That’s a video of a group of third-graders from Virginia from 2010.
On Veteran’s Day 2011, we posted a message about how to really thank those who have served our country. Here’s a link to that post because it still resonates one year later. Working for NYSUT, I’m often reminded of the direct connection between teaching and the military. Many NYSUT members have served in one of the branches of the armed forces or in the National Guard. They tell me they were called to serve.
Speaking of calling, if you’re not going to see any of the veterans in your life, please pick up the phone to call them. I called my father yesterday, like I do every Sunday. Last year, I took Bill Lawson’s advice and made sure to thank my dad for giving up those years of his life in his 20s and defending our country during the Korean War. Usually my father falls silent when emotion overtakes him and he was silent for quite awhile after I gave my little speech. He was more prepared last night and he was even able to joke about it a little bit, saying that if he would have known I would go work to get out the vote for Barack Obama, he might have stayed in Alaska. My father hated Alaska then and hates it now. But then, he was silent again. His voice trembled a bit when he said: “You know Bets, I’m kidding and you’re welcome.”
I might have time to call again today, but it’s unlikely. Today is my annual union day and I’m with my brothers and sisters of the Professional Staff Association. We’re the labor relations specialists and other professional staff of NYSUT’s various departments. In addition to our annual business meeting, today we’re raising funds for NYSUT’s Disaster Relief Fund and for DonorsChoose.org. You should consider giving to these two charities too. Here’s why:
NYSUT’s Disaster Relief Fund is 100 percent direct aid. There is no overhead. We know that every single cent donated goes directly to a NYSUT member who has suffered great loss from a natural disaster. We hope to raise at least $5,000 today. There’s a link online here or you can make your check payable to “NYSUT Disaster Relief Fund” and mail to NYSUT Headquarters, Attn: Jeff Lockwood, Accounting Department, 800 Troy-Schenectady Road, Latham, New York 12110.
Our other fundraiser I can tell you more about, because that goes until this Friday, Nov. 16, so you readers can get in on it if you’d like. The PSA set up this fundraiser long before Superstorm Sandy devastated parts of our state. We had picked DonorsChoose.org because it helps students in schools. Many of our teacher friends have told us how even $100 for supplies or $500 for a field trip can make a difference in the classroom. Many NYSUT staffers are former teachers. Several have benefited directly.
To benefit DonorsChoose, my union combined forces with the Petrecki family to put together a blockbuster of offerings in memory of Alyce Petrecki. A proud CWA member, when Alyce was at her post near the NYSUT entrance, everyone was greeted with a genuine warmth and enthusiasm. She also loved taking chances so, of course, it’s a raffle. Tickets are $5 each or six for $25. Titled All Things Alyce, there are actually two baskets to pay homage to the sports and other things she loved. One grouping is all about hockey. It includes the famous diving Bobby Orr photo, signed by #4 himself, as well as an autographed hockey stick from her grandson, Nick Petrecki; a signed John Tavares puck; tickets to Albany Devils games; a four-ticket certificate for a Long Island Islanders game; an Islanders Jersey; and an Islanders fleece jacket.
The second basket includes a signed Mariano Rivera jersey; a $50 Bowl New England gift card; a photograph of Syracuse University basketball coach Jim Boeheim and superstar Carmelo Anthony, signed by Boeheim; a $100 gift certificate to the Barnsider Restaurant in Albany; a gift card to the Halfmoon Diner in Saratoga County; a $50 gift card to Head to Tail pet grooming and doggie day care in Schenectady; scratch-off lottery tickets; beer and a pilsner glass; Meyer Lemon cookies; Chanel No. 5; and a $50 gift card from Hoff Jewelers.
If you are interested in either grouping, tickets are $5 each or six for $25. Call me at (800) 342-9810, ext. 6283, email to email@example.com or comment on the blog. We will draw the winner at noon Friday, Nov. 16.