You might think that Stan's Idle Hour on a Sunday afternoon was not the best place to go looking for angels. Actually, this past Sunday, they were there aplenty, and for five dollars, you could take one home with you.
The Wishing Well Foundation, which grants wishes for children with life-threatening diseases, was back at Stan's in downtown Goodland, for another edition of "Angels Over Stan's." The independent, Southwest Florida-based charity has put smiles on the faces of many kids who did not have much to smile about.
Olivia, age 15, dreamed of attending a Backstreet Boys concert with a group of friends. With the help of First National Bank, she enjoyed a fabulous party and got to watch the concert from their skybox. Heather, age 6, loved trips to Disneyworld, and was given annual passes for her and her family. Tykeela, age 16, who dreamed of being a model, got the chance to have a top professional photographer shoot portfolio photos for her, and attend modeling classes.
To be able to provide wishes like these, the group needs funds, and has been working with Stan's for over a decade.
"The Wishing Well was a pet cause of Stan's," said his son Steve Gober, Stan's Idle Hour's manager. "We're glad to help out."
"Anything you can do to give back to the kids is great," said assistant manager Trish Oehler, who works under Steve. "Every Sunday, we do a set of Stan's songs, including 'Yankee Dollar,' and we always raise money for a cause. Today, it's the Wishing Well."
Even band Southern Cross got into the act, with vocalist and guitarist Robbin Otto promoting the Wishing Well's angels onstage, and purchasing a pair of them herself, which she hung from the mic stand as the group performed. The angels are actually tree ornaments, and more typically hung from a Christmas tree.
In addition to angels, Wishing Well volunteers also sold raffle tickets for the 50/50 drawing, and quilts handmade by a group of women in Naples. Luisa Cortes, who works at Stan's, bought one of the quilts.
"I love the M&Ms pattern in the fabric. It just caught my eye." And for just $30, she said, the quilt is a tremendous bargain, even before you take into account that the money goes to help children. "It's great – I get this quilt, and I help to bring dreams to little kids," said Cortes.
Dale and Donna Rod circulated around the crowd listening to the music, selling Wishing Well raffle tickets, angels and quilts. They are longtime Wishing Well volunteers. In fact, the twosome got married to raise funds for the organization, not once, but three times.
After staging "Bubba and Belle's Hillbilly Wedding" and another, Italian-themed fake nuptials, Donna and Dale got hitched for real, and turned the reception into a fundraiser, just to be consistent.
Laurie Turns bought the last $20 worth of raffle tickets, putting the take for the day at over $500, even on what Donna Rod described as "a slow day at Stan's." Laurie arrived at Stan's with Craig Roberts on his yellow and orange flamed Harley-Davidson CVO Springer Softail, decked out with Santas, the Grinch, and a complete Christmas tree with presents underneath, all on a motorcycle.
"It was way better last night in the parade," said Turns. "We had a bunch of teddy bears all over the bike, but we gave them to the kids."
The Wishing Well Foundation, a local charitable organization, has helped sick children since 1994. To learn more, or make a tax-deductible contribution to their efforts, go to www.wishingwellfoundation.com. The group will be back with more "Angels Over Stan's" on January 20, and again on Feb. 10.