The Washington Shrine Club kicked off “Tabloid” with a dinner Wednesday to raise money for Shriner Hospitals.
The Mahan Building on the Fayette County Fairgrounds was busy Wednesday evening as members of the Washington Shrine Club and esteemed guests joined together for a dinner to support Shriners Hospitals. Known as “Tabloid,” this season of fundraising helps to fund hospitals like the Shriner Hospitals for Children Medical Center (SHCMC) in Lexington, Ky.
“Tabloid is what we do to make money for our hospitals, and this dinner kind of kicks it off tonight, it gets the mood going for it,” Jeff Detty, Washington Shrine Club president, said to the crowd on Wednesday evening. “We are glad to see everyone here, members, guests and visitors.”
Following dinner — which included salad, chicken, pasta in Alfredo sauce, and a piece of cake for dessert — Detty introduced Tony Lewgood, Lexington SHCMC administrator, as the first speaker for the evening. Lewgood discussed various aspects of the medical center in Lexington. Using a power-point presentation, he showed the local Shriners photos of the center, information about expenses for the facility, and provided times for an open house coming up this Sunday.
“I want to start by thanking you all, it is wonderful to be here to kick off your Tabloid that supports three Shrine facilities, the Lexington Medical Center being one of them,” Lewgood said. “Thank you all once again for your support and it was my pleasure being here to speak with you all.”
The final guest of the evening was Ruby Swick. Jason Langley, second vice-president of the Washington Shrine Club, said during the event that he had advertised an upcoming car show on their Facebook page earlier this year when Barbara Jackson, Swick’s daughter, mentioned her mother had been a patient of a Shriners Hospital starting 92-years-ago at the age of 2.
“My mom is Ruby Swick, she was born June 16, 1924 in Naples, Kentucky, and will be 94 next month,” Jackson said. “Mom was born with a very severe club foot and was taken to Ashland, Kentucky Hospital for one week. She cried day and night and they sent her home. Now if you believe in how God works, then here we go. Mom’s dad had her in his arms in a drug store, why that drug store we don’t know. A man approached my grandfather and introduced himself as Mr. William Arthur. He said, ‘Sir, I noticed your daughter has a problem.’”
Jackson continued to explain that Arthur was a Shriner from Lexington, Ky. He offered Swick’s father — right then and there as Jackson said — a chance to have Swick taken to a hospital for no more than a signed paper. Swick’s father was quick to respond, explaining the family had no money to pay for the treatments. Arthur replied, “You need no money, it won’t cost you one penny.”
“When my mother was 2 in June, in July she went to Lexington for her first surgery,” Jackson said. “After every surgery mother stayed there three months and then stayed there three more weeks for physical therapy before leaving to go home. Mom was put on a train in Lexington in the conductor’s care — now today we wouldn’t let anyone take care of our kids — and he would check on her periodically to see how she was doing. Her dad would be waiting in Ashland for her to get off of the train, and then the family would wait for the next letter for the next surgery. This went on for years until she was 6 or 7 and then until she was 12 or 13.”
Swick took a moment following the presentation to talk to the crowd, and thanked the Shriners for all they did for her and her family. She said she feels she is blessed to have had the chance encounter with Arthur.
“It is unreal (to be honored this evening),” Swick said. “I was so surprised when I heard. I was so afraid I was going to speak and I am so nervous before a crowd. I think I would’ve made it tonight fine because I feel so blessed. But (Barbara) spoke my words. We talked about it before and everything she said was true. I don’t believe it was a coincidence and I don’t think there was any particular reason daddy needed to be in that drug store, it was 10 miles out into the country from where we lived. I don’t know what his reason was for being in there, but he had a reason. Mr. Arthur worked for the government and traveled, and just happened that he was there and introduced himself.”
Following the presentation, the Washington Shrine Club presented Swick with a Shriners Hospitals’ blanket embroidered with her name, and thanked her and her family for attending.
Reach Martin Graham at (740) 313-0351 or on Twitter @MartiTheNewsGuy