Harold Gainer and Bob Race were a couple of retired cops with a soft spot for kids.
And, boy, did that soft spot make a difference in the lives of Schreiber kids.
Harold and Bob were two of the most dedicated volunteers for Schreiber’s Softball Weekend. The event returns June 4-6 for its 39th year, and it will be first since the two old friends passed away in September of 2020.
In their honor, the tournament portion of Softball Weekend has been renamed the Gainer-Race Memorial Tournament.
Denise Race, Bob’s widow, said he would be humbled.
“He’d say, ‘I don’t deserve this,” Denise said. “But I think he does. He did such a wonderful job for so many years. He and Harold both.”
Their work on Softball Weekend goes back a long way, to 1982. Harold started first. He was a young officer with the East Hempfield Police Department and the Financial Secretary with the Red Rose Lodge #16, Fraternal Order of Police.
“The lodge wanted to get involved in the community, and we chose Easter Seals (as Schreiber was formerly known) because it was the adopted charity of the (national) FOP,” Harold recalled in a 2015 interview. “We got together and kicked around ideas such as the festivals and dunk tanks and came up with the softball marathon idea. That first year we hoped to raise $5,000, but we ended up raising $17,500 — and we didn’t know what we were doing!”
Bob came on board a few years later. Both of them stayed all in until 2019, when health issues started taking their toll.
Thanks to their leadership and the continued involvement of the FOP, the event has raised around $2 million for Schreiber. It is the longest-running fundraising event that Schreiber does.
“Chiefy loved children,” Denise Race said, calling her late husband by her nickname for him. He was a retired chief from Pequea Township Police Department. “He would do anything for any child.”
That’s something the two men had in common.
“He loved reaching out to kids,” said Harold’s widow, Bobbie Gainer. “I think if I had to list his top three qualities, I’d say: caring, compassion and commitment. Harold had all three of those qualities wrapped up in a special place in his heart for Schreiber.”
Both men would look forward to softball, always the first weekend of June. They would be all in for the whole weekend, sleeping in cars and staying at the Stauffer Park and later Lancaster County Park or Froelich Park for 48 hours straight.
“He loved being part of it,” Bobbie said. “He loved the teams, being with the people. He loved seeing the kids there, too. He was proud of the FOP and the job they were doing.”
Bobbie and Denise and their families will be present at Froelich Park this year to help mark the start of another Softball Weekend and to remember the two men who played such an important part of it for so long.
“I can just imagine seeing Harold and Chiefy up in heaven having one heck of a good time,” Denise said.
Melissa’s connection to Schreiber goes back to the beginning of the Lititz Chocolate Walk.
Chocolate Walk started in 2001 as a project of the Kiwanis Club of the Lititz Area. Melissa was a member then (and still is today). One of the Lititz club’s founders was Ralph Sherrif, who also happened to be a Schreiber board member.
“When we did the first one, we were talking about where the money we raised was going to go,” Melissa said. “It was because of Ralph that we decided Schreiber would be one of the places we supported.”
Her connection to Schreiber grew through her work as a math teacher at Manheim Township High School. She was also a Key Club advisor, making students aware of community service opportunities.
“I would always mention Schreiber,” she said. “I’d tell them: ‘They are helping kids that really need help.'”
She retired from teaching in 2009, and initially she spent many days caring for her ailing father. After he passed in 2013, she had more time for volunteering. Her thoughts turned to Schreiber.
“I came in to drop something off for Chocolate Walk, and I took a little tour,” said. “I saw one of those classrooms… I knew I wanted to be more involved.”
That same year, she signed up to sell tickets for the Rubber Duckie Race. Dozens of people sell tickets for us every year. These Duck Patrol sales people are a critical part of our selling. Melissa takes it to another level.
She will sell Duckies to friends and neighbors. She will sell them at Kiwanis meetings and some of the other volunteer groups she’s involved with. She takes them to church. Last year, her minister was reluctant to buy one. Melissa wouldn’t take no for an answer. He ended up with the Noah Duck — as in Noah’s Ark — that was part of our Animal Kingdom theme.
She has the no-nonsense air of a teacher, but she’s all heart when it comes to Schreiber. She signs out hundreds of ducks each year to sell, and she rarely brings any back unsold.
“I love talking to people about what you do here,” she says. “Who can say no to spending $5 to help kids? And the ducks are just a fun way to do it.”
Want to join the fun?
