Returning the smile (even though)

By Dave Morgan - Special to the Register

As most people are aware the Moose Lodge has been having charity bingo’s for over a year now. In the past nine months we have been able to raise $17,676 dollars for local causes. The homeless, both animal and human, kids’ programs, and seniors to mention a few. Last week we held yet another event and raised money for one of the largest youth programs in the world, 4-H.

Our list of charities continues to grow, and each month brings a different story and sometimes one thing leads to another or carries over from month to month. In other words, sometimes people and causes intermingle with the following event. This month was no exception.

Attending this month was a family I have grown close to over the past year. They have attended many of our charity events and supported and shared our events every month. One young lad, a member of 4-H, offered to help at our family event. I assigned him to emptying buckets on the tables as the evening transpired and people discarded their bingo sheets, food and beverages into our trash buckets. Usually this is my” job” but I decided to allow him to get involved. His first trip around the bingo hall he came back flashing a dollar (tip) with a big smile. As the evening wore on his dollars increased as people began tipping him with each trip around the hall. Towards the end of the evening he came to me and was holding out the money and made two piles. He handed me one and said “here Dave I want to donate this to 4-H” and smiled really big. Teaching kids the art of giving at an early age. Thank you, Tommy, a young man in kid shoes. Mission accomplished!

The story does not end there as it is only the beginning. Tommy brought his older brother with him. He is a special needs child that I have grown very close to over the past year. Now you might understand my earlier comment about how things and causes sometime overlap. My friend Robbie usually sits at the table by himself and occasionally I come by during the evening, “harass” him a little and try and bring a smile to his face. This evening, we had another “couple” attending that also have the same special needs as Robbie. I noticed they too had secluded themselves to our back porch away from the bingo game. I asked Robbie to come with me to check out the back porch and meet this couple.

I introduced him to them, and the girl responded with a smile and said “this is my boyfriend.” Her boyfriend smiled real big and said “I know Robbie, he is my friend.” His girlfriend with a puzzled look said “How do you know Robbie?” He responded by saying “Special Olympics, we compete together.” There were smiles all around as they began conversing back and forth. No longer where they the “lost Kids” in the corner or sitting alone on the back porch. They connected and suddenly became part of the occasion. I did this for two reasons of which the first is obvious – inclusion. The second was to show Robbie someday he may meet that special someone. We have conversations on our long rides weekly and sometimes relationships come up. It was my way of showing him what the future may hold and ease his concerns he may have later in life. There is always that special someone, somewhere. Just be patient my friend.

Next month we once again are helping a double special group of kids in need. This event is especially close to my heart as I have become somewhat involved with this special group and individuals. This past month they approached me with a problem of finding a place to practice volleyball and flag football at the same place. I believe that has been accomplished. Their biggest need now is having funds to participate in events around the state. Last year they attended a few but not all due to lack of funding. Please come out and help this worthy cause, Special Olympics, Oct. 7. Have fun, give back to your community and help make it possible for these kids to have their “special” days next year. Their smiles will melt your heart. Help them off that back porch and sitting in the corner all alone. Once again, my thoughts turn to “smile even though.”

By Dave Morgan

Special to the Register

Dave Morgan helps organize charity bingo events for The Moose Lodge in Point Pleasant.

Dave Morgan helps organize charity bingo events for The Moose Lodge in Point Pleasant.