Decisions to be made

Posted in Uncategorized on October 8, 2009 by Mike Flanagan

Ok…so we have a couple of choices for our next event and I wanted to get those who are interested in joining us to vote on our next Wrays of Hope give back event.  Our hope is to visit and help each of these organizations eventually, but we want to get moving on our next event:

So, please vote, and I will be sharing the results on Monday and we will plan on our event later this month.

And as a teaser for tomorrow… I am going to take the blog in a little different direction on Fridays.  I want to give everyone a little flavor of the man who inspired this and why we should all do a little more than we have ever done before.  Come back tomorrow and find out why we don’t let Wray anywhere near a ladder…


Ok… so what’s next?

Posted in Uncategorized on October 6, 2009 by Mike Flanagan

We want to keep this ball rolling and set up another event day here in Charlotte.  Our hope was to set up a volunteer day with the Charlotte Mecklenburg Animal Shelter but (thankfully for them) they have a lot of booked volunteer weekends this month.  So, I wanted to open up the forum for suggestions on who we could help this month.

That said, please leave your comments on groups/organizations/ideas that could use some volunteer help and some Wrays of Hope.  Some thoughts might be a nursing home in need, tutoring children, cleaning up a local park, etc.  Post something that is close to your heart and I will make a poll for who we will shine a Wray on this month.  Looking forward to all the ideas.

Oh, and I wanted to point out that we have added a SUBSCRIBE option at the top of the right sidebar.  Please subscribe to keep up with what we are doing…

Get those comments in, and lets make a difference together…

Back in the saddle with our Loaves and Fishes Update

Posted in Uncategorized on October 5, 2009 by Mike Flanagan
Our first successful event

Our first successful event

Ok, so I feel really bad that it has taken me this long to post an update to the blog, but the passion is still raging and we are still working at making a difference. Our first event was nothing short of extraordinary. We had 5 volunteers join us at Loaves and Fishes to sweat a little and give back to one of Charlotte’s best organizations. We learned while we were there that Loaves and Fishes will feed 80,000 families this year and that number is not decreasing. As a group, we assisted in separating over 2 tons of food and worked so that this food could be distributed in a balanced nutritious fashion to families in need. It was such an amazing feeling to not only help, but to see folks join us in the Wrays Of Hope idea and show up based solely upon a couple of Facebook updates and the info in this blog. We are working on our next event here in Charlotte to help give back, so check back later this week for details. I will be placing a monthly poll up for everyone who is interested in joining so that we can get a bunch of opinions on the groups that we will be working to lend a hand to. With that said, consider the blog back in full motion and us back in the drivers seat. Here are a few more pictures to show you just how much fun we had at Loaves and Fishes!

This is a huge staple of families in need to make sure kids are getting their protein

This is a huge staple of families in need to make sure kids are getting their protein

Lots of work to do... and what a blast it was!

Lots of work to do... and what a blast it was!

We are almost there..

We are almost there

Hard at work for Loaves and Fishes

Hard at work for Loaves and Fishes

So really… what is this and what are you doing again?

Posted in Events, Inspiration, wrays of hope with tags , , , on September 17, 2009 by Mike Flanagan

It seems like I have been asked that question more in the last couple of day.  Not since I tried to explain the Bacon Explosion to a vegetarian have I answered that question so much.  So, what is this and what are we doing?  Let’s try to explain this again.

I have no idea, but I’m working on it!

That’s right.  We don’t know what we are doing.  We have never done anything like this before, and don’t really know what the final outcome will be.  But that is going to be part of the beauty of this journey;  Learning, living, and giving back along the way.

One of my good friends asked, “So, you are doing a triathlon…I’m not gonna run but I’ll be there to support you.  But is that it?”  That’s a part of it, but that is not IT at all…

Another friend said “That is a very touching tribute site to your dad… is it a one shot deal or will you be keeping at it?”  Again, that’s part of it, but that is not IT at all…

Someone else chimed in “What?  I don’t understand.  What do you want me to do?”

And that is IT.  I want you TO DO. I hope that I, along with the folks that I hope will gather at this blog, will inspire and work together TO DO. Whether that doing is volunteering, raising funds for great causes, banding together to offer some inspiration on a down day, or just being a little nicer to that guy at the office you don’t care for, DOING is what my vision is for Wrays of Hope.  Just a few people doing a little bit more than they have ever done before or they ever thought they could do.

So, that’s what we are DOing.  We will DO lots and try to give back a little at the same time.

This Saturday is the first ever Wrays of Hope group event and we hope that at least one of you join us.  Please share this blog and invite with your friends, your co-workers, random people that you haven’t spoken to in a while but need to reconnect with to join in this big event:

What: Loaves and Fishes Food Bank Volunteering
Where:  Fishes and Loaves Warehouse
When:   Saturday Sept 19th 9AM

My plan is to update the blog with pictures of Saturday’s event and post something every single day.  So subscribe, share with your friends, come back, and contribute as much as you can to the blog and to the cause.  What ever you decide, DO me a favor and shine a Wray of Hope on somebody today.

