Thursday, July 31, 2008

Kara moves on... Bummer.

Yesterday morning I received a phone call from Kara Reber, Alex's coach at Lycoming. She had a long list of people she was calling and letting them know that she is moving on to another coaching opportunity here in MD. I was honored to here that I was first on her list! She has become a big part of our family the last 2 years and although it is hard to see her go I told her that I was very happy for her. It is a great opportunity for her to advance her career.

Saint Mary's press release is found here. Lyco's is as follows:

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. – Lycoming College head women’s lacrosse coach Kara Reber announced her resignation on Wednesday to accept the head coaching job at St. Mary’s College of Maryland.

According to Scott Kennell, Lycoming’s athletic director, a national search has already begun to identify her replacement.

The Lady Warriors posted a record of 47-34 in Reber’s five years at the helm of the program, including back-to-back 14-4 seasons and trips to the MAC semi-finals in 2007 and 2008. The 2009 squad returns all but four players, who graduated in May.


Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Like I needed to be reminded!


This email came to me this afternoon. I bought flowers for Chris on a regular basis, and continue to do so. In fact, just yesterday I bought a large bouquet for the kitchen. She deserved something every day...

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Mount Olivet History

This article was in the Frederick News Post last week. It is a story about Mount Olivet Cemetery where Chrissy is buried. I thought it was interesting history and something she would have liked...

Every morning, as the dawn's early light reaches the bronze statue of Francis Scott Key, Ronald Pearcey steps down from his porch and opens the iron gate to Frederick's 156 year-old Mount Olivet Cemetery.

Pearcey has lived and worked at the cemetery for nearly 43 years.

He oversees a great deal of American history, regularly meeting Civil War buffs, students and tourists, patiently answering questions about those enshrined. When he can find time, Pearcey still researches old diaries trying to identify the remains of hundreds of unknown Confederate soldiers brought from the battlefields of Gettysburg, Antietam, South Mountain and Monocacy.

The cemetery sits on 150 acres atop the city's highest pla-teau and holds the remains of more than 40,000 persons. But Mount Olivet also continues to function and serve area residents; in fact, two new mausoleums broke ground in April and 35 acres remain available for burials.

Not all the significant people, services or memorable events here are from the 19th century, either. There have been other historical footnotes, significant local stories, personal tragedies and even one recent small miracle born at Mount Olivet

"It keeps you pretty busy," said Pearcey, who started in 1966 after a lead from the county unemployment agency. He took over as superintendent in 1983 from Bob Kline, who himself worked at the cemetary for 48 years.

Pearcey isn't the only long-tenured employee. His staff of 18 includes office manager Austin Drury, who started in 1979. Jesse Shank, cemetery foreman since 1962, manages the actual grave-digging with Tyrone Hurley, who has been at the cemetery for 25 years. Hurley's sisters, Polly and Jeannie, have taken care of the flowers and shrubbery for more than two decades.

In a near-tragedy last month, Shank's son Jamie, who works on the grounds, severed his right arm in a wood-chipper accident. Incredibly, it was successfully re-attached and something close to a full recovery is expected.

"It's amazing," Pearcey said. "We did everything right and he had a great doctor. He's due back to work real soon. It's hard to believe anything good could come out of that, but I think something might if he shares his story."

In 1852, four downtown congregations, Evangelical Lutheran, All Saints Protestant Episcopal, Methodist Episcopal and the "English" Presbyterian Church raised $10,000 for the land then called "Barrack's Hill" -- because of the nearby Hessian barracks. A decade later, the bodies of 408 unknown Confederate soldiers were brought here from western Maryland and south central Pennsylvania. Other bodies, too, of men who died at the numerous Frederick hospitals.

Pearcey can recount their journey and how they came to Mount Olivet, as well as Francis Scott Key's saga. The lawyer, poet and author of The Star Spangled Banner was born in Frederick in 1779.

When Key, for example, died of pneumonia in 1843 at his daughter Elizabeth Howard's home in Baltimore, he was initially interred there in Old Saint Paul's Cemetery. In 1866, his body was relocated to Mount Olivet. In 1898, the huge monument where he and his wife lay was erected.

