Yes, it was "just" a one-hour breakfast, another local fundraiser in a seemingly endless stream of them.
But we submit that what happened Thursday morning at the Coeur d'Alene Resort presented yet another enduring snapshot of what makes North Idaho such a wonderful place to call "home."
Dan English, executive director of Court Appointed Special Advocates, handed the microphone over to CASA board member Vaughn Ward for the most difficult part of Thursday morning's breakfast. Ward had been summoned to make his pitch, known in the fundraising biz as "the ask," so the nearly 200 people in attendance at the Coeur d'Alene Resort would open up their checkbooks, just as they had already opened up their hearts.
Ward described how the night before, he was making notes when his mother, who was helping Vaughn watch his four kids, asked what he was doing. When Vaughn explained how he was going to ask for money at a fundraising breakfast for a nonprofit that helps children who, through no fault of their own wind up in the court system and often are placed in foster or adoptive homes, Ward's mom immediately understood. She understood because, as she explained to her son for the first time, Vaughn's sister Logan became part of the Ward family through the exact process he was now devoting so much of his time and attention to.
Until Wednesday night, Vaughn never knew. He didn't know when he agreed to Brad Corkill's request to join the CASA board that years ago, in southern Idaho, a court-appointed special advocate had blessed him and his family.
The audience sat in stunned silence. Then they gave.
"I doubled my donation after hearing Vaughn's story," admitted Dan Green, a Kootenai County commissioner.
But giving to a great cause isn't what makes our region so special. That sort of thing happens every single day.
What makes us extraordinary is that most everyone can put aside their differences for the betterment of all. At some of the tables yesterday morning sat people who have been on opposite sides of disputes or disagreements, some of headline-worthy proportions.
When English handed the microphone to Ward, the political symbolism couldn't be missed. For years, English was Kootenai County's only elected Democrat, a man who proudly carried his party's banner in a sea of Republican leadership. Ward, CEO of Northwest Specialty Hospital in Post Falls, became a household name statewide when, as a Republican, he ran for Congress three years ago.
None of that mattered Thursday. What mattered is that a roomful of people focused on a cause that transcends their disagreements and binds them in a noble purpose.
Yet again all were reminded, when we work together, North Idahoans can accomplish anything.