Opinion

Another successful Tour de Whidbey event

I am writing on behalf of the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation to share the news of another successful Tour de Whidbey. The bike ride is the primary fund-raiser for the hospital foundation annually. It could not happen without the stupendous support of volunteers from the community, hospital employees, and the WGH Auxiliary, gift shop and guilds.

The Tour began early in the week with Mac Whitford, Brandon Henry and Marty Hill jumping in and out of vehicles with spray chalk to mark the routes. They were followed by Paul Louden, Rowland and Lorraine Davis who hammered in signs along the routes from north to south. The actual Tour day began at 5:30 a.m. Saturday when CEO Scott Rhine, his wife Verna, Mary Awe and CFO Doug Bishop arrived to start making pancakes for the riders. Then at 6 a.m. Tessa Gavin, her uncle Ray and youth volunteers from the NAS Whidbey Youth Activities Center began directing riders into parking spaces with flashlights. The ladies and gentlemen of the WGH Auxiliary, Gift Shop and Guilds arrived at the same time to prepare for the two- to three-hour surge of riders wanting to register, pickup their numbers and route instructions.

By 7:30 a.m. the break station volunteers started taking their places to cheer the riders on as well as provide water and snacks. Lyn and Chris GaustadÂ’s crew from Whidbey Vision Care and the gang from the WGH Employee Council took care of riders in Coupeville. North Whidbey stations depended upon the Soroptomists of Oak Harbor and congregants from the Oak Harbor Church of Christ. Radia Imaging and WGH Diagnostic Imaging staff enlivened the Greenbank station. New this year, Barb and Mark Schultz recruited their friends to give the riders a South Whidbey welcome.

At 11 a.m. the women of the Polly Harpole Guild arrived to serve the riders chili until 4 p.m. Throughout the day the Island County Amateur Radio Club members coordinated with the GoldwingsÂ’ motorcyclists to watch over our riders. As these folks did their final sweep of the routes, break stations closed, volunteers cleaned up the barn, and picked up the route signs along the roadways. The Tour de Whidbey ended for another year, having raised the money to buy a high tech piece of surgical equipment for the hospital.

Monday morning the emails started coming in. Riders could not get over how enthusiastic and welcoming all the Tour volunteers were. Me neither. I am constantly humbled by the generous hearts and spirit of people on this island. Blessings upon you all. Thank you.

Laura Blankenship is the executive director of the Whidbey General Hospital Foundation

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