MOOSEHEART, IL, August 8 – After much anticipation, Mooseheart’s Centennial Celebration has finally come…and passed. But the day is still very much alive in the minds and hearts of Moose employees, members, and supporters.
People from all over the country traveled to our city – our community – to join in the festivity. But for what? The event in and of itself, which included a carnival, live entertainment, and food/drinks, could have easily been reason enough.
But for many people, this day meant much more. It was not the pork chop on a stick or the American English Beatles Tribute band that motivated people to withstand the unseasonal chilly weather and support our organization; it was the bond that people have with this place, a sense of pride, that brought us all together.
Christie Byam-Janowski, grandmother of a Mooseheart student, knew right away that July 27th 2013 would forever remain one of her favorite moments. “It was the smile on my grandson’s face during the carnival,” she said. “This whole time in his life, actually. And most of all, the dedication ceremony and how far the Alumni and members, staff, and teachers will go for these kids. It was life changing for me."
She was not the only person who was moved by this day. Davy Lee Ballou, a resident of Batavia IL, came to Mooseheart on the 27th with his wife with no purpose other than to enjoy the day of family-friendly activities. But by the end of the day, he and his wife left with much more than they arrived with: a fraternal family. “My wife and I took the bus tour of the campus,” Ballou said. “The man who stood and talked about the history of Mooseheart totally captivated both of us. So captivated us, in fact, that we will be submitting an application to join the Batavia Lodge this Friday!"
Even our very own Executive Director, Gary Urwiler, was left with overpowering positive emotions. “I am speechless with my words and emotions of what took place on our campus with the 100th year anniversary celebration,” he said. “I felt such an incredible sense of unity and love throughout the day’s activities. And as the band sang their last song, “Hey Jude,” and as the fireworks went off, it was difficult to control those emotions even more so. Seeing us all together celebrating this incredible 100 year journey and having God’s blessing was truly an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life."
So yes, the Centennial Celebration has come and passed. But that just means that we are well on the way to move forward. As former Speaker of the House Dennis Hastert so eloquently said, “[Mooseheart] is home, a place to educate kids, nurture them, teach them to serve. That’s the legacy of this place.” And that will still be the legacy of this place 100 more years from now
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