ALS TH Fundraiser
When my daughter Tricia and wife Mary, Cheryl and I arrive in Labadie last night I was stunned by the amount of cars and trucks parked on Highway T as we turn into the main street of Labadie. The festive feeling was that of a 4th of a July parade without the National flags and floats. There was no doubt something special was going on. The parking lot in front of Pioneer Lumber was full of those brave enough to accept the “Ice bucket” challenge and the hundreds of spectators there to support the brave and my brother Tery.
As we were pulling into the parking lot in front of The Hawthorne Inn we saw one of Tery’s oldest friends Larry Rapp who without hesitation ran to the car to hug all of us as we hadn’t seen him in a couple of years. Then Cathy Hancock owner of the Hawthorne came to greet Mary and me with a towel over her wet shoulders and drenched hair as she was just doused with a big bucket of ice and water. Laura who is Dana Markland’ s best friend and rooms with Tery and Dana couldn’t wait to tell us she raised $500 by counter challenges before she was eventually doused.
Cathy told us we would find Tery and Dana under the small tent in the middle of the parking lot next to the silent auction tables and this side of the bar-b-que pit. As expected, Tery was sitting in the lounge chair Cathy and the Hawthorne Inn purchased for him so he could sit comfortably for lunch or dinner. If you came to the Hawthorne regularly, you knew this was Tery’s spot and Tery’s chair. For the ICE BUCKET CHALLENGE that night they moved his chair to the middle of the action.
As one would expect he was surrounded by friends and neighbors who wanted to hug him and express their love and admiration for his life and his example.
Live music, bar-b-que, face painting, pizza from a pizza truck and conversations rich in memories that often times started with “I met Tery in, or rode horses with Tery, or climbed and hiked with Tery. Cheryl was married to Tery and she came because she still loved him and the Houlihan’s.
I wasn’t surprised to see my cousin Gerry Dunne, as he has been such a great support to Tery for many years. However, when my aunts Pat and Joan (my father’s sisters) who are both in their 80’s arrived along with many of my cousin’s I was once again touched by the power and commitment of my family.
At times I felt like a voyeur listening to the many conversations as I enjoyed the pulled pork and ribs Mary got for me after she dropped of our check to the ALS TH Fundraiser. My cousin Pat McNulty told Tery’s friend Larry every year on his birthday when he was asked what he wanted, he would say “I want to go to Uncle Ed’s and ride horses with Mike and Pat”. I was then asked as they were trying to remember the names of the horses and realized Tery and his friends grew up with different horses than Pat and me. For Pat and me it was Gypsy, Butch, Stormy, Sandy, Duke, Hey Boy, Lightening and Skipper. But for Tery and his friends it was a different cast of characters. There was Ginger, MG, Sugar Bear and Skipper. This touched me as I realized Tery and his friends rode many of the same trails and enjoyed similar experiences as Pat and I, just at different times, riding different horses. I’m certain it was like discovering a tree house someone else had built in the woods, and having the discovery occur as if it was created and built by them for the first time.
Cousin’s Paul and Fran Erker, Pat and Tina McNulty, Mark and Suzie Barron, Tricia Butler, Gerard Barron and Gerry Dunne were in attendance with less than a day’s notice and both Denny and Michael Barron expressed their disappointment in not being able to be there but intended to contribute financially to Tery during the biggest challenge of his life.
The most impressive part of the event for me was observing GOOD PEOPLE BEING AND DOING GOOD FOR ONE ANOTHER. The city of Labadie as of the 2010 census is 2,409 people. Our family members accounted for about 20. Nearly 500 people from the community of Labadie came in support of my brother and join others in standing for a way to end the disease called ALS.
Most of the time in people’s lives the reflection of great personal memories and the acknowledgement of the person’s impact comes at the end during or after a funeral. It is at times of great sadness and loss that we remember and express and appreciate the gift that another person provided for us.
If one was lucky enough to attend the Labadie “Ice bucket challenge” last night you will remember how the citizens of Labadie, Missouri provided an example to the rest of our state and country how to come together and support a friend and fellow citizen in need.
This is a treasure I am blessed to have witnessed…
I love you Ter!


Posted in Community, Family/Personal, Health.