Posts Tagged ‘Express Clydesdales help Children’s Miracle Network’

Express Clydesdales Bring Community, Hope and Joy

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Express Clydesdales Bring Community, Hope and Joy to Our Hometown

Written by Tony Mussari, Sr.

Edited by Kitch Loftus-Mussari

Photographs by Tony Mussari, Sr.

Copyright Mussari-Loftus Associates, LTD 2015

All Rights Reserved

There is nothing so good for the inside of man as the outside of a horse. John Lubbock

Unfounded Superstition

Friday the 13th is generally known as a day of bad luck. The second Friday in March of this year proved that superstition to beIMG_9965-001_A_sm false.

On Friday, March 13, Kitch and I were invited to a fundraising event featuring the Express Employment Professionals Clydesdales. All the money raised during the event would be given to the Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger in Danville.

What an experience it was.


Hundreds of people came to have their picture taken with a Clydesdale.

For more than two hours, mothers, fathers and grandparents purchased raffle tickets hoping to win one of the many gifts including an opportunity to ride in the Express Stagecoach pulled by six Clydesdales.

The horses were absolutely beautiful. One of the trainers told us that each horse weighs between 1800 and 2000 pounds. The average height is 6 feet at the shoulder of the horse. Clydesdales eat 25 to 50 pounds of hay and 5 pounds of concentrated feed every day.

What impressed us the most was the demeanor of the Clydesdales; they were disciplined and very patient.

Making a Dream Become a Reality

As with anything worthwhile, the journey to accomplishment usually starts with a dreamer and a dream. In this case, the dreamer is aIMG_9667_sm well respected businesswoman, Amy Clegg.

Amy owns and operates the Express Employment Professionals office in Scranton. It was her dream to bring the Express Clydesdales to Northeastern Pennsylvania.


Working with Jeff Doran the owner of the Wilkes-Barre Express franchise, and executives at the corporate office in Oklahoma, she made her dream become a reality.

It was no small accomplishment when you consider the fact that these horses participate in major fundraising events all over America including the Chicago St. Patrick’s Day parade. They are on the road 200 days a year.

Magic Moments

From the moment we entered the venue at Mohegan Sun at Pocono Downs racetrack, the feeling of community was palpable and veryIMG_9736_sm pleasant. People from all walks of life were purchasing raffle tickets.

Included in the long list of prizes was a ride around the racetrack in an Abbott Downing Company Hotel Coach circa 1800, four bicycles donated by the Wal-Mart store in Dickson City and gift certificates for items available at a variety of stores both large and small.

While the adults purchased the tickets and printed the appropriate information, the children looked at the gifts on display. Their heads were filled with dreams and their hearts were filled with hope.


One of those dreamers was a youngster named Brayden Owens. Braden is a sixth grader who has the intelligence, poise, and social skills of a high school student. For more than an hour he sat between Kitch and his 91-year-old great grandmother, Florence Phillips. Kitch was most impressed by Brayden’s focused, friendly, polite and charming way. “He has success written all over him. I hope he finds a good mentor,” she told me.

Several hundred yards away, people waited patiently in line to have their picture taken with a beautiful Clydesdale who was a celebrity with a purpose.

As I recorded some of these priceless moments with my digital camera, I thought to myself, this is a classic example of America at its best. In the anticipation of the moment, all eyes were focused on the Clydesdale who played his part flawlessly. He seemed to like the attention.

Yet something else was happening. People were talking to each other. They were enjoying the moment.


At one point I watched Jeff Doran reach up and deliver two children into the outstretched arms of their parents.

A few minutes later, I heard a quiet voice call my name. I turned, and standing on the other side of the barricade stood a prominent local artist and photographer, Diane Grant Czajkowski. Diane has been celebrated for her paintings of Civil War horses. How appropriate that she was in the crowd. It was a delight to be reunited with Diane.

At 7 p.m., Amy Clegg introduced Mary Scheller, a special guest, who sang ourIMG_9757_sm national anthem with enthusiasm and heart. While the professional performer gave depth to the words, I could not take my eyes off a young girl, Adrianna McGowan, who offered her own rendition of the Star Spangled Banner.


A few minutes later Amy started the raffle drawing. She and Jeff attended to all of the details that added excitement to the moment. They made sure that every youngster who wanted to pull a ticket from one of the containers got their moment in the spotlight.

Then it was back to the racetrack for the launch of the ride in the stagecoach. The six Clydesdales performed flawlessly.IMG_9888_A_smIMG_9875_sm

One of the couples sitting on the top of the stagecoach will never forget the moment. Yes, they will remember winning the raffle, and the elegance of the horses, but even more important to them and everyone else on the ride was the fact that Rick Klens gave an engagement ring to Cindy Cordelle as he proposed to her during the ride. Rick and Cindy will never forget Friday, March 13, 2015.

Celebrating and Looking Forward

When the activities with the Clydesdales ended, the second phase of the event, a reception and a preview of the Refresh Leadership speaker lineup began. The invited guests made their way to a room located above the racetrack. The refreshments were plentiful, the conversations delightful and the ambiance was just perfect for the event.


Mike Hoehner, Special Events Marketing Manager for the Express Clydesdales, served as the MC. In an efficient and professional way, he summarized the events of the day. He provided a preview of the April 15 Refresh Leadership Live simulcast that will feature Daymond John, Goal Setting: The Secret of Successful Leaders, Dan Aykroyd, The Funny Thing About Leadership and Liz Murray, the author of From Homeless to Harvard.

Then he introduced Kate Billeymer, the event coordinator for theIMG_0025_sm Children’s Miracle Network at Geisinger. Kate expressed her gratitude for the many successes of the day, and she reassured everyone in the room that all of the money raised would be used to help people in the region with serious health issues.


The most poignant moment came when Kate introduced Tanya Hentschel and her daughter Kaitlyn and Melissa Stabinski and her twin sons Alex and Evan.

Both mothers spoke about the compassionate care and life saving treatment their children received at Geisinger with funds from the Children’s Miracle Network. Their presentations put everything in perspective in a way that touched the hearts of everyone in the room.

The event ended shortly after Amy and Jeff attended to the remaining raffle awards.

The Express Employment Professionals Clydesdales event was a classic example of America at its best and we are thankful for the opportunity to tell this story.

For this wonderful American Moment, we want to thank:

Amy Clegg;

Jeff Doran;

Mike Hoehner;

The Clydesdale’s Trainers;

All of the Express Employment Professional employees in Scranton & Wilkes-Barre, and all of the Express Employment Professional associates and volunteers.

Please provide feedback to: