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Mommy Musings An Open Thank You
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During the course of this column, I have used this space to highlight a lot of things.

Be it giving a nod to sports or scholastic teams at our school sites, pondering the growth and development of my children or acknowledging the uniqueness which is our town. This space, this Mommy Musings, allows me great flexibility as a writer.

This week, I am choosing to use this space for a rare opportunity. A life event, which has taken my breath away a bit and left me slightly overwhelmed in a whole new way.

This past Saturday, April 18 I had the privilege of participating in the Support Oakdale Schools (SOS) Fun Run/Walk. This year, I was a different type of ‘participant,’ I did not pin a number (aka bib) onto the front of a shirt so that I could run with the others. This year, I was privy to a seat from the sidelines as a volunteer. To make things even better, I was not just treated to the opportunity to volunteer, I was lucky enough to have served on the Sixth Annual SOS Committee.

I shared a bit about what all this means to me in a previous column (see Seizing the Moment, Feb. 18 Oakdale Leader). It’s a pretty special seat and I feel blessed to have the ability to be a piece of it.

Today however, I’m choosing to use this forum to pen a public Thank You to the committee. We are a town driven by endless fundraisers, special events and the like. Our town slogan is very fitting Cowboy Capital of the World. In my 14 years of residency I have come to learn this place to be ‘How Can I Help’ or the ever popular ‘Only in Oakdale.’

Truthfully, I am penning this piece prior to the event actually happening. My deadline is Friday and we hit the course at o dark thirty Saturday morning. But ... like any event or even race training as a runner, for that matter, the work is already done. The impression has been left. Saturday will be our Victory party.

Here’s what I would like to share.

To the Core Committee: Ted Thome, Matt Hanko, Tina Lane, Joey Valencia, Nancy Kern and Michelle Goudreau:

The words ‘thank you’ hardly seem complete when it comes to expressing my gratitude for what you each have given to this event. In January we each attended a meeting in response to an e-mail looking for volunteers to keep the SOS Fun Run on the calendar. The past committee had run their course. Their job complete, their lives to live. The rumor had circulated, the Fun Run just might go away.

Not a one of us, well besides seasoned Matt, knew what we were in for. Fortunately, he felt compelled to stay at our side. Thank you Matt. We each knew that it would benefit the kids of this town, we each knew we ‘had some time,’ and I think that’s truthfully ALL we knew.

I still remember Ted going around the room and asking each of us how much time we could give to this each week. Each of us, staring at him like deer in headlights. We had no idea. But somehow seven perfect strangers came together and made it work. We called on leaders from the past. We relied on past volunteer knowledge and we trusted … each other.

You six have taught me so much.

Volunteer work is not for the faint at heart. It is not for the person who feels the need for public accolades and notoriety. It is for the person, who likes to quietly do their thing and watch it all come together. This is what the six of you have done. I had the honor of watching this unfold and now become what all will remember as the Sixth Annual SOS Fun Run.

The result of your tireless commitment will now benefit students and teachers we will never know, but the benefits will be apparent. Needs will be met through these funds and growth will happen.

We said it from day one; this is about so much more than a ‘Fun Run.’ This is about bringing big change through one small effort.

In the words of Mia Hamm, “I am a member of a team, and I rely on the team, I defer to it and sacrifice for it, because the team, not the individual, is the ultimate champion.”

Thank you for being a team of Champions. God bless you all. – T


Teresa Hammond is a staff reporter for The Oakdale Leader, The Riverbank News and The Escalon Times. She may be reached at or by calling 847-3021.