A note from the man himself!

Posted in Inspiration, wrays of hope on September 17, 2009 by Mike Flanagan

Not everyone reads thru the comments, so I wanted post what I thought were some very poignant thoughts from Wray.  Take a read, then go out and “get rid of your cold!”…

Wray Thomas Says:
September 16, 2009 at 10:28 pm

Let me start by saying this is my first response to any blog ever. Allow me to introduce myself…I’m the “Wray” in the Wray of Hope, and I have to let you know up front that I protested when my parents gave me this name but, due to the language barrier, they wouldn’t listen to me. I was liking Bill or George. I even threw in Wilbur just to get a reaction. Didn’t happen so here I am “Wray”! And I’m old but I’m glad I’m still here.

First and foremost let me say that this tribute has caught me totally by surprise…certainly there are those more deserving. My first thoughts are the Dr’s and staff at the Duke Heart Center and the ambulance crew from the Parkwood Volunteer Fire Department from Lewisville, North Carolina who worked so hard to keep me alive. My wife Linda who performed CPR until the paramedics arrived. They didn’t give up and I think that’s the real message.

Everyone has their story good or bad. I’m no exception. I look at life like the common cold…you feel miserable and can’t do a thing about it. In time you get over it, feel better, and life is good again.

I am proud to lend my name to a worthwhile cause and even more proud of Mike and Leigh to willingly give up their time to give back to their community. My hats off to you both. Thank you for thinking of me. To those reading this take a little advise from an old guy – “I should have” never gets it done. Get over the cold and feel good again. Life is short so sacrifice of yourself a little to do more for others than you ever thought possible.

Getting off on the right foot…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on September 16, 2009 by Mike Flanagan

Wow, four hours out and folks are reading this blog… My hope is that just one of those folks will decide to do something more than they have done before to help someone else out.  In that vain, let’s kick this thing off on the right foot… SHALL WE!

The first Wrays of Hope give back will be at Loaves and Fishes Warehouse this Saturday (9/19/2009) in Charlotte, NC at 9AMLoaves and Fishes is a local community food bank focused on making sure families in need have balanced meals to feed their kids.  They need help at their warehouse seperating boxes/cases of food into containers that will be delivered to families in need this week.  It’s two hours of your time, to help out folks who are worried about what will be in the pantry tomorrow.  If you have questions, drop me an email, give me a call, or just show up at the Loaves and Fishes Warehouse (648 Griffith Rd.  Charlotte, NC  28217) at 9AM in jeans and a t-shirt ready to rock!

A Journey of a million miles begins with a single step…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , on September 15, 2009 by Mike Flanagan

First steps.  They are the toughest to take, but here goes.

I’ve been struggling for some time now to find the right way to take my desire to give more back to the community and channel it.  It all started in the aftermath of my first 24 Hours of Booty and hasn’t let up since.  I’ll tell that story in due time.  Today’s post is to introduce this idea of doing more, giving back more, and being better people.

That idea is Wrays of Hope.  We are not 100% sure what Wrays of Hope will become, but we do know what it is today.  Wrays of Hope is two people who are going to dedicate themselves to finding more ways to give back and make sacrifices that will help others.  Along the way, we hope to inspire a few, and maybe drag a few others along with us.

Why they name and why the wierd spelling?  Glad you asked.  Part of our inspiration for this is to find a way to honor my dad, Wray Thomas.  Wray has overcome a lot, most recently surviving a widow maker heart attack in August 2008.  I’ll share a lot of my Wray stories along the way, but those who know him, and many do, consider themselves lucky.  Wray has made a habit out of doing things the right way and providing for others in times of need.   That’s the overriding theme we want this idea to take on.  Sacrifice of yourself a little to do more for others than you ever thought possible.

So, how are we starting… small… very small.  Leigh and I are going to take our 24 Hours of Booty experiences and put them to good work.  Today we are officially beginning our triathlon training for our first ever triathlon in 2010.  You heard me right.  THE FLANAGANS ARE RUNNING IN A TRIATHLON.  Starting in 2010, we are going to find ways to parlay this triathlon training into some donations that will benefit the Duke Heart Center, the very folks who made sure that Wray survived the widow maker in 2008.

So, we are off and running.  For those of you who know me, you can bet it will be a loud, passionate, and sometimes hectic journey.   But in the end, it will be just a few more people, doing a little bit more than they have ever done before.  Lot of updates to come, including how we reach out to Duke, what Wray thinks about this crazy idea, and how in the world am I actually going to finish a triathlon.  Stick around, share your ideas, and help us craft exactly what Wrays of Hope will become.