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SOME TALK THE TALK, BUT I PREFER TO WALK THE WALK
One snowy night in February, I decided to support front-line workers by cooking and delivering meals to the men and women working in the ER at St Luke's Hospital. My Facebook live video challenging others to do the same resulted in an outpouring of community support. Four weeks later I completed my mission by cooking and delivering over 1150 meals to every front-line worker you can imagine with the help of community donations. I was able to show the community that by working together, the Poconos can accomplish amazing results. Even during the Covid-19 pandemic, our first responders needed to know that the community truly appreciated their brave sacrifice to keep us safe.
An act of support for our front line first responders goes viral.
Celebration of Life fundraiser for Elisa Chase
Maria Francis, Pocono Record Writer
This was an amazing night honoring a beautiful soul and a pillar of the community. When I approached the radio family with the idea of doing a scholarship fundraiser my goal was to make sure Elisa's scholarship would continue for years to come at ESU. At first, some felt it was too early, but I reminded them I would do the work putting the event together and that the longer they waited, the more interest in support would dissipate. The night was healing for all that attended, and I was honored to present ESU with 6 years' worth of scholarship funding.
Restaurant, hospitality worker relief fund exceeds $100,000
I remember the night well: it was a Thursday and I remember making calls until midnight to Chris Barrett from the PMVB and Mike Tukeva from the United Way discussing what each of us could do to put together a relief fund to help workers that were put out of work 3 weeks before the holidays. Closure mandates by Governor Wolf and Health Secretary Dr. Levine were coming out practically every other day, but this one stranded a lot of local workers so it was time to get to work. Chris took on the task of fundraising, and Mike the job of setting up the United Way to disperse the funds and get people help. For my part, I offered my graphics abilities and my connections in the press and local businesses to get the word out. Running around to hundreds of businesses and posting on social media we were able to raise over 145k and help hundreds of hospitality workers. To this day, I'm still out promoting the fund that now helps workers with childcare and rental assistance.
The lesson in this is simple, leave your egos at the door and work for the people when they need you the most. By utilizing everyone and the skills they bring to the table, our toughest times can be overcome, even during Covid. It is an honor to be part of a relief fund knowing that to this day the fund is still helping those in the Pocono community.
It's a life saver Ertle spearheads campaign,
raising funds to purchase equipment
for Blue Ridge
Eyewitness News New York
This idea came to me when I saw the Quiet Valley Clydesdale horses on national news which had gotten loose and went out on a lake and fell through the ice. I was amazed that our local fire companies were using a ladder to get to them. My first thought was why don't they have a rescue boat?
A couple calls later and I found out the only rescue boat was located 45 minutes away, so I thought to myself what if that was a human that broke through, we are not prepared in the Poconos.
This is when years of problem solving, building relationships and multi tasking skills come in handy to get the issue figured out by putting the right pieces of the puzzle together. I organized a large press event, convinced our family business to donate a rescue raft we sourced through many places. I worked with the local fire company to set a budget of equipment needed, a trailer and the training needed for firefighters to be able to properly use the gear. By launching a Go Fund Me page the press event gave the coverage needed to meet their 10k goal. In business you are constantly figuring out solutions to problems, in this case using the power of the press for positive coverage was key to reaching the goal.
Pocono businesses join in relief efforts
When you see a community wanting to help hurricane victims but not quite know how to do it, I jumped in and said, Let's Fill Up a Truck! This idea took about 300-plus phone calls to pull off. I knew I could raise the money to fill it, but I needed a truck. So, a couple of calls to my friends at Pocono produce and wouldn't you know I have a truck and a driver to travel down to victims in Florida. Calls to the American Red Cross gave me the items needed the most to send. Now to get the business community and locals involved through a press event and a Go Fund Me page and within a week over 10k was raised. But the best part was to get a call from the superintendent from Pocono Mountain School District and find out students had raised an additional 11k through a dress down day event. Again, you never know where support will come from but when you put out positivity to come together you will be amazed at what can be accomplished. A 53' foot filled truck with over 22k worth of supplies left the Poconos to help those in need.
Night of terror LaBar's widow recounts
husband's murder; Community plans fundraiser
Some stories just crush your heart, and this was one of them. Again I offered my services of organizing events and a location to help a family in our community raise funds that they could use to carry on. The lesson is simple, help those in need because you may never know when you may be in a situation and need someone to be there as a helping hand for you during tough times.
Red Cross Blood Drives at the LOUNGE
One thing I have learned from my parents is that when you are a businessperson in a community like the Poconos you must give back without looking for anything in return. Your reward is in giving. This is why as a citizen during Covid I committed myself to bringing positivity and my problem-solving skills to those that needed a hand the most during the toughest of times.
SUPPORTING STROUD KIDS PROGRAMS
Putting Pocono People First has always been a passion of mine and when I was asked to feed close to 300 kids over a two-day period my answer was YES we can. To bring attention to great programs like these in our area and to get the word out to the community is why I support local. So many people always ask me, what is there to do for kids? My answer is the Stroud Kids Program!
HABITAT FOR HUMANITY
I am proud to be a board member of our local Habitat For Humanity agency. Using years of sales and marketing skills I was able to help the agency raise over $41,000 to help our community. habitat is about giving back to the area and helping those in need of affordable housing.
KEEPING MY PROMISE TO HELP LOCAL AGENCIES
I was a guest speaker at our local Kiwanis Club and made a promise to help them find additional funding for their 100th-year playground improvement project. Three months later I was able to bring together the people to make this happen. An additional $15,000 was added to the fund to improve our community and lives of local children.
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