"He was born here and, supposedly, always had said he wanted to be buried in Frederick overlooking the mountains," Pearcey said.

Local patriot Barbara Fritchie is nearby. A friend of Key's, she was 96 when she famously waved a Union flag at Stonewall Jackson's Confederate troops in 1862, daring them to "Shoot, if you must, this old gray head, but spare your country's flag."

Thomas Johnson, Maryland's first governor, U.S. Supreme Court justice and delegate to the Continental Congress, and James Cooper, a Union general and senator from Pennsylvania, are buried at the cemetery, too.

On a different historical note, Mount Olivet was a strictly segregated "white only" cemetery until 1954, Pearcey said. "Written into the by-laws."

Pearcey explained that in the 1940s a white businessman and farm owner named R. Rush Lewis sued Mount Olivet, a community-owned non-profit, in order to have his children's beloved "colored" nanny, Bird Smith, buried at his family's site.

"People apparently had mixed-feelings about it at the time he brought the suit, but because it was in the bylaws it held up in court," Pearcey said. "She was buried on their farm."

Four decades later, in 1986, the farm was sold to a motel chain which asked if Mount Olivet could remove the casket.

Smith was brought to the cemetery and buried in a small service.

"Rush Lewis' daughter Elizabeth Peters was still alive and lived in a house downtown on Court Street," Pearcey said. "The day of the service, it was pouring rain and I called and asked her if she wanted to come. She was very elderly, 87 years old, but she said she wanted to. So, I went and picked her up and held a big umbrella over her the whole time.

"I think finally getting to see her buried where she was supposed to be buried brought her some peace."

The largest service that Pearcey could remember was in 1988 for a 16-year-old Brunswick High School baseball player named Richard Allen Maceron, who died of an illness. Pearcey believes it was leukemia.

"It was February and it was a sunny day, wasn't cold at all," he said. "Long after the service was over, people were coming, the procession backed up all the way to Brunswick. The truck stop across I-70 was filled with cars."

"I knew him from baseball, my son played baseball then and he was just a popular, well-liked kid," Pearcey said. "All the kids from the high school came, walking single-file by casket."

Pearcey's own sons, Jeremy and David, now 37 and 36, respectively, worked at the cemetery growing up, cutting the grass, trimming and weeding. Tragically, their mother, Kathy Pearcey, Ronald's first wife, died in 1995 from complications related to diabetes and rests at cemetery.

Shortly after Maceron's funeral, another baseball story began, albeit, a much happier one, directly across the street from Mount Olivet. The minor league Frederick Keys moved into the new Harry Grove Stadium.

Not coincendentally it turns out, the two dozen plots closest to the ballpark, space that had been sitting idle for years, sold immediately, Pearcey said. Longtime American Legion baseball coach Harold E. "Sonny" Blank, whose teams played on the previous field, is buried within a good throw of the ticket office. He even has a baseball diamond and batter on his tombstone -- designed by Pearcey.

"You know, they play the national anthem before every game and Francis Scott Key is buried less than a quarter mile from the stadium," Pearcey said. "And no other place can say that.

"The other thing, if you notice, is that his right hand on the top of the statute, which was built in 1898, points exactly to where the home plate sits. I think that's kind of interesting."

Monday, July 28, 2008

Ryan McPhee Golf Tournament

Last weekend before traveling to NC for vacation I was able to attend a very special charity golf event. My good friends Rich and Jill in Rochester, NY lost their son to leukemia 2 years ago on June 29th. Last year they held the inaugural golf outting to raise money for Camp Good Days which is a camp to help kids and families that are going through the struggles of cancer treatments.

Last year I was unable to attend this event because Chris was in the hospital at that time. I sponsored a hole then. This year I sponsored a hole and was able to attend the event. I played with my friend Rich and even though the weather was iffy at best they still managed to raise over $5,000 for the camp! My hole sponsor banner is the picture above.

After the event I flew back home to Baltimore and then drove to NC to be with the kids down in NC (more on that later)....

