Bob Cole, proud Founder and CEO of World Wide Stereo here. It was an exciting weekend for the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House and World Wide Stereo. May 5th marked the 10th annual Plane Pull event - an event that gives teams of 20 individuals the unique opportunity to pull an airplane while raising funds for the families staying at the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House (PRMH).
The PRMH is a place that supports families of seriously ill children by providing housing and supportive services. Families are only asked to contribute $15 per night and no one is ever turned away due to their inability to pay. You may already know that World Wide Stereo has a very long-standing commitment to the Ronald McDonald House. If ever there was a need to suspend your disbelief and provide a haven for a child's imagination, it's the Ronald McDonald House. We’ve built theaters, donated TVs, appliances, and all kinds of electronics to help improve the quality of life for the RMH kids and their families. For myself, I was a volunteer in 1974 when the first house was built!
It really was a great day with over 35 World Wide Stereo-types showing up at Philly Airport at 7:45am. The enthusiasm and camaraderie was high, and as Founder of the company, I could not have been more proud. We raised over $12,000 for PRMH, only second in donations to Chickie's and Pete’s. It really doesn’t matter which team wins what; it’s all about the families. And everyone was a winner on Saturday.
Then there was the pull itself. Pulling a 76,000-pound plane was really, really hard! Tommy Gillanders assumed the lead position of Rudolf the Red Nose with 19 of our favorite people pulling as hard as we could behind him. We didn't take the win for fastest time, but I have to say when other teams were “Breed Elite Power Lifting,” I felt a little like Team Lithuania in competition with Team Russia. Ah, but the judges were beyond reproach as they were made up of some of the families currently residing at PRMH.
Of course, the star was Tyler Gordon, the brother of our own Email Marketing Manager, Chris Gordon, who along with their courageous mom, Iris, spent many of Tyler’s early years at the Ronald McDonald House in Hershey, PA. The House not only provides an incredible service for the families, in Iris’s own words, she believes it was curative and that Tyler’s survival was a direct result of the family being able to be constantly there for him. Doctors agree.
The World Wide Stereo Plane Pull Team with Chris and his brother Tyler (center)
Susan Campbell, CEO of the Ronald McDonald House Organization, was in full form, rallying the troops. And the ever-present PRMH volunteers were in high gear all morning long.
Susan Campbell (Left) & Bob Cole (Right)
A special shout-out goes out to the energetic Amanda Carman (WWS eCommerce Marketing & Engagement Coordinator) who put this all together, and a nod to eCommerce Director and Plane Pull Team captain, Emily Cole, who was one of the many volunteers helping me hang TVs and setting up the theater at the St. Christopher’s RMH many years ago when she was still in college.
When all was said and done, an exhausted but still enthusiastic 27 of us descended on South Philadelphia and LaScala’s Birra on 12th and Passyunk for some of the best pizza I’ve had in Philadelphia and, of course, the requisite beer and tequila shots. World Wide Stereo, improving lives in any way we can.
An extra shout-out goes to our plane pullers and their families who helped out: Dave Barrickman, Terrance Kadle and his family, Tommy Gillanders, Casey Ernst and her fiance Joel, Jamie Hunsberger, Amanda Carman, Nick Shaffer, Emily Cole, Chris Gordon and Michelle Gordon, Chad Snedaker, Virginia Rivera and her family, Monica Montesa and her husband Chris, Fern Rutberg, Noah Mastin, Elizabeth Rose and her family, Alex Reale, and Ryan Rumer. And yes, even this old guy pulled the plane too.
And of course, thank you to all of our generous donors who helped us raise over $12,000 for the Philadelphia Ronald McDonald House, and to our friends at Custom Ink and Everfan for the awesome T-shirts and capes!
Check out the full photo album below: