As they say, “It’s all over but the shouting!” The 55th Anniversary Alumni Homecoming has come and gone. This past weekend, several hundred people gathered from all over the country for the various events that included: the Mansion 5K Race and 2K Fun Run, outdoor extravaganza on the newly renovated T. L. Wallace Athletic Field, guided tours of the campus, alumni organizational meeting and 55th Celebration and Reception.
The Mansion 5K was a great success, with 208 runners participating. The 1st place finisher was Jim Brown who ran the 3.1 miles in 17.49.09. Think about that! Several experienced runners told us that it was a great race and one of the best organized they had ever run in. It was definitely a tough route with several menacing hills. The final stretch of the race was on Hillsdale Drive. Does that name tell you anything? Believe me, that last hill was brutal. One runner told me that it was “an iron man’s run.”
And…yes…I did it! I ran the 5K and continued running another 3.1 miles to complete the 10K, in one hour and two minutes. It was a gratifying moment as I crossed the finished line to the cheers of the onlookers. With the overwhelming support of my sponsors, I was able to raise nearly $65,000.00 for the Mansion. Overall, the total amount raised is close to $85,000.00, and it’s still coming in. This total includes a number of corporate sponsors as well as donations given in support of other runners.
Everyone seemed to thoroughly enjoy the outdoor extravaganza. There was great singing, pony rides, face painting, inflatables, softball, volleyball, snow cones, and a fantastic lunch served by the employees of O’Charleys. Folks set around for hours under the big tent, reminiscing about old times.
On Saturday afternoon, the official TCMM Alumni Association was launched. I am truly excited about the formation of this brand new initiative. Bylaws were adopted and an Alumni Council was elected. I will be introducing the officers in a forthcoming blog. This new organization is going to be alumni driven and will prove to be a great blessing to the Mansion as well as a facilitator for reuniting former residents and staff members.
The capstone of the homecoming was the program and reception that evening at the BancorpSouth Conference Center. The program featured songs and testimonies representing both the past and present. Two of our former leaders and their wives were honored for their years of service to the Mansion – the Kloeppers and Drurys. Jonathan Moore blessed us with his singing talent and Rex Johnson brought a timely and inspiring message. The Italian fare at the lovely reception was fabulous – not to mention the best bread pudding that I’ve ever tasted – thanks to Randy and Pam Hardin who catered the meal.
The media coverage was outstanding. The Daily Journal was all over this historic event and interviewed a number of attendees. WTVA and WCBI had journalists present and covered the story on the evening news. All over town, people are talking about the Mansion in a very positive way. Here is a link to an article that appeared in the Sunday paper… http://www.djournal.com/pages/archive.asp?ID=278463&pub=1&div=News
I could go and on about the happenings of the past few days; however, Tamisha, our oldest daughter, recently shared with me in a tactful way that my blogs are getting too long. Leave it to our kids to tell us the truth! When I first started blogging, my biggest concern was that I wouldn’t have enough to write about. Well…that hasn’t seemed to be a problem.
So long, for now. In my next blog, I’m going to write about what I learned about the Mansion while visiting the birthplace of Elvis Presley.