Thursday, May 08, 2008

A Knight in Shrining armor

Well then, it seems that after a couple of less than uplifting posts in a row, it's time for a little "feel good" shout out.

This is my dad Bill. You know him from the mostly relevant comments he leaves here on a regular basis and from the infamous Billisms posts I've written over the last few years. My brother took this picture of him pulling in a steelhead from the Baptism River by Silver Bay the other day. That's Lake Superior in the background.

click to enlarge

Anway, what you don't know about Bill, is that he has raised nearly $200,000 for the Shriners Hospitals for Children over the past 11 years through fundraisers he has organized and managed himself.

And just this last Sunday, the Duluth News Tribune featured his story in a full page article. Here is an edited excerpt. The full story can be found here.

When charitable deeds get ink, ‘everybody wins’

Rob Karwath Duluth News Tribune
Published Sunday, May 04, 2008

Bill Lee has a good cause and a good question.

For a decade, local Knights of Columbus members have put on a
four-day bratwurst and hot dog sale at area Super One stores.
Much of the food is donated, and the rest is paid for by the
grocery chain. All proceeds — and through last year they totaled
$171,000 — are donated to the Shriners Hospitals for Children
in Minneapolis.

...[Lee] told me about the history of the annual sale, which
this year runs Wednesday through Saturday at 10 local Super One
stores.

In the 1950s, Lee’s nephew was severely burned cleaning paint
brushes with gasoline. The boy was treated at the Shriners
Hospitals in Minneapolis. Decades later, local Knights of
Columbus members decided to start a fundraiser to benefit a
worthy cause. They settled on the brat and hot dog sale
benefitting Shriners Hospitals in Minneapolis, which also had
treated friends and relatives of other local Knights.

Hundreds of local Knights of Columbus members, working with
local Shriners, now put on the sale. Super One provides the
venues, much of the food and a cash donation. Twin Ports
Paper & Supply helps the event advertise free on grocery bags
distributed in Super One stores. Other local companies step up
and do their part.

“One hundred percent of the money we raise goes to the Shriners
Hospitals,” Lee said. This year, the group hopes to raise at
least $30,000, putting it over the $200,000 mark after 11 years.

Lee isn’t advocating coverage so he or the other organizers
receive recognition. He simply feels strongly about the cause
and those who’ve helped make it a success.

“We want to thank all the Knights who have done this for 10 years,”
he said. “We want to thank the Shriners for all they do. And we
want to thank Super One, too.”

Mr. Lee, you just did.

What this story doesn't say is that Bill works pretty much year round contacting sponsors, securing advertising and planning these huge events region-wide. Not too shabby for someone who turned 80 last year.

So good job dad. You deserve this recognition for your tireless efforts toward helping the unfortunate children who need the help of the Shriners Hospitals. You should be proud of yourself.

I know I am.

40 comments:

Marie said...

Cool, my husband is a Mason and working on becoming a shriner. Can't wait to see him in a fez on a tiny motorcycle.

My cousin has a daughter who is 14 now, who was diagnosed with spinal tumors when she was only two. She's in Memphis right now undergoing the last treatment she expects to ever need. About six years ago she was on a Wheaties box promoting Shriners hospitals. Without the Shriners she wouldn't have gotten the surgeries she needed to survive.

Whit said...

My grandfather played trumpet in the Shriner band. He could play it with his nose.

April said...

Your dad rocks! Now we know where you get it from :)

Heather said...

Way to go Bill.

Anonymous said...

Dad was on the radio, today, too doing promotion. Tireless-never stops. So impressive! But you are the second person to call him your knight in shining armour. I did it first! It was after I got my divorce. I bought a house that was a bit of a "fixer-upper", to say the least! He was there every single day for at least 4 months working on plumbing, wiring, hot water tank installation, removal of a garage, new basement wall put in and on and on... I told him then he was my night in shining armour! Oh ya, and he still pulled his, "come here and plug this in the outlet and see if it works" thing! Remember?! sis

Jake Titus said...

Way to go "Super-Bill"!!!

dawn224 said...

That's really fantastic!

(I met my husband in St. Cloud, by the way.)

Chris C said...

Wow! Bill you truly are a hero.

yellojkt said...

You got one great dad. The Shriners do good work but seem to have a suspiciously good time doing it.

Michelle said...

