Thanks so much to our founder and president, Don Schoendorfer, for sharing his memories of FWM’s experience at Fishfest 2011!
Saturday, June 25th at Irvine’s Verizon Wireless Amphitheater, wasan extraordinary day for all of us at Free Wheelchair Mission. As the featured charity of Fishfest 2011, weenjoyed an afternoon that spilled into evening filled with great music,brilliant sunshine, the joy of new friendships and the blessings of …well,those not so new!
Like most events, it was a long day, starting early as we drove the vans up the access lanes and into the venue, packed full with banners and signs and boxes of every size. We pitched pop-ups and set up tables, assembled signs and handed out name badges, pushed wheelchairs into position, set out water bottles for the volunteers, and dragged around helium tanks for the balloons. A long day indeed, wrapping up well past midnight as we undid all of the above, packing up the vans to head back home.
In between all this setting up and tearing down, though, it was a picture-perfect day full of memorable moments:
- An army of volunteers in blue shirts ready to pitch in and help.
- An oasis of shade at the FWM booth, a cool welcome to passers-by.
- The sight of our colorful FWM banners spinning in the wind on a breezy day.
- Baskets of black FWM wristbands migrating to the crowds and uniting us all in a common bond.
- Music from the sound system, filling the air with praise and inspiration.
- An amphitheatre filled to the brim with over 16,000 enthusiastic concert goers
- Pastor Kenton Beshore’s powerful message from the stage, stirring the crowd and spreading the word.
- The first public reaction to our new video – “We Just Have To Go Back” – visibly touching the crowd and opening hearts and minds to the mission.
- A trail of blue balloons bobbing about, sharing our Face of the Mission cards with the concert goers, collecting hundreds of wheelchairs to send around the world.
- The inaugural launch of our “Text to Give” program – and the immediate wave of generosity that followed, raising over $1800 in the first minutes it went live.
Fishfest 2011 proved to be an amazing day of grace, as Pastor Kenton reflected, “opening the door” to so many possibilities ahead. We are grateful to Transparen tProductions and 95.9 the FISH, and thank them for sharing with us this powerful opportunity.
God Bless, Don