HARRISON – Well, the day finally came for the fifth and final Snowball – a day cold enough to guarantee no snowballs melted anywhere. Inside the Moose Lodge, however, was a warm and welcoming finale to the Snowball series which raised the lion’s share of funds for purchasing statues to complete the original vision of the Veterans Freedom Park Committee.
Through the success of these efforts, along with Freedom Rides sponsored by Dan Wilhelm of Trails End, the remaining statue has been ordered and paid for, with delivery and installation expected in the coming year.
That said, the Jan. 15 Snowball at the Harrison Moose was more than an accidental fundraiser due to unexpected donations of goods and services (which were still coming in during the event). It was a celebration of the many individuals and communities which came together to bring the original dream to fruition. A driving force for fundraising efforts has been community advocate Maye TessnerRood and, true to form, she was the gracious, grand hostess for the final Snowball Dinner-Dance. Her efforts have not gone unnoticed nor unappreciated by others, and many of them chose the Jan. 15 occasion to honor her in ways as sincere, earnest and profound as she is. They included American Legion Post 404 Honor Guard recognition in the form of not only verbal praise from Dale Tritten, who noted the thousands of hours she devoted to planning the Snowballs and the $100,000-plus raised, but also the awarding of honorary Honor Guard membership, as well as the Honor Guard jacket which accompanied it.
“We are in the honor business,” Tritten said. “And tonight, Maye, we’re going to honor you.”
A plaque which was presented by Leslie Walters read: “Presented to Maye TessnerRood in appreciation for your time and your effort in supporting our veterans and the Veterans Freedom Park Statue Project. We make you an honorary member of the Harrison American Legion 404 Honor Guard.”
At that point, Tessner-Rood shook the hand of every Honor Guard member present,which was followed by the presentation of her Honor Guard jacket by post commander Pat Loafman, complete with some special patches: Rosie the Riveter for one sleeve and ALR [American Legion Riders] on the other.
Recognition was also made by the Veterans Freedom Park Committee, whose vision Tessner-Rood so pivotally enabled.
Renee Haley, committee president, described Tessner-Rood’s selfless efforts to help the park by calling on a remembered phrase.
“A hero is an ordinary person who does extraordinary things,” Haley said. She then presented the committee’s gift for TessnerRood to give back to herself: a $100 gift certificate for two one-hour massages.
Tessner-Rood’s co-workers at Hayes Township also have been raising some special funds. “Everyone here knows how much of your own time and your hard-earned money you donate every year to raise money for statues and to honor our veterans,” Hoyt said. She went on to say that going to Scotland has always been Tessner-Rood’s dream, and to that end her co-workers at Hayes Township have been quietly working behind the scenes to help that dream become a reality.
So far, there has been $1,000 raised. And, as the monies are intended to benefit Tessner-Rood, who is someone inclined to give, give, give, Hoyt made it clear that until the last statue is installed, as well as the new sound system, she “will not see one penny of it.”
After the acknowledgements and honors for Tessner-Rood, the DJ struck up the snappy Andrews Sisters recording of “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy” and the honoree and Honor Guard member Gene Payne warmed up the dance floor, which was soon to be filled by others dancing in celebration.
The evening also included a drawing for a shotgun, Jay’s Sporting Goods gift certificate, and a cash prize. This year, for possibly the first time, all the winners drawn were present to claim their prizes.
There also were the abundant silent auction items, of which TessnerRood said: “Look at this! How could we not have an auction?”
Auction items also included two wooden picnic tables fabricated by CTE students, a project contributing not only to the students’ knowledge and skillset, but also to their investment in community.
Of course there was a buffet of delicious foods and delectable desserts to satisfy any appetite – followed by dancing to help work off some of the extra calories. In all, the final Snowball was an evening of slow grace riding on the satisfaction of a job not only completed, but done well.
It will be most interesting to see where Maye Tessner-Rood – local dynamo referred to in a 2018 Cleaver article as “The Maye beneath our wings…” – will next place her focus of good-will and good-actions. Hers are not idle hands: Something good this way comes.
No comments on this item Please log in to comment by clicking here