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Basement nearing completion.


The basement is finally nearing completion. Tyler and I have worked really hard on the basement and it is now to the point where we need to put furniture in it! We just bought a sofa and loveseat with some accent tables today so that's done.

Next step is stools for the bar and a pub table. More pix to come once we get things hung on the wall!!!

We started this about 6 months ago. Tearing out everything in the basement. New bar, new lights, new tile, new carpet, new paint.... You get the idea. The TV and stereo cabinet are in and finally hung permanently. They're perfect.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

Special announcement for Lyco Lax...

This email was received this past week by the Lycoming Women's Lacrosse Team. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Pink Out. It helped make this happen, but the girls did a whole bunch more as well.

Hi Kara - On behalf of the Awards Committee for the Intercollegiate Women’s Lacrosse Coaches Association (IWLCA), I would like to extend congratulations to you and your team for being selected as the 2008 Team Community Awareness Award Winner. There were many outstanding teams nominated for this award, so congratulations again on being selected.

The award will be presented to you at the Awards Banquet at the IWLCA Convention. A media release announcing the award will go out the week of the convention.

Again, Congrats!

Allison


Allison B. Valentino
Associate Head Lacrosse Coach
United States Naval Academy
151 Cooper Rd
Annapolis, MD 21402
410-293-5541
Fax: 410-293-5526
www.navysports.com

Friday, July 25, 2008

Still at the Beach

We're still here.... The boys and I are at least. Alex went home on Thursday to work on Fri/Sat. It's been fun, but deep down inside it hurts not having Chris here. Every seashell I see I think of her. I went for a walk yesterday down the same beach we were at the last time we were here. I made it half way....

More later....

Friday, July 18, 2008

Off to the beach...

Well I finally had a chance to meet Mr. Andy Buerger. This gentleman is the person responsible for creating the Climb for Hope program that raises fund for Dr. Emens research for a Stage IV vaccine to treat breast cancer patients.

He just came back from a very successful climb of Mount Kilimanjaro in Africa. He was an extraordinary man with a huge heart. He's been doing this for about 3 years now and the numbers in his group continues to climb.

He shared with me some personal data of which I will keep to myself, but in a nutshell the research that he raises money for is something that could benefit someone in his personal life as well. Best of luck to you and your loved ones Andy!

Tomorrow morning Alex and the boys are driving to the Outer Banks, NC for a week of vacation with our close friends across the street (Ray and Cheryl). I am flying to Rochester, NY to attend a special charity golf tournament in honor or Ryan McPhee. I'm coming back on Monday and then driving down on Monday to the beach. Should be a busy weekend. Once there a little R and R on the beach will be most welcome. Chris and I had been several times before with Ray and Cheryl to the beach to the same location. It will be hard not having her there with us but I'm sure she'll be watching over us.

While we were loading the car we came across a bucket of beach toys and in it were a bunch of shells that Chris had collected the last time that we were down there... that hurt a little.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Wash out...

Everything, and I mean everything was in place and ready for Sunday night's special event at the Keys stadium. Several hundred cancer survivors were pre-registered and they were expecting a big crowd. The newspaper did their job, radio did theirs, American Cancer Society was ready to go!!

It rained. Big time and would not stop. Disappointing, but as Dave the GM put it, "it gives them more time to promote it to an even bigger event".

The Breast Cancer Awareness night in honor of Chris will now be held on FRIDAY AUG. 15th at 7:00 pm. Friday's are traditionally big nights. THis one will be huge as Fireworks are already on the schedule.

Thanks to everyone who came out last night. I'm hoping to see more on the 15th...

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Climb for Hope Makes it home!!!


This picture was sent to me by one of the climbers in the Climb for Hope group. I have never met Beth Dyer, but have had several correspondences with her before her climb. She bought one of the fundraiser t-shirts from the Lycoming Lacrosse team and took it to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro

The picture shows: front row (left-right) Molly O'Brien (PA at Annapolis Breast Cancer Center), Andy Buerger, Beth Dyer. In the back is Dr. Leisha Emens.
She is the wonderful physician that treated Chris with such dignity and respect while she was at Johns Hopkins.

