Columbus has a can-do spirit. The latest proof is the success of a fundraising campaign to send the Sound of North marching band from Columbus North High School to Washington, D.C., for the Jan. 20 presidential inauguration festivities.
The Sound of North will perform in the Inauguration Day parade to celebrate the swearing in of Donald Trump as president and Columbus native Mike Pence as vice president.
Pence, a 1977 North graduate and Indiana’s governor, is set to formally invite the marching band to be part of the experience.
When the idea was pitched to Pence, he asked state Rep. Milo Smith, R-Columbus, at the Veterans Day program at Camp Atterbury to help make it happen.
That was easier said than done because the cost of the trip was estimated at $125,000 to cover 200 band members and staff, and a quick turnaround was needed to raise the money.
Thanks to Smith’s determined efforts and the generosity of many, Smith received $93,385 in pledges by Dec. 13 to make the trip possible.
Donors include the famous, such as recently retired NASCAR driver Tony Stewart, who once was a North band member. But most of the donations came from everyday people, starting with pledges up to $35 and ranging up to $10,000 from corporate supporters. That’s an indication that a cross section of local people and local businesses consider the inauguration performance a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that they strongly believe the North High School students should get a chance to experience.
The response speaks well of Columbus and its ability to rally to a cause — especially one that will create a lifetime of memories for many students.
Smith, as the primary fundraising organizer and a donor himself, and others who joined the cause are to be commended for their generosity of time and money.
Columbus has a long history of success with projects that have benefited the community through the efforts of public-private partnerships. Although the band fundraising effort was different in structure, the same principle factors applied: a collective belief in an appealing opportunity, the desire to succeed and plenty of generosity.
Can-do is alive and well in Columbus.
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