That's so very cool. I just finished (ha!) Mister Man's silent auction/raffle. We raised nowhere near what your father does, but that was a ton of work. I can imagine how much effort your dad puts into it, so a big kudos to him and a huge thank you for supporting such a great cause!

Gette said...

Yay dad. Our fez is off to you.

Jess Riley said...

Your dad rocks. Love that photo, too.

Elizabeth said...

Wow! I've worked with kids who have benifited from the Shriners good works! Thank goodness for people like your dad!

Groovy Mom said...

Hey, my dad's name is Bill too! Your Bill sounds like a really great guy!

Bill said...

It is 5:40 and I am waiting for my Shriner friend Roger Kurrle to drive us 100 miles to open one of our 10 sites. The Knight in charge just lost a leg to diabetes, and we open at 10 A.M. I have learned to take the good with the bad after 10 years. Thank you Jeff and Cindy for your kind words. They are of greater value than all the money Donald Trump has. Nothing is more important to me than when people say how much they like our children, but you know your mother is the rock around here. Again I say, "Thank you Knights and Shriners for trying to make this a better world by helping your neighbors." It is not a Billism, but John said, "How can you say you love a God you have not seen, but you do not love a neighbor you have seen?".

Maureen said...

Wow! The world needs more people like your Dad... I would be proud too.

Way to go, Mr. Lee.

You are a knight in shining armour indeed!

Jeff said...

marie - What a great reminder of what the Shriners are all about. Thanks!

whit - What a legacy. Skilled nose-trumpeters haven't gotten nearly enough recognition.

april - I agree, as long as you're not referring to music. ;-)

heather - Thanks :-)

sis - We've all been very blessed by his generosity and help over the years. One correction though... I didn't call him a knight in "shining" armor, I called him a knight in "shRining" armor - because I'm just that clever. Not.

jake - You said it!

dawn224 - Sweet. He must be pretty cool then ;-)

chris - I bet some kids at that Shriners hospital would think so.

yellojkt - No kidding. I could definitely see me driving one of those go carts in a parade.

michelle - Kudos to you as well. Anyone who works hard for a charity deserves a hardy thanks in my book.

gette - I've always wondered how they squeeze all those hats into those little tiny dispensers.

jess - Me too. Looks like he's having a blast!

elizabeth - Amen.

groovy mom - MUCH nicer than the bills I receive in the mail.

bill - You're welcome - and well said :-)

maureen - I couldn't agree more.

Mom Thumb said...

Every once in awhile, you do a post that reminds me how much I miss living next door to your wonderful parents. BTW, there is a picture of your dad in his honorary green fez on my 11/27/06 post. Oh yeah, there might be one of you, too . . .

Julie Pippert said...

I love that your Dad does this. Bravo to Bill!

I love that you posted your love and admiration.

Yes this was very warm and fuzzy inspiring. :)

wayabetty said...

You deserved that shout out Mr. Bill Lee!! Good for you and I'm very happy for you and your family! You did good with Jeff as well!!

Jeff said...

mom thumb - I wish I had remembered that picture of Bill. It's hard to see me in that other picture though because I'm wearing my camouflage shirt.

julie - Thanks so much. I'm glad you like it :-)

waya - It's too bad Father's Day wasn't this weekend instead. I could have used this shout out as his gift. Now I have to come up with something all over again in June. What a gyp.
(p.s. still think he did a good job with me?)

Bill said...

Mom Thumb referred to the honary green fez, given to me from the Shriners. I was taken by suprise by this extremely high honor. It was like the time I was given command of a platoon of 41 Marines. Consider that awsome responsibility, where I would be dealing with so many lives, and the parents that must trust in my judgement. I want that fez, Marine Corps hat,the Knights cap, and the cup I got for teaching downhill skiing at Spirit Mountain for 9 years to my friends at the challenge center, to be placed on my ashes. Perhaps the Lord will notice that I love my neighbor as myself. Thanks to you bloggers for the very kind words.

Michele said...

I love your Dad....I love your Mom too. Come to think of it I LOVE YOUR WHOLE FAMILY !!!!

VE said...

Awesome...I like hearing of stories about good deeds people do that don't come from the people that do them.

Karen MEG said...

Wow, no wonder you're so proud of your Dad, he's amazing! Way to go Bill!!!
Great photo of him fishing, BTW.

Drowsey Monkey said...

Fantastic! He sounds like a great guy. :)

Kathy said...

Jeff, this is fantastic. Your dad rocks! I would be so proud of him, too. I'm humbled by his actions. If we all did just 1% of what he does, imagine our world. Way to go, Bill!

