To those who celebrate, I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas. To those who don’t, I hope you enjoy/enjoyed your holidays/Winter celebrations.
I don’t have a lot for you today, but what I have is important.
You guys never cease to amaze me. Never. I wandered downstairs Monday morning at The Zone Superstore Studios in Towson and looked around and just felt dumbfounded.
The picture I snapped wasn’t even CLOSE to a reflection of how many coats/jackets/hats/etc. you all had collected. It was incredible. It was overwhelming. I was truly moved. I never know how our charity events/drives are going to go and I’m probably a bit more obsessive than necessary when it comes to these things.
It’s personal for me. Personal in that I’ve known people-in fact I’ve known people well-who have gone to facilities just like The Helping Up Mission. Truth be told, I’ve had close friends who have needed to right their life at The Mission.
This is Baltimore. This is “Smalltimore”. It’s Christmas, forgive my emotions. This really is something that matters that much to me. I’m grateful to find myself roughly a decade into my career as a sports talk host at a station I grew up listening to, but I am not capable of funding or lifting up these places on my own.
To have the opportunity to lend my voice and my heart to places like The Helping Up Mission…I can’t really describe it. But as Drew and I always say, these events aren’t about “us”, per se. We’re not the WNST community. We’re merely the members of the WNST community with the microphones in front of us.
The WNST community is made up of local sports fans-people who care deeply about the Orioles, Ravens, Capitals, Maryland, Towson, Navy, UMBC, etc. More importantly, the WNST community is made up of people who care DESPERATELY about our community. People who aren’t in Charm City because they have to be-people that are here because this is HOME.
The scene at The Helping Up Mission Monday was overwhelming. Hundreds of men came through the Conference Room to sift through those thousands or items to find clothes for themselves and for their families. For many of the men, this was their only opportunity to provide a Christmas for their loved ones.
Each man stopped to say “thank you” and “Merry Christmas”. Like every year, it was incredibly moving. After the residents came through, the staff of the Helping Up Mission brought dozens more Baltimoreans in RIGHT OFF THE STREET to find those coats that could help keep them warm. The items that were leftover after that point were then sent to other shelters throughout Baltimore.
You saved Christmas, WNST community. You guys are heroes. Every single one of you.
Even after these thousands of items were taken to the HUM, roughly a thousand more were headed to Goodwill as well.
An unscientific poll from WNST/Enoch Office Equipment and the Mission determined the 2013 Coat Drive (our fifth) to be significantly our most successful. That’s what the WNST community is. That’s what the WNST community does.
That’s why I’m so damn grateful to be a part of the WNST community this and every holiday season. You collected THOUSANDS of canned goods and non-perishable food items for SARC in Harford County and just a month later collected thousands of coats and winter weather items. Who does that?
You guys rock. I don’t know what else to say. You’re my Christmas miracle once again.
Please let me use this space to thank all of those who have helped us. Drew Forrester envisioned this five years ago. His idea at the time was to simply drive downtown and start handing out coats. Tony from Rosedale wisely directed us instead to HUM, where Barry Burnett has coordinated with us every year.
Rick Donovan and Sherrie Jones from Enoch Office Equipment have been a vital part of this since Day 1. There’s a reason Joe Enoch has been able to put together such a successful business. His crew is amazing. They help us transport the coats, they collect coats, they advertise the campaign, they set up the “shopping” time and Rick and Sherrie walk around with each man in the Mission to help them find exactly what they need.
Peter DiLutis, Nestor Aparicio, Luke Jones, Thyrl Nelson, Ryan Chell, Paul Kopelke, Ashley Bishoff, Brett Dickinson, Barry Kamen, Shawn Credle, Max Buchdahl, Ethan Felderstein, Nick Dorsey, etc. etc. etc. make up the WNST crew that attacks this drive at a level comparable to breaking a story about the Ravens or fielding a paying client. They’re awesome at EVERYTHING they do-especially when it comes time to do the right thing for the community.
Buffalo Wild Wings in White Marsh, Bel Air and Owings Mills all went out of their way to host drives this month-sometimes even risking fire code! Ravens LB Jameel McClain, LS Morgan Cox, OT Eugene Monroe, WR Marlon Brown, WR/KR Jacoby Jones and DL Chris Canty all kindly signed footballs to give away in exchange for gear. The WWE and Baltimore Arena provided tickets to give away, as did Rams Head Live and The Modell Performing Arts Center at The Lyric. Jason Butt and Triumph Books donated incentives, as did The Zone Superstore, Freedmont Mortgage, Gary S. Williams & Ronnie Lott, Press Box and more.
If I’ve forgotten anyone I apologize profusely. An undertaking of this size doesn’t happen without the support of many.
But it’s you the listeners-the WNST community-that have come through the most. This drive ONLY happens because of you. The WNST community is amazing. The WNST community is the best representation of our city I could ever possibly imagine.
God bless you all. Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Thank you…from the bottom of my heart…thank you.
I truly love you all.