June 24, 2013

Points East: A glorious day for Team TKO

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — If we could have placed a custom order for weather on Saturday, June 1, it could not possibly have been more perfect for walking and plain-old, laid-back, enjoyment than what the Good Lord provided.

Oh, I’m sure that a lot of people, yours truly included, had spent some time in prayer that the weather would at least be tolerable, for our Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes, scheduled to take place in the early hours among the woods and trails surrounding Keeneland Race Track.  But I doubt that anyone expected what we got.  In fact, when I went to bed on Friday night, the forecasters were saying “40 percent chance of thunderstorms before noon on Saturday.”

Loretta and I stashed rain gear in the back seat and headed out of Paint Lick just after daybreak.  We didn’t even bother taking the big cameras and that proved to be a huge mistake because the valleys along the way were full of fog and the photo light was perfect.  

When we arrived at the parking lot around 7:30, the only clouds in sight were puffy and snow white as though the sky had been specially decorated with truck loads of giant hydrangeas.   A gentle breeze was stirring and the sunlight was diffused just enough that nothing was glaring and the temperature was around 70.  In other words, picture perfect.  And at least Loretta and our daughter, Jennifer, had brought along their little cameras and they sure were put to use.

The dozen or so members of Team TKO signed in and joined about 700 other walkers, either directly or indirectly, afflicted by this terrible disease and determined to do whatever we can to stop it.  Grandson, Tyler Kane Ochs, for whom our team is named, was feeling puny so he did his mile atop his father Kevin’s shoulders while the rest of us kept asking him, “How’s the weather up there, Champ?”  

I am oh so proud of and grateful to my readers for sponsoring Tyler and me in this annual fundraiser.  

At this writing, 50 of you have contributed just over $1,500 to our cause which is half of Team TKO’s total effort that will amount to more than $3,000 when the final tally is complete.  Donations are still coming in because the drive is not officially over until July 1.  The Keeneland Step Out Walk will top out at more than $275,000, making it one of the most successful fund raisers in the nation for the American Diabetes Association.  

If you want more information, simply go to the website:    and follow your nose.  Our specific event is listed as “Lexington, Ky., June 1, 2013.”

Our event is blessed with numerous corporate sponsors and I can’t begin to list them all in this column but a few deserve special notice.  Starbucks must have served up a few hundred gallons of coffee throughout the day.  Kroger gave out at least a ton of fresh fruit and there was an abundance of free soft drinks, fruit and vegetable juices and healthy snacks available everywhere we turned.  Walmart stores collected thousands of dollars from customers and employees.

But I believe the biggest reason for our success is my favorite television newsperson, Ms. Amber Philpott who co-anchors the local evening news for Lexington CBS affiliate, WKYT, Channel 27!  Not only does this wonderful woman tirelessly promote our Step Out Walk but she is on the scene from start to finish.

Amber was already rubbing elbows with the crowd when we arrived at 7:30.  She was still encouraging walkers and diabetics when we left shortly after noon.  And, of course, she walked with her own “Red Team,” whose members are all diabetic.  Loretta even got a photo of me hugged up with Amber that I intend to frame.  

Amber Philpott is an award winning journalist but she is also a down to earth, genuine human being who goes way beyond the call of duty to stand up for causes she believes in.  I feel like I’m with family when I watch her on the evening news.


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Now that school is out, what are your family’s summer vacation plans?

A. No major plans. We will probably hang out around Laurel County.
B. Going to the beach!
C. Kentucky has a lot of wonderful state parks, and we plan to visit a few and enjoy quality family time.
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