Selling Duckies for Schreiber is fun — and easy. Just download one of the Sales Patrol applications, fill it out and bring it in, and you can sign out some Duckies to sell. Take 10 or take 100; any number helps and is appreciated. And you will be making a difference for all the children of Schreiber.
Around Schreiber, we have a shorthand for talking about Tina Edgell and Patty Watson.
Tina and Patty. Or sometimes Patty and Tina. It may as well be PattyTina.
For most of the past 20 years, Tina and Patty have been reliable Schreiber volunteers. It’s not a stretch to say they are among the most dedicated of all of our amazing volunteers, and that’s saying something.
We wanted to take the time this week, during National Volunteer Week, to tell the Schreiber community about their support of Schreiber.
So it turns out their involvement started with the old Schreiber Buck-A-Cup campaign. (By the way, we’re bringing that back this year, right now, and you can learn more about how to participate here.
Tina was the first sister to connect with Schreiber. She and her family owned then (and still do now) the Histsoric Revere Tavern restaurant.
“I was president of the Lancas County chapter of the Pennsylvannia Restaurant Association,” Tina said. “We used to be really involved in the Buck-A-Cup campaign. I chaired that event for a few years. I would help get all the Lancaster restaurants involved and put the materials together and everything. And we did BINGO (fundraisers) here for many years.
“There was a man named Wilmer Lapp. He was the one with the restaurant association who told me how important Schreiber was and what we had to do. He was the one who instillied my passion for Schreiber.”
After leading Buck-A-Cup in the 1980s, she started volunteering at the Gala and then at Duckie. In 1998, after Patty and her husband moved back to Lancaster, Tina recruited her sister into the Schreiber family.
“At that time, Tina was volunteering for the Duckie Race,” Patty said. “She said, ‘You want to come with us?'” And that’s where it all began for me.”
At Gala, they have registered guests together for at least the past 10 years. At Duckie, you can find them running the information tent on the day of the race, overseeing ticket and merchandise sales, working with Schreiber staff and just making sure things run smoothly.
“The Duckie Race is my all-time favorite,” Tina said. “Because we see so many of the (Schreiber) kids coming in that day. It truly is a kid event.”
That’s what keeps Patty coming back, too.
“The kids,” she said. “They’re so awesome. You see the smile on their faces. And you see kids come back year after year. Like Carly Long. To see her grow up through the years, and to see how much she benefitted from Schreiber’s services, is just amazing.”
The Schreiber spirit soon seeped into the next generation. Children in both of their families became volunteers. And Patty’s daughter Erica switched her college major from accounting to speech therapy because of Erica’s time volunteering and working as a counselor at Camp Schreiber.
Schreiber can get in your blood. It’s not something either one of the sisters want to give up anytime soon.
It’s so rewarding,” Patty said. “I’m going to keep doing it until I’m in a walker and can’t make it anymore.”
“You’re stuck with us,” Tina said.
Around Schreiber, we wouldn’t want it any other way.
Reason No. 1: The kids
Yes, Schreiberpalooza is a big party. The bands are great, there’s lots of adult beverages and tasty food. But it’s important to remember the reason we do the event to begin with: the Schreiber kids.
We serve more than 3,000 children a year at Schreiber, through our therapy programs, our preschool and daycare and our recreation programs. We help kids take their first steps, say their first words or hold their parents’ hands for the first time.
We see kids who need a little bit of help with speech or handwriting. And we see kids who need a lot of help with learning to walk or dressing themselves.
And we can’t do any of it without community support, through events like Schreiberpalooza. Because pediatric therapy reimburses so poorly, we have to raise more than $1 million a year to cover all of our costs. Palooza is an important part of our fundraising, and we want to see a big crowd at Clair Brothers in Manheim Saturday night.
Every ticket we sell counts. Every dollar counts. Please pick up your Palooza tickets today.
To order tickets online, go here.
For details on the event, go here.
See you Saturday!
Reason No. 2: The bands
We’re fortunate to have the support of some amazing local musicians. There are some familiar names in this year’s lineup.
The Mama Tried Band: One of Lancaster County’s most popular dance bands, thanks to a big sound supporting Dorden Bivings’ dynamic voice.
Good2Go: Powerhouse danceable rock, led by former Schreiber board members Jim Darby and Scott Bacon.
3rd Power Family Soul: With Diane Yates belting out the lead vocals and a tight R&B outfit behind her, they impressed in their Palooza debut last year.
