Random Thoughts

‘Vests for the Best,’ some food for thought and let’s hug it out

I was honored to emcee the recent “Vests for the Best” fundraising/movie event at the Orpheum Theater last week.

The group, Advocates for Marshall County Rescue Personnel (AMCRP), are working hard to raise at least $100,000 for ballistic protective equipment to outfit our First Responders throughout Marshall County.

The committee, headed by Tom McCoy, has done an incredible job of raising money and awareness thus far — they understand the importance of trying to find ways to keep police officers, sheriff’s deputies, firefighters and EMTs safe during emergencies and times of crisis.

As part of the fundraiser that was held March 29-30, audience members watched “Officer Involved” — a documentary about officer-involved shootings from the perspective of law enforcement. I don’t think there was a dry eye left in the room. It was an emotional, transformative film that I think every adult and mature young person should see.

Organizers raised a few thousand dollars on those two nights and I’m hopeful that community members saw a different view of the emotion, strain and toll this kind of work can have on those whose jobs are to protect us on a day-to-day basis.

Not everyone could attend, but I believe this film should be mandatory viewing. Those interested in seeing the film may contact me and I can make arrangements to share our DVD copy.

Meanwhile, the AMCRP is continuing their fundraising efforts by sponsoring a trivia night at 6 p.m. Saturday, May 12 at the American Legion Post 46 in Marshalltown.

Participation is $20 per person and those who wish to get in on the fun should register by May 9 via the website: https://form.jotform.com/80837249784168

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Another upcoming fundraiser to consider is the Second annual “18 Men Who Cook” event, set for Saturday, April 21 at the Orpheum’s Black Box Theater.

Last year, well over 200 people packed the Black Box to sample homemade recipes from 18 men whose talents in the kitchen are undeniable.

The food was outstanding in 2017 and this year’s event promises more gastronomical delights.

But, of course, these events are not about the culinary skills of the 18 men who volunteered their time and talents. Instead, it’s a way for the community to rally in support of the Orpheum — a true fine arts gem here in Marshalltown.

The money raised last year and again this year will help the Orpheum cover equipment costs and live music expenses for upcoming performances.

You see, while it was and will be a great deal of fun for foodies to partake of delicious recipes, what’s even more impressive are that the participants and those who attended and will attend the fundraisers have a real hunger for quality entertainment. And to Orpheum Director Bob Untiedt’s credit, as well as the Iowa Valley Community College District, the Friends of the Orpheum board and others, this downtown facility is an entertainment must-see.

Food, like the dishes that will be served on April 21, feed our bodies and tantalize the taste buds.

But the fine arts, community events and those offerings provided by the Orpheum, feed our minds and our souls. The arts are the touchstone to our collective humanity. Not to have those experiences, like those presented at the Orpheum and other venues in Marshalltown, would be like serving a bland piece of toast for dinner.

Like last year, let’s hope the community can again come together to provide a little sustenance for this jewel in downtown Marshalltown and support fine arts in the community.

For more information about the event, call (641) 844-5920 or go to www.orpheumcenter.com

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Finally, did you know that it was National Hug A Newsperson Day this past Wednesday?

Indeed, as I write this column, a friend reminded me that she was sorry she missed this important and significant holiday, promising a big hug the next time we saw each other.

I will admit I had forgotten there was such a day until someone on Facebook reminded me that yes, there really is a day dedicated to hugging your favorite journalist. My friend then asked if there was a Hallmark greeting card for this momentous occasion and we both chuckled.

I’m not sure of the origins of National Hug A Newsperson Day, but it’s a nice way to honor my fellow journalists. Despite the latest onslaught of criticism from those who take exception to what we do, the vast majority of journalists work hard at providing credible information and news to the public. It’s not “fake news.”

Interestingly enough, I learned that journalists are not alone in being celebrated on April 4 — it was also National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day.

Now, I love chicken, ham and cheese, but I’m not sure that journalism and this particular entree go together. However, National Beer Day as well as National Coffee Cake Day were both recognized yesterday, so I would recommend that National Hug A Newsperson Day be formally moved to April 7. Just something to think about in 2019 …


Contact Jeff Hutton at 641-753-6611 or jhutton@timesrepublican.com