OK, so it's probably a little cheesy, dragging family into the campaign. But it's also probably effective. Here's a pretty unique fundraising message from David Harmer, a former Utahn who's running for Congress in California's 11th District (here's his web site: http://www.harmerforcongress.com):
Benjamin, my robust eight-year-old, attacks life with such gusto that he's become a frequent patron of Kaiser's minor injury clinic and emergency room. In fact, he's on a first-name basis with several of the doctors, nurses, and support staff there. To his history of burns, broken bones, and stitches, he recently added a new injury: a stab wound. To the thigh. With a pocketknife. Through his jeans. Self-inflicted.
Home when it happened, I heard him shriek and came running.
"Benjamin," I said, a bit crossly, dressing the wound, "what were you doing playing with a knife? And why on earth did you stab yourself?"
"I was trying to get the quarters out," he answered, and he pointed toward one of his most prized possessions: his Statehood Quarters Collector's Album. It lay open on the floor, with about half the quarters missing. Next to each empty slot on the 50-state map was a small gouge mark, about the size and shape that a boy trying to pry out a quarter with a pocketknife might leave.
"The quarters aren't supposed to come out," I said. "Collecting means you save them."
"But I wanted to give them to your campaign," he explained.
"Ben, you don't have to do that."
"But I want to, Dad."
I gave him a hug, carried him to the Suburban, and watched as Elayne drove off, heading for the hospital.
Returning to Ben's room, I found, next to the Statehood Quarters Collector's Album, a response card for one of our fundraising events. (I had sent an invitation to each of the kids, wanting them to feel included and important.) Ben had carefully completed the card, writing his name and address, and even filling in the blank for the amount of his contribution: $12.50. With no money in his piggy bank, he had decided to give the only cash he had: his quarter collection.
Now, Ben's is the only injury I know of that resulted from our fundraising drive. But his willingness to sacrifice for the cause of freedom exemplifies the spirit of this campaign. I have been humbled and inspired by the generosity of our supporters, over 1200 of whom rose to the challenge and assured that we attained our first-quarter goals. I'll provide a full report next week, but for now, please know that with your help, the campaign is off to a remarkably strong start.
P.S. I didn't have the heart to accept Ben's quarter collection; over his objections, I returned it. But he has made three subsequent contributions: $2.10 that he earned from a neighbor; $1.00 that Jonas gave him for trading chores and emptying the dishwasher; and $5.00 that Grandma Harmer sent in his Easter card. So I'm proud to report that our first-quarter fundraising totals include $8.10 from Ben.
If you haven't yet contributed the legal maximum, please join Ben in giving as much as you can. You'll be in very good company.