Trail Blazing Sams
The Trail Blazing Sams turned out for last year’s Florida Samborees in full force, enthusiastically taking part in activities and volunteering hundreds of hours behind the scenes. The chapter assisted with RV parking, led the morning walk and ran the indoor and outdoor games, from cribbage and Mexican train dominoes to horseshoes and bocce ball. In typical shipshape fashion, they constructed an elaborate pirate vessel that won first place in the Samboree parade, then went above and beyond donating gift cards for door prizes.
The chapter takes advantage of Florida’s well-attended Samborees to raise money for favorite causes. At last year’s events, they sold bottled water, hot chocolate and flea market items, and sponsored a pet in the dog walk, raising $639 for Oregon’s Dogs for the Deaf and $172 for Florida Guide Dogs for the Deaf. Throughout 2013 the chapter also donated $150 each to the Wounded Warrior Project, the Suncoast Hospice Foundation, the Friends of Joshua House Foundation and the James A. Haley Veterans Hospital Fisher House Foundation.
To brighten the lives of seniors and veterans, chapter members gave hundreds of handcrafted shawls, lap robes and bed-size afghans to HPH Hospice and Bay Pines VA Hospital, along with angels to hang on patients’ doors. For new mothers and infants, members crocheted 33 baby blankets and more than a hundred baby hats for the Women’s Center at Seven Rivers Regional Medical Center.
Over the years the Trail Blazing Sams have contributed $18,000 in aluminum pull-tabs to Shriners Hospitals for Children, including 71 pounds’ worth in 2013, but that’s just for starters. Last year the chapter collected Box Tops for Education for a local elementary school, old phones and phone accessories for the Citrus County Abuse Shelter Association, greeting cards for St. Jude’s Ranch for Children and household items for St. Vincent de Paul. Members also donated several boxes of school supplies to the Hillsborough Education Foundation, 20 new toys to the Salvation Army’s Our Angel Tree program and 65 Easter baskets to Shriners Hospitals.
Doing more than their share for the environment, the Trail Blazing Sams have kept South Mobley Road litter free since 2005, as part of Hillsborough County’s Adopt-a-Road program. Last year alone chapter members picked up 1,220 pounds of trash and hauled out everything from hubcaps to a basketball hoop. Members also volunteered 189 hours clearing trails and removing evasive plants at Rye Preserve and Key State Park.
Spreading the Good Samaritan spirit to tens of thousands of RV enthusiasts at the state fairgrounds last year, members volunteered 500 hours at the Florida RV SuperShow, serving refreshments, handing out door prizes and promoting the Good Sam Club all the while.