School was closed Nov. 17 in Stryker, but not the giving spirit as residents supported a local radio station’s holiday promotion for needy children.
Mix 98.1 was supposed to do a live remote broadcast from Stryker School with students interacting with the on-air personality while donating cash raised by their respective classes. Instead, the second day of heavy fog wiped out classes.
While the radio station thought the event was going to be canceled, Superintendent Nate Johnson called the station to let them the event was still on. The administrative staff was going to serve the special lunch of hot dogs, chili, chips and baked goods.
Rick Small and his crew showed up at 11 a.m. to do their broadcast. The student commons area served as the café where people could still come and have a meal.
The only downside was the classes won’t be able to present their donations on air as originally planned. The station’s schedule for Christmas is for Kids is too tight to reschedule, Small said.
Shannon Sprague, representing the Springfield/Stryker Fire Department, presented a check to Smalls for $2,000 from money raised at the recent Feather Night. That event drew more than 400 people, a record turnout, she said.
“It was standing room only,” Sprague said.
Small said his favorite announcement was asking people to squeeze together.
“People had a lot of fun,” Small said.
Smalls and his crew love Stryker as it gives the most per capita of any community in Williams County. That’s saying a lot since the six-county area of the 22-year-old promotion brought in $274,000 in cash last year over six weeks.
One year the total raised in Stryker was $7,000 to $8,000, Small said.
“The kids really gets into it,” Small said. “The student council gets into it and preschoolers right up through high school.”
All the money given in Stryker stays in town or in Williams County, Small said. The overall donations are augmented by corporate donations and a marathon show on the station, he said.
The radio station partners with local agencies such as the Kiwanis of Bryan, Jobs and Family Services, Angel Tree in Edgerton and the Edon Ministerial Association. The Marine Corps League is the parent organization.
“We help fund the bed brigade out of Bryan,” Small said. “Whatever is helping kids we are all about.”
The gifts include toys, but also bedding, clothing and food.
“It’s really grown, people are good,” Small said.
The team visits many schools and each one has its own way of raising money for the drive.
“Kids love helping kids,” Small said.
In the commons area, several families came to donate and have lunch. One family was Valarie Lashaway. She brought her kids as well as some others who stay at her place for the delays.
Even without school the campaign drew them in, she said.
“We care about our people,” Lashaway said about why the community supports the campaign so well. “If you were at the Feather party, it was packed. There wasn’t a seat to be found.”
James Pruitt may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org