MOE Blues: Down and dirty Chicago-style blues built around Albie von Schaaf’s gritty guitar and Kevin Gannon’s howling harmonica.
Don’t forget: Pick up your printed Palooza tickets here at the Center, or order tickets online. Advance tickets are $20. And if you’re into the super high-end audio gear that Clair Brothers is known for, check out the VIP Backstage Package.
Don’t forget, part 2: We will have 600 chairs, so you can leave the lawn chair at home this year.
Reason No. 3: Thank the generous businesses that supported us
Sponsors form the foundation for much of the success we have with our fundraising events, and Schreiberpalooza is no exception.
We are grateful for the support of Palooza’s Rock and Roll Sponsor, Pinnacle Health’s Lebanon Valley Advanced Care Center. We also want to recognize our Roadie Sponsors: M&T Bank, Versatek and McNees Wallace & Nurick; and our Groupie Sponsors: Pennsylvania Leadership Charter School, EHD Advisory and Brereton Manor.
And we wouldn’t be able to do Palooza without several generous partners who donated or deeply discounted their services, including Clair Brothers, Lancaster Dispensing Co., Traveling Tap, Troeg’s Brewing Co., Hess Tent Rental, Mojo Barriers and Federal Taphouse.
We also want to thank several generous individual supporters who donated time, treasure or both to the cause: Dave and Amanda Campbell, Todd Frick and Vance Antonacci.
Reason No. 4: Enjoy great food from DipCo
Every year, the food at Palooza is one of the best things about the Schreiberpalooza. Lancaster Dispensing Co. caters the event, and they donate 100 percent of the food sales from the night to Schreiber. Sure, come for the music and helping the kids, but while you’re there enjoy some of the tasty treats that Judy Ross and her crew serve up. This year’s menu will include beef brisket, chili and macaroni and cheese. Judy is also a dedicated member of the Schreiberpalooza planning group. She plays a big role in making sure the logistics work well, and she works with her vendors to make sure we have donated wine for the night. Thanks, Judy and DipCo!
Reason No. 5: Hear awesome music in Clair’s amazing space
Clair Brothers is part of a music and entertainment enterprise that is known around the world for providing the best quality live music production. As it did last year, the company will provide its demonstration space in Manheim and some of the finest audio professionals in the world to make the bands at Schreiberpalooza sound extra good.
If you like great live music, this is the place to hear it and see it.
Visit our Palooza page here to learn more.
Age: born 3/21/97 (18, turning 19 in March)
Diagnosis: Autism spectrum disorder
Parents: Reenie and Peter Panzini, Manheim Township
Siblings: Edward, 20; Carina, 10
Favorite activities: Listening to music, adult coloring books, playing games on the Wii, collecting jewelry
What she watches and listens to: The Food Network, “Spider Man” movie, Destiny’s Child
Favorite food: “Mac and cheese – gluten-free, please!”
When she grows up she want to: “Be a Hollywood singer.”
Three words to describe her: Beautiful, sweet and funny
What else to know about Sophia: She attends Schreiber’s Club 625 events, making friends and being a teenager.
Like a lot of kids with autism, Sophia Panzini is reluctant to look people in the eye when she talks to them. But when she’s posing for a picture, she loves the camera — and the camera loves her.
Here’s her story, in the words of her mom Reenie.
“Sophia was diagnosed with autism when she was 8, and we had just moved to Lancaster from New York City. Her pediatrician told us about Schreiber, and we practically ran there! We didn’t know anything about therapy or autism, and we were literally walked slowly through everything step by step. Sophia learned to have conversations, hold writing instruments, walk up and down stairs without crying, and so much more. We (as a family) learned that we’re stronger than we thought, and that you can get through anything with enough love and a lot of humor.”
Tiberius “Ty” McCabe
Age: He turned 6 in December
Diagnoses: Pierre Robin Syndrome, Pterygium Syndrome, hearing impaired, speech and language impaired
Grade and school: Schreiber S.T.A.R.S. Preschool
Parents: Kevin and Margaret McCabe, Lititz
Siblings: Delaney, 12
Favorite activities: Playing with Delaney; playing with trains, tractors and monster truck toys; playing ABC Mouse and tabletop games with the nurses; video games
Favorite food: Pudding
What he watches and listens to: On TV, he likes “Magic School Bus,” Mr. Rogers, and SpongeBob; for movies, he likes the “Air Bud” series; favorite song is “The Wheels on the Bus”
When he grows up he wants to: Be a pilot or drive monster trucks
Three words to describe him: Outgoing, determined and happy
For the Ambassador photo shoot, Ty McCabe came prepared. He rocked the white hat and black bow tie. When it was his turn, he plopped down in the comfy chair and faced the camera, his whole demeanor saying: “I’m ready. Let’s do this.”
