By Kate Schmidt
The Illinois State Wireless Association (ILSWA) Summer Social and Golf outing took place this year on July 25th and 26th in the western suburbs of Chicago.
Aside from being a great time and a chance to connect with industry colleagues, ILSWA events are fundraisers. Typically, the proceeds from event registration/sponsorship, raffle tickets and split-the-pot tickets are all donated to Misericordia Heart of Mercy and St. Jude’s Children’s Hospital. This year, there was an additional beneficiary of the ILSWA members’ generosity.
Aaron DeGeorge is the son of Candy DeGeorge, a well-known member of the wireless industry. In December 2018, Aaron was involved in a horrific car accident when he suffered several crushed vertebrae and a spinal cord injury that caused paralysis of his legs. After the near-death experience, Aaron spent a week in Intensive Care and a week in a rehab unit at the hospital. He was told he had about a 3% chance of regaining the use of his legs, and he was transferred to an inpatient rehabilitation facility for two months.
Aaron was at the social walking with the assistance of a brace and crutches! Since his accident, Aaron has been in and out of the hospital for surgeries and rehabilitation treatments and still has a long road ahead of him. However, he’s on the road to regaining some movement in his legs.
This year ILSWA decided to donate the proceeds from sales for split-the-pot tickets to Aaron to help with his bills. Ticket sales at the social on Thursday night totaled $3,450, which would mean $1,725 for Aaron and $1,725 for the owner of the ticket. John Zimmermann bought 20 tickets, rubbed them on Tom’s shoulder for good luck, and distributed them among Terra attendees. For those who do not know, Terra Vice President Tom Zimmermann has won something at every single ILSWA event I have been to in the last four years. Wouldn’t you know it, the winning ticket was held by our own Joel Mathai, who immediately gave his half back to Aaron! Ticket sales at the golf course on Friday totaled $4,630, meaning $2,315 for Aaron and $2,315 for the ticket holder. The winner Friday also gave his half back to Aaron! Due to the generosity of all who purchased split-the-pot tickets and BOTH winners donating their half back, ILSWA was able to donate $8,080 to Aaron!
All in all, it was a great event. There were over 200 people in attendance and as Tom Zimmermann, ILSWA President, took the mic to speak about how the money raised would be used, there was almost complete silence. I have been to this event now for several years and this year felt more personal than it has in the past. In two days, over $22,000 was raised through raffle ticket sales and registration fees.
And for those keeping score – yes, Tom won another prize this year.