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Friday, October 14, 2011

Balloons & Boomers–Part 3: Boomers CARE

Our Escapees RV Club is the parent club of the Boomers we hang out with in our various RV travels.  Boomer membership is not based on age, but rather represents a “state-of-mind”.  We are active RVers that prefer to get out and do “stuff” rather than sit-around.  The group we host at the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta are “do-ers” and we’ve been documenting their efforts throughout our blog write-ups.
But we all know there is going to be a time when health or age issues are going to force us off the road.  Some of us have family or contingent plans for the day when we have to “hang up the keys” but there are others where short-term or long-term care is going to be needed.  That’s where the Escapee CARE Center comes into play.
CARE stands for Continuing Assistance for Retired Escapees and members of the various sub-groups (known as Birds of a Feather – BoF) recognize what a valuable facility this is.
Escapees CARE Center is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit (tax-exempt) corporation formed in 1992 and is under the guidance of a volunteer board of directors.
CARE answers the question, "What happens to full-time RVers when they cannot take care of their own or their spouse's needs following an illness, injury, surgery, or the progression of a long-term health situation?"
BOOMERS SUPPORT CARE
Whenever Boomers gather in large number, you can bet there is a call for donations to CARE.  For the past three years, Boomers attending the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta rally have conducted a “CARE Auction”.  Two years ago the Boomers, under the efforts of Vicky and Terry Webb, raised $865 with 30 units attending the rally.  Last year the Auction Team (Sally Schindel, Sue Pace, Steve Ritchie and others) upped that donation goal for 30 rigs and we donated $1100 to CARE on behalf of the ABQ Boomers.
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2010 Auction Action



2011 BOOMERS SHATTER THE GOAL
This year we had a total of 46 RVs at our Albuquerque rally so we had set a modest goal of $1500.  Well, when it was all said and done, we nearly doubled our donationn goal with checks totally $2,876 sent to CARE!!!
Once again Vicky and Terry Webb put together an outstanding Auction Team:  Jan and Chuck Moore, Beth Miller, Joy Melton, and Ann and Mick Meilicke.  They called for items – “no junk” – and the attendees responded with outstanding items for bidding.

WEATHER WOES
Initially, we planned a combination Potluck and CARE Auction for Tuesday during Fiesta week.  We announced the date and asked the Boomers to invite their Pilots and fellow crew members.  A few extra guests always generates a few extra bidders. Winking smile 
IMG_7683Unfortunately, Tuesday’s weather was threatening so we decided on a 3:00 p.m. “go or no-go” deadline.  A look at the weather radar told us an early evening activity would likely get rained-out.  BUT, there was a “window of opportunity” so we TRIED to muster the troops and have an early auction-only event. 
IMG_7686Boomers are hearty folks and we have had numerous gatherings temporarily interrupted by rain and/or thundershowers but the umbrellas were handy. Auctioneers Terry Webb and Chuck Moore kept the bidding action going…
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THEN THE SKIES OPENED UP, THE AUTOMATIC RAIN SENSOR RETRACTED THE RV AWNING AND EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE GOT DRENTCHED!

AUCTION – ROUND TWO
Since almost all of the group was staying through Sunday, we decided to re-schedule the CARE Auction for Sunday afternoon.  No potluck, but snacks and wine would keep the troops “lubed” and the bidding resumed under sunny skies!

Auctioneers Chuck Moore and Terry Webb kept the bid action lively.  The “Vanna Whites”, Jan Moore and Beth Miller, circulated the auction items, and Ann Meilicke and Joy Melton kept a running tab on the computer. 


AUCTION EXTRAS
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Mick Meilicke displays the afghan made by his wife Ann.  The separate raffle generated about another $100.   Marcia Jones drew the winning ticket. (Sorry, missed who won it.)
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BIRTHDAYS CELEBRATED
IMG_7852A cake and birthday wishes were sung for four Boomers, Terry Webb, Andy Hitzel, Bill Dominek, and Chris Christiansen, who celebrated birthdays during Fiesta Week.







RESIDENT ARTIST AND MORE…
IMG_1947For the past two years, Boomer and artist Judie St. Croix (on right) has donated metal balloon sculptures for the ABQ CARE Auction.  Last year, Bonnie Munday, shows off her prize balloon.
This year, Judie created two balloons and Craig and Liz Del Rosario won the bidding war for the first one during the rain-shortened Tuesday auction.  Not to be outdone, Sharon and Don Del Rosario (Don is Craig’s dad) bid for the second balloon on Sunday. 




sculpturesThe Del Rosarios show off the results of their bidding. (Photo borrowed from Sharon’s Blog: Gypsy and the Mariner’s RV Adventure.)








DUMPSTER DIVING 101
Judie St. Croix is not only an accomplished artist, she is also a successful dumpster diver. 
When this year’s Auction clean-up crew dumped our trash can, they inadvertently tossed a very special rock that we used in the bottom 001of the can.  (The winds always kick-up during Fiesta and we were using found rocks in the bottom of the plastic garbage can to keep it in place.)  Last year Boomer Bonnie Munday (pictured above with Judie) had painted a replica of Mike Liberti’s hot air balloon, “Morningstar” on a local rock and the 2010 ABQ Boomers had all signed it as a gift to us. So, when the garbage went out, so did our Balloon Rock.  Seeing my panic, Judie literally jumped in to rescue our “rock”!  
Thank-you!!!IMG_7857
NEXT:  SURPRISE EN ROUTE TO SURPRISE

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