A teacher in Maryville sent me an email that touched my heart. She wrote: “My name is Taylor Emerson. I’m the lead teacher and center coordinator at Blount County Birth to Three, an early intervention program for children with and without special needs. We work mostly with toddlers with Down syndrome, autism, and neonatal abstinence syndrome. We have our big fundraiser on November 30 at 5:00 p.m. and our emcee canceled on us. We are DESPERATE!” Fortunately, I was available to emcee the “Babies, Boots and BBQ” event at Sampson’s Hollow in Walland.
I like to joke that I get invited to attend fundraisers for free but that it isn’t really free. My wife often bids on silent auction items. She was the winning bidder for Appalachian Ballet Company tickets at Babies, Boots and BBQ. The package included tickets to The Nutcracker and a gift card from The Cheesecake Factory.
The tasty main course and side items came from Smokin’ Joes Bar-B-Que in Townsend. I have embraced most things about living in the South. For example, I love barbeque. However the appeal of sweet tea escapes me. I don’t like unsweet tea either.
There were great desserts made by people associated with the Birth to Three center. I enjoyed the gorgeous cake made by Sarah Shuler and took home some delicious chocolate-covered peanuts made by Kristina Herritt.
Birth to Three director Pam Potocik spoke about the mission of the center. Recognizing a good topic, I offered to interview her on a public affairs show in the future. Pam and Taylor asked me to keep in touch about returning to emcee next year’s fundraiser.