Story and photos by Michael J. Owen
U.S. Navy Journalist (Ret.)
Tonawanda's Winterfest Weekend at Lincoln Park and the Ronald McDonald House got an extra lift on Sunday, Jan. 16, while kids also got a lift on snowmobiles provided by the Grand Island Snowmobile Club.
For a $1 donation to the McDonald's charity, kids enjoyed the fun and thrills of riding on a snowmobile across the snow-covered park.
"The kids had a real blast. They thought they were really going fast, yet they really weren't," said club member Carol Marston. "The wind probably made it seem faster, adding to the fun and thrills of the ride, not to mention the wintry blast of fresh fallen snow that day."
The Tonawanda Winter Carnival also sponsored ice-skating, hayrides, face painting, a basket raffle, hockey game and baseball game and plenty of warmth, food and fun for all.
The Grand Island Snowmobile Club has given rides for the last 10 years, weather permitting, and collected more than $1,000 for the Ronald McDonald House. "It's such a great cause and everyone had fun," Marston said. Club volunteers included: Pete and Carol Marston, their son Pete, Paul Coughlin and his son Rob, Pete and Sandy Regan, Vince Manzo, Lynn Dingey along with her sons Nick and Jon, and Rich and Mary Jane Hosmer.
According to Carol Marston, the Ronald McDonald House program provides a "home-away-from-home" for family members to stay close to a hospitalized child at little or no cost. Some families must travel far from home to seek treatment for their seriously ill or injured children. "For a hospitalized child facing a serious medical crisis, nothing seems scarier than not having their mother or father close by for love and support," she said. "And it's our privilege to help out on this great cause."
The Grand Island Snowmobile Club meets on the first and third Wednesday of the month at 7:30 p.m. at the Grand Island Rod and Gun Club on Whitehaven Road. Either come to a meeting or go online at: www.gi-snowmobiler.com. All are welcome.