When Robin Weaver took over the leadership of American Legion Riders Chapter 101 in Carlisle, Pennsylvania, she made it clear that the chapter should be a service to the community. This approach was recently demonstrated in full and benefited a family dealing with a very difficult medical situation in the process.
On January 28, Chapter 101 held a fundraiser that raised more than $7,200 for Harmonee Washington’s family. 6-year-old Harmonee has an enlarged heart with blood clots and is forced to stay at Children’s Hospital in Philadelphia to use a cardiac assist device to pump blood throughout her body while awaiting a transplant.
Harmonee’s father, Charles Washington, is a firefighter with Carlisle Fire & Rescue Services and makes a more than five-hour round trip every week to visit his daughter in the hospital. Chapter 101 learned of her situation from a member who also works with Carlisle Fire & Rescue Services.
“I’ve always been someone who helps others. I would give the shirt off my back to someone,” said Weaver, a member of Auxiliary Unit 101 and the wife of Post 101 Commander Doug Weaver. “When I became the Riders director here, I told everyone that my main goal—and I hoped they felt the same way—was that we were here to help our veterans, their families, and our community. So when I heard about (Harmonee), I didn’t even skip a beat. We were there. That’s exactly how I want our drivers to be.”
The post hosted a Hope for Harmonee fundraiser where participants could donate money to help the Washington family. There was also a raffle which added to the impressive total.
In addition to Chapter 101, Legion Riders from Chambersburg Chapter 46, Greencastle Chapter 373, Newville Chapter 421, Fort Loudon Chapter 606 and Lickdale Chapter 910 also turned up to offer their support to the cause.
“I was shocked,” Weaver said. “I didn’t set a fundraising goal. But the amount of support that came from the other Legion riders was out of this world. It was heartwarming to say the least. I’ve told every single one of them that we’re definitely going to pay that up front. That’s exactly what I want our drivers to be. That is my goal.”
Harmonee’s father said he was moved by the Riders’ efforts. “It lets us know we’re not alone in this fight,” he told The Sentinel. “There are people out here who really care now. It’s like you think you don’t have any support, you really do.”
Weaver said Charles was surprised when the Riders reached out. “He thought the family was alone,” she said. “When we contacted him he was quite taken aback. He couldn’t believe that complete strangers would help his family.
“To be honest we got him talking on the night of the fundraiser. He could have gotten out maybe seven words and he was done. Just the overwhelming reaction of everyone who showed up and talking about his daughter, he just couldn’t get anything out. He was very honored.”