Monday, April 28, 2008
A Rare Bird - Ft. Lauderdale F.O.E. #3140
What does one wear to a Pig Roast? For days, I tossed this question around and came to the conclusion that whatever I wore, it would have to be pink, in honor of the pig. And so I found my pink shirt, my blue jeans and off I went to find the Ft. Lauderdale F.O.E. # 3140.
Buried deep in the heart of this city, almost in the shadow of the I-95 overpass, nestled between two boat parking lots, sits a most unassuming building. Don't be fooled by the toned down entry way, through this door you'll find some of the biggest hearts in the state who pride themselves on throwing one heck of a party.
We rang the bell, signed our names, and opened the door to complete and total good cheer. We were welcomed with open arms and hugs. You would think we were life time members returning from a long journey, instead of a group of stunned travelers from Palm Beach County. We were given a tour of this small Aerie - here is where the pig is roasting, there is where the buffet is set up, table after table is squeezed in with decorations, sparkles, knives, forks, and napkins. We sat elbow to elbow and enjoyed the best BBQ pork, baked beans, potato salad, cole slaw, pasta salad, deviled eggs, this kind of pie, that kind of pie, every kind of pie you could imagine. It was simply incredible - all the more so because they did the cooking themselves! No caterers, no hired help. It was the members of the F.O.E. doing what the F.O.E. does - people helping people.
And speaking of people, the place was packed with all kinds, all kinds of backgrounds, all kinds of outlooks - a scientist next to an auto mechanic, a school teacher next to a film maker, a writer next to a nurse, an artist next to a lobbyist, an Irishman next to a great grandmother - all under one roof for one reason - funding Alzheimer's research.
For those of you familiar with The Unforgettable Fund, you know we're the cheapest charity on the planet. We don't spend a penny of donor money on anything, it all goes to Alzheimer's research. This group, the F.O.E #3140, presented a check of $5,000 to The Unforgettable Fund, with the promise of another check of $3,000-$5,000 in a few weeks. That makes a possible total donation of $10,000. And all from one small, but very dedicated group. Can you believe that? We're so completely blown away by their effort.
Throughout the night I kept thinking, "Imagine if every group across the nation did this?" Every Alzheimer's lab could be fully staffed and completely funded, running experiments 24/7, collaborating in shifts, getting to the bottom of it. Imagine if the nation decided, as we did when we put a man on the moon, that we would cure Alzheimer's disease in 5 years. Here's the money. Get going. Instead, labs are closing, scientists are unable to fund their work. We can’t wait for sweeping legislation, it's not coming. We need to find a cure for this disease because we have an enemy and it's not Alzheimer's, it's time.
All is takes is the kind of effort the F.O.E.#3140 made. All it takes is the same determination we showed as a nation when we looked up in space. All it takes is the belief it can be accomplished. I believe it can be, the F.O.E has shown it can be. All we need to do is do it.
Granted, the F.O.E. makes it look easy. But I know how much work it took. They spent months preparing for this one night, raising money, selling Jello shots, hosting Karaoke nights. When they presented The Unforgettable Fund with what they had collected, in the warmth and love of their Aerie, it almost made me burst into tears. This wasn't a big lavish gala at The Breakers - it was much, much more than that. And here are the pictures to prove it.