Several staff members at Saddleback Communications, came up with an idea to give back to a worthy cause by participating in the 2012 Arizona Bedrace, which was held on February 25 at the Tempe Marketplace.
The race is put on by Bridging AZ Furniture Bank, a nonprofit organization similar to a food bank that collects donations of beds, other furniture and household items for local families in need. They also help to provide clean and comfortable beds for children through a mattress recycling program. Their goal is to acquire 5,000 beds over the next five years.
Saddleback Communications employees entering the bed race were Ron Thomas, Jullian Makil, Scott Cundiff, Jimmy Chavez and Phenecia Padilla.
“I’m always trying to get Saddleback Communications noticed in efforts throughout the Community,” said Thomas. “Saddleback has always supported the Community in such events as the Thanksgiving dinner, the Christmas program, sponsoring a family during the holidays and the annual Red Mountain Half Marathon relay. I was looking for something different for Saddleback to promote, and I came across the Arizona Bedrace while attending the Arizona Taco Festival in Old Town Scottsdale.”
Thomas began communicating with one of the founders of Bridging AZ, Jim Piscopo. “At first, I thought it would just be a fun thing to do, although after talking with Jim it gave me a better understanding of what the Arizona Bedrace is all about: providing furniture to underprivileged individuals or families in the Valley.”
Thomas’s reaction was “What a unique idea!”
“When someone is in need, food and money come to mind. Bridging Arizona takes the idea of giving to a whole other level, providing the essentials to living a comfortable life.
“Coming to this realization, I approached the CEO of Saddleback Communications, Bill Bryant, and suggested Saddleback sponsor a bed. After explaining how fun it would be to participate, in addition to supporting Bridging AZ’s cause, he agreed.”
After he got the go-ahead, Thomas began to put together a team of four bed racers and one rider from the Saddleback Communications staff. The race involved 26 teams competing on wheeled beds. The four “pushers” on each team pushed their bed and rider 100 yards up the street, then stopped for all team members to run around their beds, and then headed back to the starting line. Prizes were given out for the fastest time, best costumes and theme, people’s choice, the most money raised, and for finishing “almost” in first place.
“With the support of Saddleback, we were ready to race, [although with] this being our first time we were uncertain of the challenge ahead. Completing our first heat gave us a quick realization of just what we were facing. After completing our first heat we ended up in first [place], and moved into round two,” said Thomas.
“Although, sad to say, our bed racing ended when we were defeated by a team sponsored by ASU.” All in all, Saddleback’s team had a great time, getting some exercise while supporting a great cause.
Thomas and his team hope that they can make the Arizona Bedrace an annual event for Saddleback to sponsor in the future. “We now realize that this event should not be taken lightly and there should be some physical training involved. Overall, Saddleback did an awesome job in racing and collecting donations for Bridging AZ.”
Thomas would like to thank Saddleback CEO Bill Bryant, Toni Harvier and the SRPMIC Donation Committee for allowing them to solicit other enterprises and businesses for sponsorships. He also thanks Thomas “TJ” Jackson of Inline Communications for his support, and the Saddleback Communications staff and families for their support and efforts before and after the race.
“We had a great time and hope to do it again next year,” said Thomas.
After the bed race, everyone enjoyed live entertainment and a block party in the Tempe Marketplace.
Saddleback Communications is an enterprise of the Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community.