Everyone of you has made a difference, by raising money for whatever cause you were supporting, whether it was the American Cancer Society, Prostate Cancer Foundation or the ASA of PA Hall of Fame.
The other reason is to announce that after 31 years of putting together fundraiser raffle tickets for various charities, softball teams and leagues, I have decided that the 2013 "ASA of PA" Grand Slam Fundraiser raffle ticket will be my last.
There are a few reasons for this, but the one at the top of the list is that I will be turning 60 two weeks from today and want to spend a little extra free time doing other things, although there are some exciting softball ventures that I will be involved in next year which I want to see come to fruition, but to do so, I'll need to create more time on my schedule.
I have always enjoyed putting together the 132 overall prize packages for the raffle ticket fundraisers over the years, but between procuring the sponsors and getting the tickets to the sellers and then collecting them, it is consuming too much of my time, if only because I have seen the selling and the money raised from raffle tickets wane in recent years, suggesting that maybe the interest isn't quite the same as it once was for whatever reasons.
So, there needed to be a time to walk away, if not now, when.
And what better time than now when you consider there are other softball goals for both myself and the ASA of PA District 6 staff that we want to achieve, especially knowing that by reaching our goals in the past, is how District 6 has grown to become the #1 ASA District in the state of Pennsylvania.
Here's a brief history of those 31 years of raffle tickets that were filled with spectacular sports travel and autographed memorabilia prizes.
From 1983 through 1996 raffles tickets were used for the teams I coached to raise money for the American Legion #667, Stanley Kup Inn, Burmont Inn and Tom n Jerry's Sports Pub softball teams, enough money in fact, to pay for complete uniforms and team jackets whenever we wanted them.
It was also during this period that I was a member of Teamsters Union #107 (UPS and Airborne Express) and in those 22 years with the union I became the campaign manager of our endorsed candidates for union elections.
The raffle tickets used for the campaign fundraising were highly successful and were our greatest source of raising funds to support our slate of candidates, that was known as the "Membership Slate."
A week in Key West, Florida with a gift certificate to Sloppy Joe's Bar was one of my favorite prizes on one of those raffle tickets.
Then beginning in 1997, Bob Tennant, former sports editor of the Daily Times gave me the okay to put together a raffle ticket for the Champs 'n' Charity Classic in an attempt to increase the fundraising efforts of the tournament.
Some of the modest prizes used on that first raffle ticket were a Phillies Rex Hudler autographed bat (not a favorite of many) to a prize everyone wanted to win, a Rod Brind'Amour autographed Flyers hockey bear.
The raffle that first year raised $8,500, which more than doubled the previous money raised from the tournament.
What wasn't known at the time, of that very first Champs 'n' Charity raffle ticket, was that this new fundraising method for the tournament was about to change the amount of money raised for the American Cancer Society through the roof, as over a twelve year period the proceeds from the Champs 'n' Charity raffle ticket alone averaged $28,200 a year, for a grand total of over $338,000 net dollars for the American Cancer Society.
After that, I began doing an "ASA of PA" Grand Slam Fundraiser raffle ticket every other year, that has raised $62,000 and a raffle ticket fundraiser for the ASA of PA Charity Challenge Championship in the tournaments first year that raised over $25,000 for the American Cancer Society.
In all, over three decades of putting together fundraising raffle tickets for what seems like dozens of various charities and organizations has led to over $500,000 in money raised.
An incredible amount of money raised that would have never been possible without the support of all those involved with the raffle ticket fundraisers.
Once again, a heartfelt thanks to everyone.
Below is my final raffle ticket that was for the 2013 "ASA of PA" Grand Slam Fundraiser, whose drawing was held last Sunday.
ASA of PA
District 6 Commissioner