Wabash Day Draws Record Participation
by Howard Hewitt
October 13, 2008
The Fourth Annual Wabash Day had Wabash men spread across the country helping their communities. Wabash men started new projects in their communities and several cities saw Wabash men return to work at the same site for the fourth year.
Wabash Day is short for Wabash Alumni Benefiting And Serving Humanity. It is the national day of community service organized by Wabash alumni and carried out by alumni, families, friends, and students.
NAWM Wabash Day Committee Chairman Jon Pactor '71 reports the total number of volunteers exceeded the numbers from 2007. See a full census report here.
This year's projects involved fix-up work, food distribution, food preparation, non-profit thrift stores, and environmental clean up projects. As an innovation, Indianapolis alumni, headed by Tim Craft '00, officiated a touch football tourney for Special Olympics. A large group of current students worked on projects in Crawfordsville.
The alumni of Grand Rapids, Mi., had more than 50 volunteers, a record for a single location. New projects included Portland, Or., Pittsburgh, Detroit, and some Indianapolis' suburbs.
"We aim to make Wabash Day the single largest alumni event each year in terms of alumni participation," Pactor said. "It may happen in the fifth annual Wabash Day next year. As we grow, we must remember that Wabash Day is based on Wabash's core values to be responsible citizens and to act and lead responsibly to make our works more humane. Indeed, the core values are making us grow."
That growth and strength in numbers, whether its a small work group or the 50 in Grand Rapids strikes a chord with the participants.
"The alumni network of Wabash is incredibly strong in every sense of the word," said Dave Jackson '87, who was working on a trails project with fellow Wabash men in Avon, Ind.
"This has been a labor of love. It’s intimately local, and where better to show that we care than in our own hometown? This has been well worth the time we’ve invested into it, and I only hope that we are able to stir up more interest."
One of the great things about Wabash Day is not just the community service, but it also is a time for alums to get together and talk about their days at the College. "We also reminisced about our time at Wabash College and the professors who positively impacted our lives," Scott McEuen '83 said of his group's work in Northwest Indiana. "I think I speak for all the Wabash grads that day: our love and respect for Wabash College and the people who work there were refreshed."
We have a lot more Wabash Day reports to share. We're updating the web as quickly as possible. Many remain to be posted so check back throughout the week to learn how Wabash men are living out the college's mission statement.
In photo above: Andrew Naugle '98 and John Kasey '08 work in Seattle.