out invitations and seed packets to friends around the community and asked for each person to bring the plants they grow to a local nursery. The chapter went from 4 dedicated members to 19 members, all from planting and nurturing seeds.
ESA members, new and old, came together for the 63rd
Annual ESA International Council Convention. Set in Minneapolis, NM, ESA members celebrated the ESA Foundation’s 40th
birthday with their annual Casino Night. Fun games went on throughout the night and the event raised $8,000 for the ESA Foundation. This donation and many others helped go towards students who were awarded scholarships for the 2011-2012 school year.
Another successful ESA year continued with members donating more of their time and money to causes all over the country. When it was time, members followed the yellow brick road that led to the 2011 International Council Convention in Overland Park, KS for a fun-filled week. The International Council Challenge, ESA’s Munchkin March, took place on Friday evening with members rocking their red ruby slippers. The creativity was in full force with red sparkly flip flops, different styles of socks, and heels. Many members showed up in Wizard of Oz
themed costumes. Members played games and danced with the disc jockey all while raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital.
Convention ended with everyone, including Terre Thomas, celebrating another great ESA year by helping the children at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital with a total of $9,142,731 in cash and pledges.
The 2011-2012 year marked ESA’s 40th
anniversary partnering with St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital. Since 1972, ESA raised more than $150 million in cash and pledges by dedicating hours of work and hosting numerous events.
ESA continues to do and give more in the next three years in our Glimpse in Time series. Check back in two weeks to find out what else is added to our ESA timeline.
Written by Audrey Potter