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Come on, it's for the kids

  • Published
  • By SrA Peter Dean
  • 107th Airlift Wing
In the wee hours of April 28, members from the New York Air National Guard's 107th Airlift Wing hit the streets of Niagara Falls and hit it hard they did. On a day that marked the 20th anniversary of the 107th's participation in the Buffalo News Kids Day fundraising drive records were set, selling more papers and raising more money than ever before. The 107th volunteers that darted in and out of traffic while peddling special $1 editions of the Buffalo News sold more than 1250 papers and raised more than $1500.
The 107th was not alone in their pursuit to aid children with special needs or children that require special care; they were joined by roughly 4000 other volunteers from numerous businesses and organizations. Since its inception 27 years ago the drive has raised close to $4 million, distributing it to places such as the Women and Children's Hospital of Buffalo, the Robert Warner M.D. Center for Children with Special Needs and Children's Charities of Western New York.
"I'm fortunate in life, this gives me the opportunity to give back and help others less fortunate," said Senior Master Sgt. Virginia Ballester. "And it's fun," she added.
The sergeant has participated as a volunteer in the Buffalo News Kids day fundraiser for the last 13 years. With the economy in the state that it is in today, she was very pleased with the unexpected record breaking year.
"As a mother of two, I wanted to support an organization that I may need someday," said Staff Sgt. Kelly Sayers, a two year participant.
The sergeant along with Tech. Sgt. Jessica King and Airman 1st Class Gabrielle Morgan worked at the same location as a team, chanting "come on, it's for the kids".
"Jessica was amazing," said Sgt. Sayers, "she worked the Tim Horton's pick up window, no one could say they didn't have a buck," she added.
"I want to thank all the individuals who got up early and braved the rush hour traffic," said Lt. Col. Kevin Rogers.
This was the colonel's first year organizing and rallying the 107th's volunteers for this year's Buffalo News Kids Day fundraising drive. Next year; onward and upward, no turning back, the bar has been set, failure is not an option. The 107th will shoot for another record breaking year.