The Good Heart of the '80s

As we move forward in the history of ESA, the 1980 International Convention in July in Atlanta, GA gave a helpful push to the start of the next decade. Members completed the previous year with 639,106 hours spent on volunteering and a total of $1,989,287 raised for philanthropic projects. ESA’s helping hand continued to make incredible changes to communities all over.

ESA began showing their love by hosting seminars and publishing articles in the Jonquil that were geared towards the needs of our members. Soon after, Delta Epsilon extended the love to a new member, Florence Conaway. At the time she had a baby with many medical problems and the closest hospital that had the necessary resources was 265 miles away. With the medical bills and the extensive traveling costs, Delta Epsilon realized their member was in need. Her name was submitted to the ESA Disaster Fund where Florence was able to receive the aid she needed to help her child.

MarvinHamlischandEasterSealsPosterChildTabitha1982Convention.jpgESA’s heart continued to grow and help more people at the 35th International Convention in Cincinnati in 1982. It was the year that marked the formal adaptation of Easterseals as an ESA international project. Marvin Hamlisch, renowned composer, expressed his personal appreciation for ESA’s support and entertained everyone with several of his hit songs. It was yet another memorable convention. As the music faded Delta Rho put on their running shoes, or as some would call it, their walking shoes.

Everyone loves a good ole Fun Run. The Delta Rho chapter in Chattanooga, Tennessee hosted one in 1982 that was a little different. The “No-Run Run” consisted of 4 categories: the “young,” the “old,” the “athletics” and the “lazies.” These members wanted to make sure everyone felt included. All people had to do was pay the entry fee, walk around the high school track and claim a t-shirt. The catch was that participants didn’t have to run or even walk the track, they could just step across the line if they wished. This chapter strongly represented what an inclusive ESA environment is all about and that it can be shown in all walks of life.

The hearts of ESA continued to pump with enthusiasm and love. Honorary Member Danny Thomas received 91 keys that represented $824,303 at the 37th International Convention in Florida in 1984. However, he knew ESA had more to give. The members accepted another challenge of bringing the total amount raised for St. Jude from eight million to ten million by January 1, 1986. It was time to roll up sleeves and get to work!   

Alongside raising money for the children of St. Jude, members of Alpha Zeta, Anchorage, Alaska celebrated Leornora Smith Miller for receiving her Associates Degree in 1985. The chapter helped Leornora make her dream possible by presenting her with a $250 scholarship each academic year. Leornora was not only confined to a wheelchair from rheumatoid arthritis, she was also a full-time student, a single parent and worked 25 hours a week. Thanks to ESA’s contribution, Leornora was able to graduate and better her future.
The celebrations continued in Kansas City when important news was announced at the 39th International Convention. IC St. Jude Chairmen Kay Foster and Barbara Floyd, along with St. Jude patient and Math-a-thon girl Laura Hunziker said the three most important words: “You did it!” It caused a ruckus in the room, balloons dropped from the ceiling and the entire assembly rose to its feet cheering, shouting, applauding and crying. ESA had completed the challenge once again by fundraising the ten million dollars for St. Jude that Danny Thomas had requested.

The thousands of St. Jude events conducted by loving ESA members had made the impossible possible.

Wrapping up the decade, ESA chartered their first collegiate chapter at Ball State University in Indiana in 1988. Membership Chairman Diana Harney, Indiana’s ESA Founder Judy Schneider and Doris Hayden ran the pledge ceremony for 32 Ball State students. The feeling of ESA’s warm heart filled the incoming members and traveled to other states lighting the way for an iconic fundraiser that everyone was sure to remember.

littlerockbikeride.jpgBikers rode into the 41st ESA International Convention after pedaling for 155 miles and creating hope for the children of St. Jude during the Life Cycle Challenge. Over 350 ESA members cheered on the incoming Life Cycle Riders at Little Rock, Arkansas. They raised and impressive $80,000 for St. Jude. A jazz band played and the crowd was full of great feelings of pride and joy. It was a wonderful end to their four day trip from Memphis to Little Rock.

A long bike ride doesn’t stop ESA members, they thrive on competition. That fact was proven in the 1987-1988 year. State councils were divided into two teams, the ‘Hooters’ and the ‘Tooters.’ Both went head-to-head to see who could have the highest percentage of membership growth. The Tooters took the win and proclaimed their victory at the year end with a loud clamor. Competitors pated each other on their backs as it was an accomplishment for everyone to add more members to the ESA family. Danny Thomas received a presentation of the $1,069,198 to St. Jude that same year. It was a strong end to a loving, heartfelt decade and a solid beginning celebration for ESA’s 60th Anniversary.

Light up the night with ESA as we sprint into the ‘90s. Check back in two weeks to continue our 90 years of ESA celebration in our next Glimpse in Time post.

Written by Audrey Potter
Posted: 6/17/2019 11:00:32 AM by Mackeigan Mackeigan | with 0 comments

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