|Getting to know ... The Canal Days Optimist Breakfast and Bingo chair|
|Sunday, July 07, 2013 11:32 PM|
BY STACY TAFF
“We start grilling the sausage at 4:30 in the morning. We grill it on a Holland Grill and it’s our signature sausage — there’s nowhere else you’re going to get it,” she said. “Around 6 a.m., the rest of the crew starts coming in to do the set up and everything else that needs to be done.”
Dickman is currently secretary and treasurer of the Optimist Club. She has been involved with the breakfast since she was president of the club back in 1998. The bingo portion began before that; around 1989.
“I’m basically in charge of the bingo. I’m not saying I do it all but I do a lot of it,” she said. “I was one of the ones who came to them with the original idea for the Pancake and Sausage Breakfast. The bingo portion has been going for a while but with the changes in the regulations for bingo, we had to formulate a scholarship foundation. The foundation is a 501(c)(3) and we do the bingo through that. Since the foundation is in charge of the bingo and the club itself is in charge of the breakfast, they’re technically two different entities.
“There’s a lot of pre-planning that goes into both events, a lot that goes on behind the scenes but we’ve been doing this for a long time now so it all kind of falls together,” she continued. “Three years ago we had to move the tent from where it was on Second Street to where we have it now on Main Street because we needed a bigger tent and there was no room for it.”
Dickman names quite a few Optimist members as key helpers but the majority of the help she gets comes from her family.
“I couldn’t do it without JoAn Smith; she’s really like my second in command. She’s there as much as I am,” Dickman said. “There’s also Maggie Wannemacher, Harry Flanagan, Harry Tolhurst, the list goes on. If I sat here and listed them all you’d probably run out of ink and I’m sure I’d forget someone important. We also couldn’t do any of this without the Junior Optimists. We have one group at Jefferson and one at St. John’s and they’re a big help.”
“I recruit all of my grandkids and great-grandkids to help out and there have been times when the only people there were my family members,” she laughed. “My grandson Michael Friedrich is a past president and he’s now Lieutenant Governor of Zone 9. He’s grown up in the Optimist Club. My granddaughter Angela Friedrich is my grill chef. She took over for her grandpa, my husband Dale, when he passed away in 2011. She’s been helping since before she could even reach the grill. Kirsten — that’s Michael’s wife — she helps with the bingo and my other granddaughters Amber Collins and Joy Ingledue will be helping out as well. Now I’m breaking in the great-grandchildren, I’m going to start training them to take over for me.”
Dickman says volunteering for Canal Days and for the Optimist Club is important to her. It has also helped her get through difficult times.
“My husband died on July 17, 2011, and keeping busy with Canal Days really helped me. It was good therapy,” she said. “I’m 68 and I honestly believe that volunteering has kept me young. I’m proud to be a part of Delphos and the Optimist Club. I’m also proud to be a part of the Canal Days Committee and the revitalization that’s been going on the last several years. They’ve really turned it into a good thing for Delphos.
“Canal Days is one of our major fundraisers for the scholarship foundation with the bingo and the breakfast is a good revenue for us, to help offset the things we do for the youth of the community. There’s a pride in that; in knowing you’re doing something good for the community. I think one of the most important things you can do is get involved. You have to give back; otherwise, you can’t always take and if you’re involved in an organization, be involved. If you’re not involved, don’t put it in your obituary.”
In addition to the pride she feels in helping out, Dickman enjoys seeing the community come together for a good time.
“Seeing all of the people, getting to interact with those who are coming back into town, it’s just a lot of fun,” she said. “It’s the camaraderie I get out of it more than anything. It’s really neat to see all the different people coming together for the good of Delphos.That’s the best part. You can’t buy that.”
Pancake and Sausage Breakfast presale tickets are available for $7 from an Optimist member. The Optimist Bingo usually runs from 5-10 p.m. on Friday of Canal Days and then 1-10 p.m. on Saturday. Dickman is also secretary/treasurer of the First United Presbyterian Church in Delphos. This year she will step down as secretary/treasurer of the Optimist Club, as she has plans to run for Ohio Optimist District Governor for the 2014-15 year.