Have tux, will travel: an annual labor of love
No guy relishes putting on a tuxedo. The few who do probably have found themselves jobs where it's a required uniform. For the rest of us, a tux is something to be donned only when a child is to be wed, rented for big money and clumsily applied (I never can get the cufflinks right).
I get another try tonight (Saturday the 7th) when I'm once again honored to host the 18th annual Penfield Croquet Ball at Milwaukee Country Club. I've been doing it for years, dating back to the days when my late friend Jim Ryan ran Penfield, a fabulous facility serving children with severe developmental disabilities.
The work they do is incredible and the vibe inside is inspiring. You need to be a special sort of person to do this kind of a job, and the people at Penfield are spectacular, top to bottom. A visit to their facility at 26th and Wells is one you never forget. I've been there a few times, and my son did some volunteer work there as part of his Marquette High School experience.
Yes, there'll be croquet tonight but the games are merely an excuse for generous individuals and companies to gather to reaffirm their support of Penfield, to re-dedicate themselves to the cause. We'll honor those who've given above and beyond in the past and we'll hear a Penfield success story told by the parents of a child who's receiving the center's care. Want to hear a tent full of hundreds of well-dressed and usually quite chatty folks go dead silent? Be there when a Penfield family comes to the mike after dinner and tells of their struggle and how the facility changed their lives. Dry eyes are often at a premium by the time the talk is done.
This year, we're honored to be joined by former Packers standout Leroy Butler who's offering do cook up a meal for 25 lucky folks as part of the live auction. As if Leroy doesn't already do enough for the community and the state, he's taking time to do all that for Penfield. Tells you a lot about both the man and the cause he's backing.
Putting on that tux tonight is a labor of love, knowing that when I take it off tonight I'll have a refreshing new look at the community we call home. After witnessing jaw-dropping generosity, the personal commitment of others to a terrific cause, the involvement of some of the area's business giants in the Penfield mission and the stories of those affected by such a vital community asset, how can you not be re-invigorated about the town you call home and the people who are your neighbors?
And, how can you not be thankful that the Milwaukee area has Penfield Children's Center?