When I was first asked to join the board of TACID, the board meeting time/day didn’t work for my schedule. When my schedule opened up years later I joined.
At my first board meeting I was asked to co-chair the breakfast fundraiser. They already had a chairman and I had already been to two of their fundraisers, so I thought “Why not?” I accepted. The next week the chairman was transferred to Seattle. I found myself chairman.
The Tacoma Area Coalition of Individuals with Disabilities’ (TACID) mission is to promote the independence of individuals with disabilities through peer support, advocacy, and self-sufficiency programs. TACID empowers people with disabilities to utilize their strengths and abilities to create and enhance the lives they choose through programs, community, and volunteering.
Being chairman gave me the opportunity to get fully involved. I stayed on the board for two terms plus (a little over seven years). The major joy for me was working on the fundraising breakfast. Our team was me, fellow board member and Rotarian Dave Thomas, and outside consultant and fellow Rotarian Roy Kimbel. It was an honor to work with those two. We had a wonderful board of directors and a great financial advisory group as well.
On Wednesday, October 4th I attended the latest fundraiser for TACID. There were new faces mixed in with many of the people I loved working with. Soon I was talking with Mike Brandstetter, Jeanne Werner, and Kevin Grossman. Mike was a fellow board member and is currently a Lakewood City Council member (running for re-election). Mike works for better and additional housing in an area that contains many military related families. Jeanne Werner ran the Tacoma Pierce County Humane Society for years and like many of my friends, is a member of the Rotary Club of Tacoma #8. Kevin Grossman I met for the first time at the luncheon. He’s a business developer, who believes in workforce development and social services for the developmentally disabled. Kevin is running for the Tacoma City Council to represent the people on Tacoma’s East side. He is already president of their Business District.
The luncheon featured a brown bag lunch with healthy wraps, salads, and a couple of very tasty cookies. The event featured personal stories of people who have been helped by TACID. At one point we were asked to close our eyes and then find and move our bottled water, and shake hands with a neighbor. Not easy. This reminded me of a special spaghetti feed we did at TACID itself. Everyone was served with a plate spaghetti, salad, and bread. Before we could eat, however, we were blindfolded, and then finished our meals. As you can imagine, we all dropped food, got confused, and laughed at ourselves and each other when we took off the blindfolds. It was a learning experience. It was the same at the luncheon. There is nothing like experiencing physical problems and impairments. Some people are born with disabilities and others pick them up as they go through life . . . and as we grow older.
The luncheon was a success. Early estimates show a net of around $44,000. I was proud of the organization. I had a chance to look around. I saw fellow Rotarians, former TACID board members (Ron Stone and Mike), community supporters, and many friends. Immediately after the meeting this young woman ran up to me and introduced herself. I had failed to recognize her at first glance. Merrideth Hatch had been an intern returning to school when I first met her. As part of her training she selected TACID as the subject in a study and survey. I remember when she revealed the information to the board with suggestions and conclusions. As soon as I saw her name tag, I knew who she was . . . she now looked like a professional in the business world. I love it. Another proud moment for me was watching board chair John Bailey do the “ask.” That’s the part in the program when donations are requested. John said he had been nervous. He came across nicely, however. John is a fellow Rotarian and he first joined TACID as a member of the Financial Advisory Board.
My final memory of the event was seeing the threesome of John Bailey, Nola Renz, and Merrideth Hatch. Nola, is in her second year as executive director at TACID. The staff loves her and she has continued the efforts of helping people and carrying the message of possibilities. With the support of John Bailey, and Merrideth Hatch, I’m confident the organization will continue to flourish.