Friday, June 8, 2012

Running for a reason

As anyone who knows me can attest, I am not a runner. In fact, before last night, my only experience with the JP Morgan Chase & Co. Corporate Challenge was how the traffic blocked my way home. After last night, however, I can truly see why this has become one of the biggest events in Buffalo every year.

Nancy Blaschak holding the tape for the first
Corporate Challenge finisher
First of all, the number of people and tents in Delaware Park are overwhelming. Over 400 corporate teams, over 12,000 runners with thousands more supporters. The start/finish line can best be described as a mass of humanity, with some serious runners and many others out to get some fun exercise.

The American Red Cross was honored to be chosen as the beneficiary of this year's Corporate Challenge. That meant our Executive Director, Nancy Blaschak was able to say a few words of thanks to everyone involved, and she even got to hold the tape for the first male finisher! A Red Cross team of walkers would finish the 3+ miles and cross that finish line a few minutes later. As a non-runner, it was really impressive to see how "fresh" they all were after running a distance that I need a car to cover!!

Some of our Red Cross runner! Congrats, team!!
We also were provided with a tent directly across from the stage, where some of our "non-runners" were able to display information about what it is we do in this community. And of course, we received an extremely generous donation from Chase Corporate Challenge Foundation.

Overnight, we had example of how we will put that generosity to good use. Our Disaster Action Team volunteers were called to provide temporary housing, food and clothing for two families displaced by a fire on West Ferry Street in the City of Buffalo. We are only able to be What Happens Next for our neighbors in need because of the community support we receive from events such as the Corporate Challenge and the year-round support of our donors.

We can't say thank you enough to the wonderful people from JP Morgan Chase and the Corporate Challenge for their support, hospitality, and for their generosity making us a part of this wonderful event. Who knows, maybe next year even I'll put on my running shoes!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Colonel thanks you!

If it feels like it's been a while since we've posted anything new, well, we've been a little busy around here lately. It takes an army of staff, volunteers and supporters hours upon hours of work to put together a party for over 4,000 of our closest friends! But when it goes off as successfully as BASH*2012 did, it's all worth it in the end!

We don't call it "The Party of the Summer"
for nothing!!
Friday wasn't the most inviting day weather-wise. But under orders from The Colonel, our staff and volunteers braved the raindrops to get everything up and ready, and the large tents kept our guests happy and dry throughout the event. In fact, even though the final numbers aren't in yet, it looks like BASH*2012 was a record breaker for us!!

Now, if you've never been to a BASH, it's a little hard to describe. We'll start with the people--over 4,000 of them, all dressed in their best military gear. Many of them stopped in our auction tent to bid on one-of-a-kind items including trips, sports memorabilia, even a keg-o-rator!


Then there's the food. Western New York's best restaurants, serving up enough delicious treats to feed an army. Oh yeah, there's a little something to drink, too. Which really gets people in the mood for some dancing, so it's a good thing that the best DJ's in the business, Signature Entertainment, were there to get the party hopping. But if live music is more your thing, the one and only Lance Diamond entertained the crowd as only Lance can.

We always knew this was a
Red Carpet event!
The only break in the music was for the raffle, which was probably OK with everyone, since there was a chance they could walk away with up to $10,000. The names and numbers were called before Lance took back to the stage, congrats to this year's winners!! Just before midnight, the DJ's wrapped up this year's party with "Last Dance", and it was time to go home. Pictures of The BASH speak a thousand words, and there's photo galleries from the event up now on Channel 7's website and Plus, we'll be posting hundreds of professional photos on our Facebook page in the coming weeks.

The Colonel says, "See you June 7, 2013!"
There's so much happening at BASH, it's hard to put it all in to one story. We didn't even get into the Step & Repeat "red carpet" photo op, or the chance to win a diamond from a gumball machine. But there is one truly important thing left to mention--why we throw this party in to first place. The previous weekend, our Disaster Action Team responded to seven fires in the City of Buffalo, providing food, clothing, shelter and support to 45 people with nowhere else to turn. We're only able to be there for our neighbors in need because of the support of the Western New York community and the money raised through The BASH.

This party is made possible not only thanks to our amazing staff and volunteers, but also the support of the business community. Now that BASH*2012 is history, The Colonel thanks all of our sponsors and supporters, and hopes you'll take the time to support them in return. And he is issuing some new marching orders: "Save the date: June 7th, 2013. Be there as we make our 15th annual BASH the biggest and best yet!!"