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.
John Hatch was a familiar face here at Schreiber in the past few years. H was a neighbor, whose Homestead Village villa was close enough to our campus that he could hear of the squeals of the kids playing on the playground.
When Schreiber and Homestead talked about starting a new intergenerational program to bring residents into the center to volunteer, John took the lead on Homestead’s end.
When the women who organize the annual Homestead Village Mother’s Day Jewelry Sale wanted a man to join their effort, John raised his hand.
When a group from Homestead attended our annual gala two years ago, John reserved the table.
In every case, he was a gracious, gentlemanly presence.
We hadn’t seen him much recently, though. We heard a little more than a year ago that he had received a difficult medical diagnosis.
Last week, we learned he had passed. His loving wife Louise stopped in to tell us and to share a few memories as she looked through some of our archives to check details about his connection to Schreiber.
As Louise already knew, it was a long, faithful connection.
John came to Lancaster in 1976. He moved here as the director of purchasing for Howmet Aluminum, later Alcoa and now Arconic Mill Products, according to his obituary.
By 1979, he had joined the board of directors for what was then the Lancaster County chapter of Easter Seals. By the early ’80s, he was leading the fundraising for the organization and was a key player in launching Buck-A-Cup and the Rubber Duckie Race as major community fundraisers. In 1985, he was named president of the board of directors.
After his time on the board ended, and after Schreiber became an independent nonprofit, John continued to stay involved with the center for another 30 years.
It would be difficult to find a more dedicated servant for Schreiber. We will miss him.
Rest well, John.
Another Arconic connection. Back in September, four Penn State Harrisburg engineering students approached us looking for a senior capstone project. Two of the students had been interns at Arconic in the summer of 2018 when they joined a group of Arconic employees who visited Schreiber on a volunteer day.
After talking with Schreiber Occupational Therapist Bernie Hershey, the students decided to modify a therapy bike and fit it with variable resistance.
The students brought their first version of the bike to Schreiber in February. After taking time to refine their concept and make adjustments, they brought in the completed bike last week. Owen Hull, a Schreiber kiddo who took the first bike out for a spin, was here again to greet the students and test out the final product.
Thanks again to Nicole Linke, Cody Mackanick, Michael Ruch and Andrew Saienni for their creative work on behalf of Schreiber. Nicole and Michael graduated and had jobs waiting for them.
We’d like to think that John Hatch would be pleased.
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.
We have a lot of therapy bikes at Schreiber. But there was a certain kind of bike we were missing: a hand bike, no pedaling, for school-age kids. Enter a group of senior mechanical engineering students from Penn State Harrisburg.
Bernie Hershey, a Schreiber occupational therapist, was the one who suggested the project to the group in September.
The students, all seniors — Nicole Linke, 21; Cody Mackanick, 23; Michael Ruch, 23; and Andrew Saienni, 23 — came to visit Schreiber after Nicole and Michael had interned over the summer with Arconic, a Lancaster County manufacturer. Arconic has supported Schreiber for several years by donating and sending volunteers. Nicole and Michael joined a group of Arconic employees for a service day at Schreiber that included a tour by Susan Fisher, Schreiber’s volunteer coordinator.
“We have one hand bike, and it’s too small for some of the kids that need it,” Bernie said. “Susan brought them to me, and they said they were looking for a capstone project for their senior year.”
The tour sparked their engineer brains immediately.
“When I saw this old therapy bike they had, I was intrigued,” Nicole said. “I thought that looked like something we could work on.”
The idea they developed with Bernie was to build a bike for kids ages 6-12 that would require the kids to pedal using only their hands. (Watch Zoey Zweizig do a demonstration ride in the video below.)
“We’re always looking for ways to have upper body resistance,” Bernie said. “One of the best ways to build upper body strength is to have them propel themselves through space.”
That movement triggers the release of endorphins in the brain that are pleasing and calming at the same time. Bernie saw that immediately when Owen Hull climbed on the bike. Owen is 5, and he receives occupational, physical and speech-language therapy at Schreiber. He’s on the autism spectrum, said his mom Monica Hull.
“If you noticed, the more he rode the more he talked to the college students,” Bernie said. “He engaged with those kids, which he normally doesn’t do. He was mechanically inspecting the bike and asking questions about it. Oh, I got such a charge out of it.”
The students have enjoyed the work, too. They started in September and the bike they brought this week was a first prototype. They will take it back and make adjustments based on the feedback from Bernie, and from the kids. They asked the kids what colors the bike should be, for example. The project should be finished in April and will be exhibited during Penn State Harrisburg’s annual show of capstone engineering projects in May.
None of the students knew anything about Schreiber a year ago. All are from outside of Lancaster County. But they connected right away with Schreiber’s mission and wanted to do something to help.
“I just liked spending a year working on something that will help someone instead of making something for a company that might not even use it,” Nicole said.