That’s Ty: spreading smiles and good vibes whenever he comes to Schreiber. Which, as it turns out, is a lot. He’s here for preschool, and he receives physical, speech and occupational therapy.
He was born with a couple of different conditions: Pierre Robin Syndrome, which left him with a smaller-than-normal lower jaw, issues with his tongue and feeding problems; Pterygium Syndrome, which carries several symptoms but primarily affects his joints and bones; and he has hearing, speech and language impairments.
During therapy and at home, he works on stair climbing, bike riding and dressing himself. He practices fine motor skills like writing, using scissors and feeding himself. He’s trying to improve his speech and his signing skills. Since he started at Schreiber, he has learned to walk without a walker, is able to form some words and is eating Stage II foods, the thicker, chunkier foods that replace purees.
“(He is preparing) for mainstream education at the highest functional level of independence,” his mom Margaret says. “We have seen academic improvement despite many hospitalizations, surgeries and medical appointments.”
Age: He turns 12 in August
Diagnosis: Deaf and childhood speech apraxia
Grade and school: Fifth grade, John Beck Elementary School
Parents: Wendy Williams and Karl Lodwick of South Lebanon Township, Lebanon County
Siblings: Graham has an older brother Reese, 14
Favorite activities: Playing with pets, playing video games, bowling and riding his bike
Favorite food: Pizza
What he watches and listens to: “Drake and Josh,” “Minions,” the song “The Best Day of My Life” by American Authors
When he grows up, he wants to: Be a car designer
Three words to describe him: Happy, silly and loving
Graham has been coming to Schreiber for speech therapy since he was 6. Dorlas Riley, Schreiber’s lead speech therapist, diagnosed Graham with speech apraxia. The condition is defined this way by the American Speech-Language-Hearing Association: Graham knows what he wants to say, but his brain has difficulty coordinating the muscle movements necessary to say those words. He’s also deaf and has a cochlear implant.
So in his twice-a-week therapy at Schreiber, he practices his speech sounds and works on listening to get the best use of his cochlear processor. He’s also working on talking in complete sentences. The work is paying off. When he started with Dorlas, he communicated entirely by signing.
“(Now), he can carrry on a conversation with someone who does not use sign langugage,” says his mom Wendy.
It takes a lot of effort to make that kind of progress. But his therapy with Dorlas doesn’t seem like work.
“He loves it,” Wendy says. “Even after six years, he still looks forward to coming.”
Age: She turns 5 on March 28
Diagnosis: Cerebral palsy
Parents: Kelly and Adam Clay of Manheim Township
Favorite activities: Playing with her toys, going to the beach, watching movies on her iPad, riding her bike around the neighborhood and seeing plays at local theaters.
Favorite foods: Pizza and ice cream
What she watches and listens to: Disney movies, “Doc McStuffins,” “Sofia the First,” princess movies
Three words to describe her: Happy, outgoing and determined
What else to know about Sophia: She has a black lab named Dallas.
Sophia Clay and her mother, Kelly, attended a Schreiber board meeting late in 2015, and Sophia charmed the room with her smile and her spirit. Sophia’s cerebral palsy means she uses a wheel chair for a lot of her day. Her therapy at Schreiber is intended to help her be out of the chair more. “She’s working to become stronger in all areas of her life,” Kelly says. “She practices with a gait trainer so she can stand on her own. She works on sitting up without assistance. She practices her fine motor skill, her articulation and eating on her own.”
It’s the articulation — how clearly she speaks — where Sophia has shown the biggest progress, her mom says.
“Sophia’s language has come a long way,” Kelly says. “When she started, she could only say a few things. Now, she can say 10-word sentences.”
And that’s just the beginning. With her determination, she will be ready to make speeches in her class when she starts school.
Jim went into the Navy after high school. Not many other options, he says now. He left the Navy in 1990 and started working in business. He joined MXL Industries, a Lancaster County-based plastics manufacturer, as president in 2004, and four years later he was part of the management-led buyout of the company from its former parent company, National Patent Development Corp.
