Chaplin's Corner


Kids lined around the building and into the street waiting for "packpacks" from the Eagles.


School Supplies for Kids... by Richard Wise ( Chaplin )

Hello my fellow Brother and Sister Eagles.
I am constantly amazed by the dedication to service our pledge of 'People Helping People' brings to our community. On August 11th, 2012 the Thornton Eagles #3226 sponsored a back-to-school 'school supplies for kids' distribution and membership drive at our clubhouse on 8651 Huron St. Thornton, Colorado. Your Worthy President Ted Chavez, along with some of our Auxiliary members, Madam President Barbara Vallejos, Timmy Torres, Betty Horn and multiple student volunteers distributed a record 400 backpacks full of school supplies. Most of them in a little less than an hour. Now, I don't want to belabor the point, but this effort reflects 400 children from our community, receiving backpacks and school supplies regardless of politics or legal standing.

I interviewed a mother named Melissa Rice whose 4 children each received a backpack with school supplies. “I thought I would have to try to get a loan” she told me, “this is close to a hundred dollars worth of items I could not otherwise afford." Melissa Rice is the daughter of Cindy Thomas, the first female Aerie member of the Thornton Eagles. Many of our Eagle members’ children and grandchildren were served.

In many cases, when I inquired as to the usefulness and satisfaction of the backpack recipients, the parents were unable to understand my language. I actually beamed with pride when a particular 6 year old boy spoke on behalf of himself and his two siblings, in expressing his family’s gratitude, in perfect English. I was struck by the strangeness of the situation. The parents difficulty in not understanding our language, compared with the seemingly natural assimilation of the children. I can not begin to imagine the difficulties of “living,” not being 'on vacation,' in a foreign country. I did live in England for 3 years when my father was stationed there, but the language was 'almost' the same.

Family after family expressed to me their real and genuine thanks and appreciation for the 'gifts' they received on behalf of their children. As members of the Thornton Eagles, you can be very proud knowing you give true meaning to People Helping People. “You never stand so tall, as when you stoop to help a child."

All these back backs filled with school supplies were donated by a non-profit agency called “A Precious Child”. This agency, with the help of donations from the community, was able to fill over 4600 back packs to be distributed to as many needy children through different school districts, organizations and agencies. We truly appreciate their donation.

My son took me to an “opening day” Rockies game in which warm weather set the tone for a great day of baseball, reminding me of the familiar 'hope springs eternal' quote in relation to a winning season. In baseball, everyone starts brand new. This day was particularly nice. The opening day ceremonies are filled with parades, a celebrity throws the first pitch, balloons, color guard, and a huge American flag covering the field. I remember standing together with my son for the national anthem, and as the son of a “lifer” Air Force serviceman I have heard the national anthem thousands of times, but this day, during the anthem and a fly-over of F-16s, there was a heart swelling feel of national pride for my country. It was huge for me...beautiful warm weather, opening day, baseball with my son, cold beer, national anthem and four F-16s, it was a great feeling. I got 'swole-up.' If you have ever had that feeling, perhaps watching a USA Olympian receiving a gold metal and listening to the Star Spangled Banner, you can almost feel what they are feeling. All I can tell you is that when I saw the gratefulness and thanks in these children's eyes after receiving their backpacks,... I got swole-up.