The following text is from an email that Andy sent to me after Beth sent us both the picture. Andy is the creator and primary contact for the Climb for Hope program.

Thanks for sharing that picture. It's a great shot -- so glad you hauled that t-shirt all the way to Africa and then along our 65 mile journey to the 19,400 summit. It's a real tribute to Christine.

Charlie: As Beth pointed out, I took a minute before our mid-night departure to remind our climbers why we were there. Yes, we were there for our own reasons, but we were there for a greater reason as well --- to carry something with us -- a t-shirt or a memory of someone who couldn't make that climb. With that, I told the time I was climbing with Christine's memory in my heart. I was taking her memory to the top with them. (And every hour for 8 hours I thought about Christine and what good things are being done under her name.)


I told the 25 people in that tent that when it got dark and cold and we were tempted to turn back, ponder what challenges Christine went through and how important it was us to walk in her pain for a while. Besides we couldn't let down the hundreds of your supporters that were following us.

So, Charlie, every single person made it up to Africa's highest peak, miraculously. We fought debilitating blisters, stomach problems, dysentery, exhaustion, and terrible cold. I have to think that Chris gave us little tug every once in a while when we were struggling.


I'm proud to tell you that yes, we had 100% success, but I'm so much more proud to tell you that we carried Chris' memory (and thanks to Beth, her t-shirt) to the summit for you and your family. You were an inspiration to us all. Please also know, we raised over $200,000 to fight this terrible disease so other women won't have to go through what your courageous wife struggled with.

Christine DeWitt's name and memory will continue to be a blessing.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Alex Turns 20! (tomorrow)

Tomorrow is Alex's 20th birthday. She is working at COMSTAR this summer as a teller, something Chris started out as 25 years ago!

They treated here like a little princess as you can see.

Its a little quiet around here this week. Alex has been at work and the boys are BOTH away at lacrosse camp together. The peace and quiet is nice but I don't really like it...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Upcoming Keys event in the newspaper!

This article was run in the Frederick News Post today. Here is a link to the article online.

Keys, COMSTAR will host breast cancer event

Originally published July 05, 2008

By Gina Gallucci-White
News-Post Staff

Christine DeWitt could read an entire book in two to three days. She
loved to plant flowers in her garden and attend her three children's
lacrosse games.

These and many more memories bring a smile to her husband Charles DeWitt's face.

Christine DeWitt died Sept. 11, 2007, after a three-year battle with breast cancer.

"We are coping," Charles DeWitt said. "We are doing well."

To celebrate her life and the lives of others touched by the disease, the
Frederick Keys and COMSTAR Federal Credit Union will host the Inaugural
Christine DeWitt Memorial Breast Cancer Awareness Night on July 13 at
Harry Grove Stadium.

DeWitt worked for COMSTAR for more than 20 years and regularly did marketing business with the Keys.

"We wanted to do something to raise awareness, and honor her memory and her
family," said Keri Scrivani, Keys assistant general manager of
marketing.

After registering with the American Cancer Society of
Frederick County, survivors will receive two free tickets to the July
13 game, a T-shirt, tote bag and access to a survivor recognition
ceremony in the Keys courtyard.

The ACS and Frederick Memorial Hospital will pass out informational materials.

While the event is for breast cancer awareness, all cancer survivors are
welcome, said Laurie Frey, ACS Frederick County community manager.

The event is a good way for cancer survivors to come together with people who understand what they have gone through, she said.

"It's going to be a fun time," Frey said. "I'm very excited about this."

A silent auction will include commemorative pink bats, bases and hats.
All proceeds will go into a trust fund for DeWitt's children. The Keys
will match the funds raised by the auction.

With donations to the ACS, luminaria will be placed on the field after the game to create a
"Field of Memories," with each light representing a life.

"It's a very touching ceremony," Frey said.

Charles DeWitt and the couple's three children will be at the event. He said he
has been overwhelmed by the support shown to his family.

"It's very humbling," he said. "She would be very honored."