Fund drive traveling in the Pacific Northwest

SEQUIM, Wash. — My wife Joyce and I traveled 900 miles in Washington and Oregon earlier this month, raising funds for the 2006 PWW fund drive.

One rainy Sunday, we met in Seattle with B.J. Mangaoang and Irene Hull, both in their 90s, and Lonnie Healey to discuss their plans to reach the state’s $10,000 goal. All three go each week to the Labor Temple and distribute the PWW. They’re planning a spaghetti dinner in November to raise PWW funds and celebrate the Nov. 7 elections.

Irene drove with us that afternoon to visit Vi Russell, also in her 90s. She gave us a check for $1,000.

The next day we met with Will Parry, a leader of the Alliance of Retired Americans, who showed us a list of co-workers he plans to ask to contribute to the PWW.

We drove south and met for lunch in Chehalis with lifelong friends who fret and fume as furiously as we do over George W. Bush. They too contributed.

We stayed that night with my cousin and his wife in Forest Grove, Ore. Next morning, he handed me a check for $50. He has been a steady reader for a couple of years and just renewed his subscription. “Where else could I get so much news of what’s happening in Latin America?” he said.

Later, over lunch in Portland, a union organizer told us of his experience distributing a bundle of PWWs to his fellow workers every week. He too handed us a $50 check and volunteered to write for the paper.

On the spur of the moment, I called a retired Teamster, a friend of many years. “Come on out. I have a little something for you,” he said. Joyce and I headed out toward Mount Hood. We sat in his living room talking politics. As we got up to leave, he handed me $1,000 in cash, twenty $50 bills! We promised to come back.

We drove to Bay City on the Oregon coast to visit Hank Curl, now in his mid-90s. He is living with Craig and Trisha Kauffman who run “Art Space,” a gallery with one room devoted to the Museum of People’s Art which features paintings by Hank’s wife, Martina Gangl Curl. Hank, who still distributes the paper, handed me a fistful of cash — $900. In one day, we had collected $2,100, 87 percent of Oregon’s $2,500 goal.

The next morning, we drove north on Highway 101 back into Washington. Just outside Forks, an old logging town far up on the Olympic Peninsula, we visited Carl, a devoted reader I have known since childhood. He renewed his subscription and gave $200.

We arrived back on the family farm that night. My younger sister, just rehired after months of layoff, gave $50. My brother and his wife gave $600. That brought our total to $3,950. I was scratching my head over how to get it up to $4,000. My niece has been reading her mother Susan’s copy of the PWW since Susan moved in with her on the farm last year. Susan died last Jan. 24. Erika pulled out her checkbook and wrote a $50 check. Did she want $30 of her contribution to be credited as a renewal of Susan’s sub? “Oh no,” she replied. “I renewed weeks ago.”

It is a joy to visit these readers and hear their ideas on how to change the world! The PWW is a crucial “change agent” and we need to raise the full $200,000 goal to keep our presses rolling.