Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Back from Orlando

Last week I was all over the map. Literally.

In the early part of the week, I was in Alabama scouting some college football players and getting to spend some much-needed time with my 93 year-old grandmother, Honey Bunch. On Thursday, I drove back to Atlanta and hopped a plane for Orlando, Florida and more specifically, the hidden academic paradise that is Rollins College. 

Some time ago, I was contacted by JC Beese, who is a student at Rollins and a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. JC had expressed an interest in the 10-12-100 Campaign and said that he would like to know how he could help the cause. When I told him that word of mouth was the best thing (short of writing a check) that anyone could do, the young man took my words to heart. Not long thereafter, he contacted me again and said that he had raised the issue with his fraternity brothers at their weekly chapter meeting and that it was unanimous consent that Phi Delt would dedicate their annual charity reception to the Wounded Warrior Project, via this campaign. 

For those of you who have never been to Rollins, it is located in Winter Park and sits on one of the many beautiful lakes which cover the Orlando area. The trees have spanish moss hanging from their limbs, the buildings are stucco with spanish tiles, while the narrow streets are packed with small boutiques, great restaurants, ample BMWs and Benz, and a surprising youthful presence given the relatively small 2,000 student population. Regardless, it's a virtual oasis, equipped with an outdoor pool, which--thanks to the cooperative south Florida weather--is frequented by the student body almost year round. 

You get the point, the setting was pristine. 

The event was well organized, well publicized and consequently, well-attended by both students and members of the Board of Trustees. I enjoyed talking to all of them as we sipped a beer and had some great BBQ off the grill. The evening was a tremendous success, and was an outstanding example of what I have said all along:

It's only one man running these marathons, but it takes an army of supporters in order for this mission to succeed.

J.C. Beese and the brothers of Phi Delta Theta are a shining example of that. Patriotism has no partisan preference, or geographical limitations. It is not the car we drive, the views to which we subscribe, or in this case, the major we choose to study. 

It's simply who we are as Americans.

A very special thank you to Phi Delta Theta, JC Beese, Courtney Beese and the administration at Rollins College for putting this event together. Your attention to detail and commitment to excellence were obvious to everyone there and in the process, we raised both awareness and funding, in an atmosphere that was enjoyed by all. 

Thank you for all your hard work.

Doug Eldridge
DLE Sports