Team Fundraiser $2135

(Please click on each picture to read the captions)

Team Peace, Love, LAF

Julie Alston, Ragin Cornelius, Robin & Brody Hamil, Russell Harvey, Tracy Portwood, Bryan & Suzanne Alston

On a cold Sunday morning, November 15, 2015, a group of dedicated friends participated in the East Texas Half Marathon, to raise scholarship funds for the Lauren Alston Foundation.  I can’t say enough about my group of friends…it moves me and humbles me that they want to help continue Lauren’s legacy of helping others.  That they gave their time, energy, money, lots of sweat, a couple of tears and some pushed their bodies further than normal and some started with injuries.  They came from Austin, Corrigan, Lufkin and Yoakum to participate in this run in Nacogdoches.  This is the second year for Team Peace, Love, LAF.  Ragin came to Bryan and I last year about making this a fundraiser run for LAF.  We hope you will join us in November 2016.

Ragin and Russell were the two brave souls who participated in the half marathon…that is 13.1 miles folks.  The race started at 7:30 am…but they had to be there about 1 hr earlier to park, warm up their legs and then race…on top of driving 30 minutes to get there.  Ragin is a seasoned runner but was dealing with shin splints, from his training, before he even started the race…but he pushed himself those last few miles and finished.  Russell just started running last year before this race/fundraiser.  Russell ran the 5K last year but challenged himself and moved up to the half marathon this year.  He enjoys running 8-9 miles most days but pushed through to complete his first half marathon…for Team P, L, LAF.  I am so proud of these guys…they took on the hardest part…the bigger challenge!!  They rock…they are awesome…they have huge hearts!!…and nice legs from running…lol.

Now us 5K’ers are another story…lol…we are walkers…not runners.  We also aren’t early risers…especially on cold, rainy mornings…thank goodness the rain stopped before the Half’ers got started.  The 5K race started at 7:45 am…but we had decided beforehand to have our “own” start at 8:30 am.  For two reasons…we aren’t early risers…yes, I’m saying it again…and we wanted to finish sometime close to when Ragin and Russell would be finishing their Half.  So Tracy, Brody, Robin, Bryan, I and Julie, our sister-in law, who was able to join us last minute…started our 3.1 mile walk or stroll.  We enjoyed visiting with each other, cheering on the Half’ers we passed… who were running toward us on the route and we got to see Ragin and Russell whom we “high fived”…looking at the houses in the neighborhood we passed through and commenting on all the clothes thrown on the sides of the road.  I guess some runners shed their clothes as they got hot and would later come back to get them.  We could have had some really nice jackets, gloves, t-shirts and leg warmers had we picked up all the items we saw.  Too bad there wasn’t any warm-up pants…cause someone in our group was walking in his fleecy pajama bottoms…I won’t name you Bryan Alston…and could have changed along the way…lol.   We finished in under an hour…barely…but we weren’t in it for an “official” race time…just the company….6 across the line.  We weren’t there but maybe 15-20 minutes when Ragin showed up across the finish line….Yay, 7 cross the line!!  Then we were looking for Russell, who we knew was struggling just a bit that last mile.  And because you never leave a man behind, Ragin went back to run with him across the line…the friendship, encouragement and Russell’s perseverance brought tears to our eyes…we all loudly cheered him on.  YAY!!! All 8 of Team Peace, Love, LAF had finished…we were together and hugging it out.  Again…I am so proud of this team!!  And a “shout out”… of thanks… to our cheer team of Kathy, Elise, Sharron and Roy Dean!

Because of this Team and all of their gracious sponsors…22 fabulous Supporters from Texas, Florida, Alabama and even Japan…we raised $2135 for scholarships.  Thank You…Thank You…Thank you all!!

We are so thankful to the Runners, Walkers and the Sponsors for your support.  We hope to continue this fundraiser next year and would love for more people to join us…yes, you reading this.  You can Run…Walk…Skip…Hula Hoop it…we don’t care…just join us…in mid November 2016…you know you want one of those cute Team t-shirts.

Our love to all…we are blessed by you.  Happy Thanksgiving.

We chose two again

2010-12-09_09-03-59.450We chose two recipients again this year for the Lauren Alston Memorial Scholarship in Hospitality.  Adrianna Damani and Samantha Harris both impressed us with their heartfelt essays and excellent grades.  Although they both sent eloquent thank you notes I wanted to share Samantha’ s note with everyone as she will be graduating in December.

August 22, 2014

Mr. and Mrs. Alston,

My name is Samantha Harris, and I am the grateful recipient of the Lauren Alston Scholarship.  I am a Hospitality Administration major heading into my senior semester at Stephen F. Austin State University, from Ft Worth.  After graduation in December, I plan on moving to Lewisville, Texas with my husband, and pursuing a career in event management.

