(Just some of the empties bundled into bags on the back deck at the Brown family home. Photos: Greg Brown)
Who would have thought that a bottle drive would go viral! It has! The Stittsville community have been outstandingly generous in responding to and donating their empties for the ‘Rock Out 4 Jack’ bottle drive for Jack Brown, the Stittsville boy with CHARGE Syndrome. Since we first brought you the story in April, the family has received hundreds and hundreds of empties and are extremely grateful.
Jack’s father Greg, never in his wildest dreams, thought that he would be slinging, sorting, stacking and storing empties from early morning to late at night. He quickly ran out of room at his place – the back deck, the garage – so his neighbour has kindly offered up the use of their garage. That space is full now as well!
People from around the area have also been donating to the cause – Greg picked up a donated load from the people of the Crystal Beach area. Greg told us, “And the requests are still coming in! Thank goodness people have been very kind with dropping off their donations. There have been many wonderful people I’ve met, who have shared kind words for my family.”
One particular donation was extraordinarily special for Jack and his family. After reading our story on Jack and the bottle drive, Jerry Walsh, a retired Lt-Col. and former Commanding Officer of the First Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry while posted in Afghanistan, was deeply moved. He wrote a letter to Jack and recognized him for his “courage and fighting spirit.” But more than that, he presented Jack with his ‘Commanding Officer Coin’. These coins are rare – having been given to only 25 soldiers in 10 months of combat operations. Jack’s coin is #26 and has been officially registered in his name. On the back of the coin the words – MISSION FIRST-NEVER QUIT-and ALWAYS BE THERE – are inscribed, for which Jerry noted in his letter, “You and your family are an example of all of these things”. Jack truly is an incredible soldier and so fortunate to have the love of his family, friends and a caring community encircling his life.
(Coin #26 that was given to Jack in recognition of his courage and fighting spirit by Jerry Walsh, a retired Lt-Col. and former Commanding Officer of the First Battalion of the Princess Patricia’s Light Infantry while posted in Afghanistan.)
The Brown family says the community support has been amazing and overwhelming. For the needs that Jack requires, the bottle drive campaign is going to continue until Saturday, September 26th. On this date, an annual fundraiser is held for Jack — “Rock Out For Jack Party & Silent Auction/Guitar Raffle Finale” so the family thinks it fitting to continue the drive until then.
In the interim, what to do with all of those empties? Greg has been in touch with The Beer Store in Stittsville and spoke with Greg Smyth, the Manager. Greg tells us that he has been a big help and shared the contact information for the store’s media relations people in the hope that they will send a dedicated truck to collect the empties. Greg is working on a plan that would give the people of Stittsville, the Beer Store and more importantly, Jack’s story, exposure.
Greg is also looking for someone or a business who would donate some space for the empties. It would have to be accessed easily. Once this is achieved – some volunteers will be sought out to help relocate the empties as they come in.
Greg wants to know — Is there a world record for the most amount of returns redeemed at one time???
If you wish to donate your empties, have some space for storage or want to help out with moving the empties, send Greg an email at firstname.lastname@example.org or send a message via Jack’s Facebook page — https://www.facebook.com/rockoutforjack/.