So many thank you’s for today- I hope I don’t miss anyone.
First, I would like to thank everyone who donated or bought t-shirts, This money made today possible as we had to pay for the processing, bottling, and transportation of this milk.
Also, a huge shout out to all the volunteers who worked the event today - so many awesome old friends as well as new Facebook friends whom I have never met in person until today. We even had several high school students who came by themselves because they wanted to be able to help others during this difficult time - so cool.
None of this would have ever happened without my dear friend and brainchild behind this entire project, John Hanselman, and his entire Vanguard Renewables team. He has been the driving force of this project and I could have never pulled it off without him, nor would I have wanted to even attempt it.
The Massachusetts National Guard once again stepped up and went above and beyond. We had soldiers of the 1060th and 1166th Transportation Companies and the 181st Engineer Company on hand all day getting the milk distributed.
The Plainville Fire Department (Dean Casbarra and Devin Eisele) was on hand to evaluate and take the temperature of every single volunteer to ensure everyone’s safety. These guys always go above and beyond for the community and I am lucky to know them. The Plainville Police and the State Police did an amazing job with crowd control and prevented any traffic congestion.
Of course, a huge thank you to the Massachusetts Dairy Farmers who work 365 days a year to produce the milk that feeds and nourishes us every day. And to HP Hood Dairy in Agawam who fit us into their schedule and brought the milk out to Plainville first thing this morning.
Thanks to the folks at Penn National and Plainridge Park Casino who let us use their amazing facility. In addition, they provided all the troops with coffee and treats in the morning and snacks all day.
And of course my beautiful daughter Emma who still loves to go to these things with her dad. Although I think she thought it was cooler hanging out with he soldiers. She is such a beautiful soul and I’m very blessed.
One of the unsung heroes of this pandemic in our region has been Lake Pearl Wrentham who provided lunch for the Guard as well as all the volunteers. And while the owner will probably kill me for saying this as he prefers to do his charitable work anonymously - Lake Pearl has been making and donating thousands of meals to those in need in all the surrounding towns. To be this generous while they have been shut down is especially amazing since they had to bring in staff just to give the food away.
All the press that blasted this out all week in preparation and all of the crews that showed up today to film, interview, and help to continue to get the word out was thanks to the herculean efforts of my good friend Kelli O’Hara - media consultant to the stars.
To all the community organizations and food banks in the area that sent over their vans and pickup trucks to make sure that more of this milk can get in the hands of those who really need it. You are all such a great asset to our community - I am so thankful that you are out there doing this day in and day out for those in need.
I would also like to thank the Massachusetts Emergency Management Agency who took the lead on coordinating all of the agencies including Mass Dept of Transportation, the State Police, as well as the 3 units of the National Guard.
And thank you to everyone who came and took milk for their friends and neighbors and helped to spread that word. I know it sometimes sounds cliche but in times like these it truly takes a village and we all need to be there for each other.
And finally, I would be remiss if I didn’t thank Governor Baker - while we don’t agree on everything (obviously if you are a frequent visitor to this post)- a month ago when we started this project I called him at home on a Sunday evening and he immediately said, “yes, whatever you need, we will make it happen.” and the rest, as you say, is history.
Thank you for indulging me in recognizing those who helped today. As you can see, it truly is a team effort and every piece is equally important and if we didn’t all work together it would have never happened. Thank you all!
Onto more sobering news, 50 more residents passed away from the virus in the past 24 hours. I suppose I’m glad we aren’t seeing a spike but I wish the number would start going down again. I can’t wait for the day that I report 0!!! Every other metric continued to tick downward so we are seeing progress, I’m just getting a little impatient.
The state released new numbers stating that new applications for unemployment the past week were a little over 27,000, which is 10,000 fewer than the week before and while far less than the peak, it is still a significant number. So far we have seen 928,000 traditional unemployment claims and another 573,000 PUA in the Commonwealth. This means nearly 40% of the Massachusetts workforce has sought aid during this crisis since it began in March. Wow! Charlie - you are killing us - lets get this economy moving before this hole is too deep for us to climb our way out of.
After seven and a half hours of being on the phone for session, a majority of which was dead silence as things were being negotiated off line, we passed the house version of the early voting / vote by mail bill. I am actually pretty happy with it as they accepted quite a few of my suggestions and got rid of things that would have been a nightmare to protect the integrity of the election. The main compromise was to mail everyone in the state an application to apply for an early ballot. Somewhat a waste of money as it could have been done with a postcard, but compromises don’t usually give you everything you want. Then, if you want an early ballot, you apply to the town clerk who then forwards one to you. So basically, what you have to do for an absentee ballot already. Much better than mailing everyone a ballot because now people who do not want to vote by mail don’t get one and there is an additional layer of checks to ensure the security of the process. The other aspect was to expand early voting dates (including weekends) for both the state primary and the general elections.
My positive news for the day is giving huge kudos to the Town of Norfolk for hosting a wonderful event on Town Hill in support of racial equality. This was definitely the best event of this type I have ever attended, the crowd was huge and engaged, the speakers were spot on - most of who were between the age of 15 and 24, and, most importantly, I am confident that this event with be that spark that will drive many to be better, to be more aware, to look at the world through a different lens, to pause, to think, to begin to understand.
I will end with a quote that one of the speakers shared which really spoke to me and allowed my mind to shift to look at racism from a different vantage point. “Racism in America is like dust in the air. It seems invisible -- even if you're choking on it -- until you let the sun in. Then you see it's everywhere," -Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
Have a good night and thank you for letting me be a part of your life.