When Joseph “Rocky” Carneiro passed away this month at the age of 67 family and friends mourned the loss of one of the good guys. Rocky’s parents, Tony and Della, owned the now iconic Tony’s Supper Club on Lake Coeur d’Alene so he grew up in the hospitality business. Tony died when Rocky was just 13, so the family banded together to make a life. After high school, Rocky enlisted in the Army and served two tours of duty in Vietnam. He married and became an instant dad to four daughters, with he and Rosalind adding daughter No. 5 a few years later. His lifelong sweetheart and bride of 44 years, passed away in 2015.
These are all bullet points of a man’s life but what was poignant and yes, fun, was the gathering of friends at his memorial service and reception that followed. Friends who traveled from around the country and even internationally to pay their respects and toast to a well-loved classmate, friend and fellow Viking. It was like an all-school reunion of CHS from the 1960s or a ’70s era Rathskellers reunion.
The take-away for me was how much Rocky valued and nurtured relationships. For those recent graduates and for those reuniting for their summer class reunions, the legacy of Rocky Carneiro is perhaps found not just in his family but in friendships from youth that grew in depth through the decades. That’s a pretty good legacy and life lesson.
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Since the very first year Ironman came to Coeur d’Alene, I’ve embraced the experience. Never as a competitor but as a volunteer and enthusiastic spectator. In the early years the bike portion was routed through Post Falls, including around the track at the Greyhound Park and across an active railroad trestle which was converted to a bike path and taken down in record time by the Post Falls Lions Club. The routes for all except the swim portion have changed through the years but the inspiration of the athletes never varied.
I’ve met athletes and their families and fans from all over the country and the world. I’ve been behind the scenes with media credentials and been out on the lake at the crack of dawn to watch the swimmers. I’ve volunteered at runners aid stations for local charities, as a pointer in the bike segment, as a Doping Control escort for the pro racers, and as a finish line catcher, always choosing the last shift before the race cut-off where the inspiration of seeing regular people who had set a goal finally, blessedly crossed the finish line and became Ironmen.
As a volunteer I like the 70.3 half Ironman simply because it ends late afternoon instead of midnight and now takes place in June.
This year I’ve signed up for two different volunteer positions, one I’ve not experienced before — body marking. First thing in the morning I’ll write numbers on the athletes’ arms or legs before they head out to the lake for the swim portion of the race. Then I’ll spend the last few hours of the day in my favorite place of all, the finish line to catch, sometimes literally, the last athletes to cross the finish line.
If you’ve never volunteered, believe me, it’s incredibly rewarding to be in the company of people who are achieving at the highest level. People who might not consider themselves athletes in their regular life. Maybe they’ll never do another Ironman again but on June 25 there will be people who will amaze themselves with what they’ve accomplished. And they’ll amaze me as a spectator, as well!
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Be safe, be smart and be awesome! Here’s to all of the athletes in Ironman and Hoopfest this weekend. And don’t forget to thank all of the volunteers who make such events possible. There are still openings for volunteers so sign up today at ironman.com
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In addition to Ironman and Hoopfest there are a few other places to go and things to do ...
Friday, Coeur d’Alene Chamber’s Women Creating Success conference, Cd’A Inn, 8:30 a.m.; Team Hoyt Coeur d’Alene — An Evening with Dick Hoyt, Hagadone Event Center, 5:30 p.m.; Free Movie Night at Q’emiln Park, “Sing” at 7:30 p.m. with live performance by OK-2-Botay until the movie starts at dusk.
Saturday, Mad Hatter Tea Party, Jacklin Arts and Cultural Center, 10 a.m. to noon; Ironkids Fun Run, 9 a.m., McEuen Park.
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Happy first day of summer birthdays today to Wayne Newby, Jaymee Paul, Lynda Pym, David Wold, Shirley Bade, Randy Watkins, Kelly Rice, L.C. Schell and Stephen Larson.
Joe Butler, Nathan Walker, Lynne Hamm, Camille Lang, Ronda House, Jamie Johnson, Scott Shepperd, Mike Saunders, Bianca Olson and Caitlin Parmentier celebrate Thursday.
On Friday Dawn Forest, Nancy Nick, Lynne Hammond and Carly Cline will put on their party hats. Jim Reynolds, Kathy Bush, Kimi Coles, Rhonda Ellis, Ian Sadler, John Phelps, Sara Wegner and Laura Lahr start the party on Saturday.
Joann Hildebrant, Bill Reagan, Mikki Stevens, Patty Vogt, Addison Johnson, Jim Guy, Jan Olsen, Angela Mort, Connie McGee, Kylie Gibson, Shanda Johnson, Sally Mackin and Megan Ownbey celebrate another trip around the sun on Sunday.
Putting on their party hats on Monday are Ben Wolfinger, Kit Hoffer, Rick Rasmussen, Alecia Warren, Shannon Fish, Chloe Hutter, Karen Hanson, Cathleen O’Connor, Irene Shinneman, Sheryl Snyder and Ernie Hunt.
June 27 birthdays belong to Trigger Weddle, Todd Banducci, Gayle Bolton, Leslie White, Scott Hamilton, Terri Mercer, Cherry Jones and John Goodlander.
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Kerri Rankin Thoreson is a member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists and the former publisher of the Post Falls Tribune. Main Street appears every Wednesday in The Press and Kerri can be contacted on Facebook or via email email@example.com. Follow her on Twitter @kerrithoreson