“Knowing that it would be used every day is really important,” Cody Mackanick added.
The students raised the money for the bike themselves, about $1,500 in all, through a GoFundMe page. They spent a portion of that for the materials to build the bike.
And the rest? That money they will donate that to Schreiber.
In July, when we kicked off another season of selling tickets for this year’s 30th Annual Rubber Duckie Race & Festival, we did so with some anxiety.
The event, our largest community fundraiser, had suffered a significant blow as the result of the loss of one of the key supporters of the race over the years.
Fundraising is critical to our operation. The loss of support could potentially have hurt our ability to provide services.
So we asked for your help. And as you always have done for Schreiber, throughout the 82 years we’ve been in Lancaster County, you came through. Thanks to you, we were able to reach our budget goal for Duckie: We netted more than $115,000.
We are grateful for the many volunteers who came into our office and said, “I’ll sell some Duckies for you.”
We are grateful for the many sponsors who stepped up with their support. And we would particularly like to thank Donegal Insurance Group for being our presenting sponsor.
Most of all, we are grateful for you, the thousands of people who bought tickets. You stopped by our table at Root’s or on Lancaster’s square outside of Central Market. You picked up some tickets from the persistent friend or relative who was selling. Or you came into the Center to buy, sometimes with a story about the child you know that we helped or the time you bought your first Duckie in 1998.
Some of you even came out to Duckie Day on Sept. 9, when it rained all day and our Festival amounted to a couple of picnic tables and some games under one of the pavilions.
Because of that, we asked — again — for help, this time to make up for the lost revenue caused by the weather. We normally raise $10,000 the day of the race through the sale of tickets, T-shirts and games. You have donated that much and more through after-the-event gifts.
Much of it came from Orrstown Bank, which had already provided a sponsorship, sold tickets at their branches and showed up on the rainy Duckie Day to do whatever we asked. The bank delivered this week an additional $15,000 donation.
We are grateful for all of it, but we’re already moving on to the next thing. The Extraordinary Give is coming up Nov. 16, and we will have some big news — some really big news — to tell you about as we get closer to that.
Until then, thank you, Lancaster County. With your support of Schreiber, you continue to improve the lives of all the children who need our services, every day.
Let’s start with our new camps.
First, we’re offering two handwriting camps. Ready to Write is aimed at younger kids, ages 41/2 to 6 (entering preschool or kindergarten). This camp develops readiness skills for writing with focus on motor and perceptual skills required for writing fluency.
The Write Stuff is for 6-8 year olds (enterting first through third grade) who have already learned letter and number recognition and printing but need some extra practice. Focus is on foundational skills of posture, fine motor control and visual-motor skills.
Both camps will be led by a licensed occupational therapist, and the emphasis will be on fun. All campers will receive their own handwriting kit.
Handwriting camps will run twice a week (Mondays and Wednesdays) for six weeks starting July 10. For more information on times, dates and prices, visit our summer camps page here.
The other new offering will be our Sensory Explorer Camp. This camps will offer young children a broad range of therapeutic activities that involve sensory play and social skills development. It is open to all children of all abilities. Activities will include: water play, arts and crafts, outdoor games, music and nature hikes.
This camp will serve kids ages 4-7, and you can pick from a morning or afternoon session. The Sensory Explorer Camp will run Aug. 7-10. For details, visit the summer camps page here.
And don’t forget about our flagship camp, Camp Schreiber. In its 21st year, Camp Schreiber offers the classic week-long summer camp experience for kids and youth ages 8 to 21. Weekly sessions start June 26 and continue through the week of July 24, including an abbreviated camp week on July 5-6.
Finally, for teens we have our Club 625 Camp, the summertime version of our Club 625 outings. Young people can reconnect with old friends and meet new ones during our camp weeks in the first two weeks of August. This program offers fun on-site activities, as well as opportunities to work on social skills during outings in the community.
To register for any of our camps, visit our registration page here.
Over with the preschool-age kids, Betty Kuhn watched in one corner as a boy sprawled out on the floor with dozens of toy cars. Next to them, Joe Finger and his little buddy Grayson Pavlichko worked on pictures they were painting together. Several kids lined up to talk with Loretta Drolet about their little toy animals.
And out on the playground, Leon Hutton tended to a pile of sticks that served as a make-believe fire.
The unusual thing about these volunteers? They are all at least 79 years old. Skip is the youngster of the group. And the oldest? That’s Loretta, who turned 100 in August.
They come from St. Anne’s Retirement Community in West Hempfield Township, and their visits are coordinated by Hope Long, activity director at St. Anne’s.
All of the St. Anne’s volunteers are parents and grandparents, and they all said they enjoy the visits to Schreiber because they like being around the kids.
Loretta was impressed by how smart the kids are. She recalled one of the children showed her a little animals she had been playing with.