 2014 has been a year of ups and downs for me.  In April, my husband and I decided to get married at the Fort Worth Medical Plaza ICU when my dad’s health took a serious decline, and we lost him shortly after.  The loss I felt, and still feel, is indescribable.  Afterwards, the thought of leaving my mom and sister behind to come back and finish school was almost depressing.  I even considered transferring to a school closer to home, but I knew my dad would want me to come back and finish, especially so close to graduation.  While growing up, my grandfather didn’t give my dad the support he needed to go to college expecting him to follow in his footsteps and take over the family air conditioning business.  It was something my dad regretted immensely because it put up so many road blocks as he went through life.  Because of this he always reiterated the importance of a college education, and that no matter what, he would make sure that we both had the ability to make a living and support ourselves.

Your support through this scholarship for my last semester is not only allowing me to fulfill my dream of a college degree, but also my dad’s dream for me.  You have taken a weight off both my shoulders and my mom’s, and for that I am eternally grateful.

With great appreciation,

Samantha Harris

And Samantha that makes us happy also.  We strive to reach out and help others as Lauren did.  We give scholarships in her memory, to give back as she also received scholarships, to help others fulfill their dreams of a college degree like she was able to achieve and also so she isn’t forgotten.  God bless you on your life’s journey and please lend someone else a hand along the way.

Mrs. Sophia Carbajal ~ SFA 2013-14

We were out-of-town in March when the SFA Scholarship Stars awards social was scheduled.  So we asked Bryan’s parents to attend, in our place, and meet Mrs. Sophia Carbajal.  Yes, she is a married student and our first one.  I know how tough that can be because I also attended SFA while I was married.  The Alston’s enjoyed getting to know her and expressed how friendly she was to them.  She was about to graduate and was excited about what her future held.

 

Mrs. Sophia Carbajal SFA 2013-14 Recipient

Mrs. Sophia Carbajal
SFA 2013-14 Recipient

This all probably seems a little backwards…but for SFA you pick the recipient at the beginning of the year and then get to meet them at the end of the year. The student gets money each semester so they send a note each time.   Bellow is part of what she wrote in her January thank you note:

“Again I would truly like to thank you for your generous gifts.  I am so thrilled to be beginning my last semester at SFA.  I still have not made my final decision yet of what my plans are after college.  I know that there are so many opportunities available in my field.  I do plan to spend some time exploring those and maybe even go for my master’s degree.

I thank you for awarding me with your scholarship and for this chance to reach for the stars.  But mostly for believing in me and fellow students like me.  I hope that some day I can become an inspiration too and have the ability to help students who are looking to reach for their stars.”

Sophia has on her Hospitality chef’s coat, showing the Ax’em Jacks sign and is standing in front of a few of the plaques of endowed scholarships, one of which is Lauren’s.  Sophia works in the Alumni Office, where the Wall of Honor is, and we plan to go meet her soon.

 

 

 

 

Allie Massingill ~ LHS 2014

This is Allie Massingill who is the Lufkin High School 2014 Scholarship Recipient.  She plans on attending Angelina College for a few semesters and then transferring to Stephen F. Austin to finish her degree.  Allie wants to be an early elementary school teacher and we wish her well in her college endeavors.

Bryan, Allie Massingill and Suzanne

Bryan, Allie Massingill and Suzanne

Kim Chong ~ LHS 2013

LHS 2013 - Kim ChongSuzanne,  Kim Chong,  Bryan

On Monday night, May 6th, we got to meet Kim Chong who is the Lufkin High School 2013 scholarship recipient.  We had a great visit with her while waiting to have our picture made.  She is attending SFA and wants to be a nurse, like her Mom, or maybe something in hospital administration.  She helps out in the Nurse’s Office at school and really enjoys that and helping people.  She and Lauren had similar schooling, Kim attended a private catholic school until sixth grade and then moved into the public school, and Lauren attended a private christian school until eighth grade and then entered Lufkin High School.  Kim talked about that challenging transition and then, because she knew how that felt, helping other “new” kids who looked lost and needed a friend….Lauren did the same thing.

We got to meet Kim’s parents, little brother and grandmother.  They were all so friendly and appreciative of Kim receiving the scholarship.  We told them some about Lauren and how the scholarships came about…wanting to help others as Lauren did and the fact she received scholarships from LHS and SFA.  We asked Kim, as we do all recipients, to just please lend a helping hand to others along the way…and she said she sure would.   We enjoyed our time with Kim and her family and wish them all the best in the years to come.

The Cord

My beautiful friend, Tammy Miller, sent this to me on the first Mother’s Day without Lauren.   Lauren used to baby sit Tammy and David’s children…and they were special friends and wonderful mentors to her.  I am thankful they were in her life and still are in ours.

THE CORD

We are connected,
My child and I, by
An invisible cord
Not seen by the eye.

It’s not like the cord
That connects us ’til birth
This cord can’t been seen
By any on Earth.

This cord does it’s work
Right from the start.
It binds us together
Attached to my heart.

I know that it’s there
Though no one can see
The invisible cord
From my child to me.

The strength of this cord
Is hard to describe.
It can’t be destroyed
It can’t be denied.

It’s stronger than any cord
Man could create
It withstands the test
Can hold any weight.

And though you are gone,
Though you’re not here with me,
The cord is still there
But no one can see.

It pulls at my heart
I am bruised…I am sore,
But this cord is my lifeline
As never before.

I am thankful that God
Connects us this way
A mother and child
Death can’t take it away! 

~Author Unknown~