There is an old Bahamian song that Michael Bethel paraphrased to describe the success of the Medical Fund Raiser for Ms. Vashti Albury held on March 31 in Cherokee Sound: “Say What You Like, Do What You Like, but you can’t beat the folks in Cherokee when it comes to raising money for a worthy cause.”
As in the past a lot of effort went into planning the event which took place on the old schoolyard grounds with special attention being put on the highlight of the day, a live auction of various, beautiful handcrafted items. Many were made out of shells by family members and friends. With so much community buy-in, no wonder the auction alone brought in over Sixteen Thousand ($16,000) Dollars.
A special friend donated a Bouncy Castle for Cherokee to use at future events, which was enjoyed by all the little tots. There were all kinds of games with prizes for the children, and lots of food for everyone including steak dinners, hamburgers, lobster salad and every one’s favourite – conch salad. Not to mention an unbelievable display of homemade fudge and sweets to choose from.
A white elephant stall had lots of books, and an unlimited amount of knick knacks reasonably priced to fit anyone’s budget and brought in another $1,000 all from donated items. There was a jar of 458 marbles if you wanted to win a colourful beach umbrella (however, more people were more interested in purchasing the antique marbles than winning the umbrella.) There was a framed photo showing our local parrots in flight which displayed all their outstanding blue and green feathers. It is this reporter’s understanding that there are a few more copies available if you are interested in purchasing one, just get in touch with Hartman Albury in Cherokee.
Even though there were a few clouds threatening, it never rained and ended up being a spectacular day. According to some estimates there were probably two thousand, or more, who attended from one end of Abaco to the other, as well as visitors from Freeport and Nassau. It seems everyone knows Vashti and it was obvious that she is well loved as evidenced by the large turn-out. Vashti is still receiving cancer treatments in South Florida, but she didn’t miss a minute of the festivities as her friends and family kept her connected via Face-Time on the cell phone during most of the proceedings, even at the combined church service held Easter Sunday at Epworth Chapel where the Assemblies of God churches met together.
After the church service the congregations were asked to tie a knot and say a prayer for Sonny Bethel in Freeport who recently underwent surgery. Sonny was born in Cherokee and has many family members still residing there.
Before the message was given in church, Michael Bethel gave the financial report for the weekend announcing that they had raised over $56,000. He thanked the community for their efforts and everyone who had donated in any way to the event. Afterwards, Reverend Neilly appealed to four more benefactors who may have been in the congregation to donate another $l,000 each to bring the total to an even $60,000. Actually, five persons came forward to bring the total to over $61,000 with additional promises for more. The church service was moderated by Rev. Marie Neilly and Pastor Roger Pinder singing and his son Darrel giving the prayer, with an uplifting sermon delivered by Hartis Pinder on “The Empty Tomb.”
All in all, it was a very enjoyable and successful day and everyone sends their love and best wishes to Vashti for a speedy and complete recovery and look forward to her return.