In 2010, he pulled back on the day-to-day work at MXL to become president of GSE Systems, a Maryland-based training and engineering solutions company. He left GSE this summer and will be going back to his role at MXL in February.
All of that is a long way of saying: He’s a turnaround guy, a project manager who can look at a process and find a way to make it better.
His first brush with Schreiber came through a business acquaintance. Steve Staman, a bank vice president at what was then Union National Community Bank, invited Jim to the 2007 Schreiber Gala at Riverdale Manor. Union National was a sponsor.
“I didn’t know anything about Schreiber,” Jim says. “But when they introduced the Ambassador children, I was openly weeping. I have four kids, and they’ve never needed anything like what Schreiber offers. But I was so touched by what you all do, it was easy say, ‘How can I help?'”
He and MXL quickly became strong supporters of Schreiber. The next year, he donated one game from his Eagles season tickets to the Gala auction. Then he joined the board, chairing the Fund Development Committee. Then he took over what had been a previous Schreiber fundraiser, the Wilmer S. Lapp Memorial Golf Tournament.
Jim moved it to Bent Creek Country Club and rebranded it as the Schreiber Golf Classic in 2011. He was a ubitquitous presence that day, buzzing around the course in a cart to make sure all the golfers had a good time, or cajoling bidders during the evening dinner auction. This year’s fifth annual Classic attracted a record number of golfers (122) and raised more than $40,000 for Schreiber. He sees the potential for more. And that’s when the tough Philly guy gets emotional again.
“I do this for the kids, I do this for the families, I do this for the therapists,” he says. “Whatever you guys need, if I can make it happen, I will.”
Schreiberpalooza is the music festival we’ve been doing in September for several years. Once we moved the Rubber Duckie Race date to September, it only made sense to put them together. For the first time, we will offer DuckiePalooza Weekend, Sept. 12-13.
So, to summarize:
Rubber Duckie Race + Schreiberpalooza = a great late-summer weekend of fun for all ages.
Schreiber Night at the Barnstormers
This Friday, July 3, will be Schreiber Night at Clipper Magazine Stadium. Join us for the big party we’re throwing to mark the start of Duckie ticket sales. Before the game starts, Schreiber kiddoes and their parents can join players on the field for what should be a moving version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Contact Dan Fink in the Fund Development Office if you’re interested. After the game, we’ll have a spectacular helicopter drop of 750 rubber ducks onto the stadium outfield, where three kiddie pools will serve as targets. Buy a ticket in the duck drop, and if you’re duck lands closest to the mark in the center of one of the pools, you could win one of the three awesome prizes we have lined up: a Weber Spirit grill (retails for $500), a 32-inch Samsung flatscreen TV (retails for $250) or a family fun amusement park package. And remember: Use the ‘duck15’ promo code when you buy your tickets, and $4 from each ticket sold comes to Schreiber.
New ducks, part 1: Debut of the specialty ducks
For the first time, we will sell tickets for 5,000 blue specialty ducks — at $20 per ticket — you will have a chance to win one of 10 premium prizes. So while our traditional race will have the usual array of fun prizes, this specialty duck race offers a chance at a Weber Genesis 330 copper grill (retails $850), Sharp a 43-inch flatscreen (retails for $400) and other great items. So while you’re picking out your Quack Packs and your Daffy Dozens, pick up a specialty duck or two, and you could win the TV or the grill.
New ducks, part 2: Out with the old racing ducks, in with the new
After years of bouncing down the Conestoga River, our trusty old racing ducks were showing their age. Thanks to a generous donation from LCBC, we were able to buy 25,000 new ducks — 20,000 of our traditional racing ducks and 5,000 specialty ducks.
Play Where’s the Duckie
Every Monday, we post a photo of one of our Rubber Duckies at a Lancaster County landmark on our Facebook page. So far, he’s been spotted at Park City, Long’s Park, Clipper Stadium and a bunch of other well-known Lancaster County locations. Keep visiting our Facebook page for the latest Duckie photo, make your guess and tag three friends to get them to guess. Each weekly winner receives four tickets to Schreiberpalooza Sept. 12 and will be entered into a drawing for a $50 restaurant gift card. And please consider making a $9.13 Where’s the Duckie donation to Schreiber, and encourage your friends to do the same. Every dollar we raise through the Rubber Duckie Race and all of our special events helps us provide services to nearly 4,000 children, regardless of need or ability to pay.