Dilemma — How do you write about a cause that you believe in and an employer that you are proud of without a: boring your reader or b: sounding like an Eddie Haskell type.
Now, eight hours past my column deadline, these are the thoughts I struggle with.
The concept of this piece seemed to be a no brainer, when we sat in our staff meeting at midweek. This is, after all, the last issue prior to Oakdale’s Ninth Annual Relay for Life. Traditionally we always run one final piece alerting the community of the event details, often sharing a moving story to encourage readers to turn out and support the worthwhile American Cancer Society fundraiser.
As a staff, it is an event we have remained committed to for eight consecutive years. As a community newspaper, it is something we have supported for the past seven taking on the role as Media Sponsor in the 2003 Relay season.
Each year many of us on staff look forward to Oakdale’s annual event. Some of us are joined on the track by close friends or family members, which allows our two worlds (home and work) to collide and mesh effortlessly.
As a past participant, team captain, as well as committee member and event chairperson, this year I am especially proud of our newspaper staff and how it has stepped up to show its support.
As a media sponsor, the Oakdale Leader shows its support through our advertising space. This year we’ve added on a layer, by running Public Service Announcements and from a commitment standpoint we’re living up to our obligation. It’s the above and beyond, however, which makes me most proud of how far we have come as a supporter.
Early in my professional career, I worked for a manager/mentor who often spoke of ‘walking the talk.’ I remember being told to be a leader you must truly lead. To appreciate your staff, you must know their struggles and work by their side.
This year, as a staff and a Relay for Life team we have done those things. From our commitment to the monthly meetings to our participation in many of the pre-fundraising events and promotional efforts we have rallied to show our support beyond the pages of this paper.
As the person who first brought this event to our staff in 2002, this season has been especially rewarding. From setting up for our inaugural community wide RFL garage sale, watching our management staff and creative team work together painting our windows, or reading a text from our editor as she completed her first time as a participant of the Rodeo Parade — our team has made me proud.
As a staff, we are no different than most. Our religious and political views vary, our outside interests run the gamut — but cancer binds us.
Therein lies the basis of our unity. We have each been touched and changed by this disease. Each of us possess our own agenda of what we would like to see happen through our efforts and united we are doing exactly what I was taught early on — we are walking the talk.
So if you happen by Oakdale High School on Saturday, April 24 please stop by our campsite and pay us a visit. We have strategically placed ourselves between the team selling tri-tip and the one selling ice cream, so you won’t go hungry. And … while feeding yourself, you just might help us cure cancer.
Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 847-3021.