Jeff said...

bill - Fine, but can I have your truck?

michele - Thanks! I love you too... I think... Do I know you?

ve - Ok, I get it. I'll quit bragging myself up already.

karen meg - I agree. I don't fish but it's one of his favorite things to do - obviously.

drowsey monkey - Everyone who knows him thinks so :-)

kathy - Thanks. He certainly does work hard on that project. But I get the feeling he thinks it's worth it.

Carla said...

Bill you're awesome and that is a very worthy cause. NOW, may I please get an order to go, 2 brats and 3 hotdogs, no relish.
k? thanks

Anonymous said...

Michele is my Michele! Jon's sister, Herb's daughter, Vivians daughter, Annette's sister---get it?? (dont want to put in last names!) I sent her the blog on dad--it is so cool! You did a great job! sis

Bill said...

Tell Carla thanks for the $8.25 order and her decision to "Run with the big dogs". Sure the price is too low, but I believe in giving parents a break. In fact I suggest all site managers "Feed The Hungary". We get many nice people that slip us a 5 or 10 to help us catch those short of funs. Realistically the $171,000.00 earned over 10 years might only pay for one sick child. Our goal is to inform everyone about the wonderful 22 free Shriner Hospitals and consider them in their estate planning.

VE said...

No Jeff, you misread me. I meant that anyone that just does what they feel right and makes the world better in any manner but then doesn't see the need to say "look at me; look at what I'm doing/did" is worthy of my respect.

Mother Theresa said...

Wow, that is something he can be proud of. It's great to see that there are still people out there that work so hard to help others.

Windyridge said...

Kudos to your dad. What an awesome contribution he has made.

Jeff said...

carla - How could you possibly want your hot dogs without relish? Sheesh, some people.

sis - Ah, I should have figured that out. Charli said she knew it was her right away. I need to learn to pay attention.

bill - I always buy the dogs and brats from our local stores when they're for sale. You should consider branching out to other stores - you know, because you're not working hard enough. ;-)

ve - No, you misread my reply to your comment that you thought I misread. I knew what you were trying to say, but I thought it would be funnier if I acted like you were talking about me. See how freaking hysterical I am?

mother theresa - I agree. The world could use more charitable people for sure.

windyridge - Thanks for saying so :-)

JD at I Do Things said...

Oh, man, I freaking love Bill. As we say in New Zealand, Good on yer, Bill. No wonder you're proud, Jeff. I think everyone's new motto should be:

BE LIKE BILL!

Even if we could be a little bit like Bill, the world would be a better place.

JD at I Do Things

G said...

Hats off to your Dad! That is a truly inspirational story. I see the family resemblance in more ways than one.

cathouse teri said...

A very lovely story. It's always good to read the good news! I perused that there newspaper, after reading the entire "Bill" article. Good stuff, that Duluth News Tribune.

I think I might enter some pictures into the Granny Brag Book!

Big hugs to Bill for all his lovingkindness. And for giving us Jeff-Furry. (I hope his middle name isn't Furry. I mean Bill-Furry just doesn't work, does it?)

BTW, my dad is Bill, too.

Lisa D said...

Hi, I've been following your page when time allow's. I learnt of it through your father Bill. I have met Bill & Louis through my job. It is a material recovery center. Our mission is to recycle before sending to landfill when possible. He is a remarkable fellow. He recover's broken lawnmowers, snowblowers and other item's of use and restores them and give's them to people in need. I cannot say enough about what great folks they are. I only know my life has been enriched through meeting them and am glad to have this chance to share this with you and your readers. Bill's goodwill, wit and freinship are endless. As Louis's for allowing him and knowing when to try and not allow him. Thanks Lisa D. From Duluth.

Jeff said...

jd - Thanks! I'm sure Bill will be happy to know the Zelanders (?) think well of him. :-)

g - I know, I'm losing my hair - but you don't need to point it out.

teri - That brag book thing is actually a huge deal in Duluth. Bill's grandkids have been featured in there more than once.

lisa d - Thanks for the wonderful comment. What a sweet thing to say :-)
However, I think Bill is the one in need of recovery... from not being able to stop bringing stuff home from your center! I'll have you know I now have three of his "recovered" lawn mowers and had to turn away a second snowblower last year. I'm still waiting on a decent chainsaw though - so hopefully he can recover one of those ;-)