“I said, ‘That’s a doggie.’ And she said, ‘It’s a Dalmatian,'” Loretta said.
Her friends from St. Anne’s are just as impressed with Loretta.
“When I expanded our volunteer base,” Hope said, “I knew Loretta would be perfect. She’s kind and gentle. I knew she would be a good fit.”
“Loretta is my inspiration,” said Leon, who is still basking in the glow of recently being named St. Anne’s King of Hearts for 2017. “I thought if she can do this, I can do it, too.”
“The time at Schreiber has been therapy for me,” he said. “When a person comes out of themselves and gives time, there’s nothing better.”
That’s exactly the kind of reaction Christina Kalyan hoped for when she introduced the program about a year ago. Christina is director of Circle of Friends. She said she thought the kids and the St. Anne’s folks could all benefit from getting together.
“There are a lot of families that don’t have a grandparent figure in their life,” Christina said. “And I wanted to offer (the seniors) a chance to get up and move around and do something that might add a little more meaning to their lives.”
“Our residents love helping others and still have a strong desire to be needed and useful,” Hope said. “Schreiber is the perfect opportunity to allow this to happen. It really is a wonderful partnership and allows everyone the freedom to be who they are with no judgments or expectations from either group. It warms my heart to know that the universal language of love knows no age barrier! We appreciate the opportunity to be a part of the Schreiber family.”
Back in the preschool-age room, Joe and Grayson had finished their paintings, exchanged them and gave each other a hug. These two formed a special bond from Joe’s first visit. Grayson is more than happy to sit on Joe’s lap and just hang out. And Joe’s gruff exterior crumbles away when he talks about his young friend.
“When we see each other and I leave, he makes me cry,” Joe said.
No, this is definitely not your typical volunteer group.
Ever thought about volunteering at Schreiber? Are you retired, like the folks at St. Anne’s, and looking for a fun way to give back and be around kids? Join us as a Swim Buddy with the Schreiber S.T.A.R.S. preschoolers. Help in the Circle of Friends Academy classrooms. For more information, contact Volunteer Coordinator Susan Fisher by email or at 717-393-0425 ext. 129.
That led to Lisa Gilbert, who used to run Schreiber’s swim program, asking Chris if she would be interested volunteering as a Swim Buddy, teaching the preschool kids water safety.
“When Lisa left, I said to Jay, ‘I would do preschool swim for you as long as I could also do (private) lessons,” Chris said.
The funny thing is, Chris grew up in Baltimore and never saw an indoor pool until probably middle school.
“We swam in the bay or the ocean,” she said.
But she took to pool activities like a duck to you-know-what.
She started out in an aquatic exercise class for adults — as a participant. Then she had some opporutnities to help with some kids’ classes.
“One of the instructors saw me and said, ‘You’re pretty good with kids. We should get you certified’,” Chris said.
She’s been in the water ever since.
“She’s probably helped thousands of kids in Lancaster County learn to swim,” Jay said.
She has about 24 kids signed up for lessons now. Most are one-to-one lessons; occasionally with a sibling she might work with two kids at a time.
“He could not swim when he started,” she said. “A little nervous about getting in. Didn’t want to get his face wet. Now, he’s doing really well.”
And that’s what keeps her coming back: seeing kids grow. It’s an extension of everything that happens at Schreiber.
“The kids are so wonderful,” she said. “We like the inclusion idea. Kids feel so comfortable with any kind of child. The people here, the teachers, the therapists — they’re all here for the kids. It’s just a great atmosphere to be involved in.”
Ever thought about volunteering at Schreiber? As Chris Yost’s story shows, there are plenty of ways to become involved. Be a Swim Buddy with the Schreiber S.T.A.R.S. preschoolers. Help in the Circle of Friends Academy classroom. Bring a group to Schreiber to clean, spread mulch or decorate for a holiday. For more information, contact Volunteer Coordinator Susan Fisher by email or at 717-393-0425 ext. 129.
That green light means the Center can move forward with plans to build the bike path on the Schreiber campus along Good Drive. Schreiber raised more than $75,000 for the project through fundraising and in-kind contributions, enough to cover the construction costs and to create a fund for ongoing maintenance costs. The largest piece of the fundraising came from the Stabler Foundation, which provided a $60,000 gift.
We’d also like to acknowledge the generous support of the staff at two local companies. Todd Vaughn, senior project manager at David Miller/Associates, a landscape architecture and civil engineering firm, and Paul Nikolaus, an architect with RLPS Architects, spent countless hours drafting and revising plans as they navigated the municipal approval process — and neither firm has charged us one dollar.
The bike path will represent an important upgrade to our facility and to the resources for our Therapy Department. For years, kids have had to ride bikes through Schreiber’s hallways or in a small corner of our parking lot — hardly ideal.
That all changes this year. We will be able to break ground in the spring and complete construction by the summer.
We can’t wait.