Second annual fundraiser benefits Alpha Resource Center
“I did it! I did it!” exclaimed a member of the Alpha Resource Center after he alongside his other team members pulled a plane 20 feet across the tarmac at the Santa Barbara Airport.
The energy was infectious Saturday morning as families and fans gathered to witness the second annual Plane Pull Fundraiser for Alpha Resource Center.
The Alpha Resource Center is a local foundation that focuses on the vocational and personal development of individuals with intellectual disabilities. According to their website (alphasb.org), their mission is to “empower individuals with intellectual and similar developmental disabilities to make their mark on the world.”
The foundation was created in 1953 by Edna Dahl and other mothers who had children with intellectual disabilities. The goal was to educate and enhance the lives of their children in a world where disabilities were looked down upon.
This competition had its inaugural year in 2022 as members from the community as well as the Santa Barbara Airport came together to find a unique way to support the resource center.
The main sponsor of the event, Alaska Airlines, provided a 737 airplane to pull for the participants. The competition was to see which team could pull the plane 20 feet in the shortest amount of time, a difficult task to say the least.
“Alaska Airlines is happy to partner with Alpha Resource Center for this event. We hope we can help bring healthy competition and fun to the crowd!” shared Candace Lay, the community relations coordinator for Alaska Airlines.
24 teams registered for the event, with participants ranging from Santa Barbara fire fighters to local families in the community to members of the Alpha Resource Center.
“Seeing the community come together and support the center is amazing,” shared Chris Harris, the President of the Alpha Resource Center. “This is a big year for Alpha,” he explained, “It is our 70th anniversary this year. That’s 70 years of making a huge difference in the lives of the participants.”
Mr. Harris, who has been involved with the resource center for many years, explained the importance of this foundation to the community before the start of the event. He mentioned that “the center is a place for residents of Santa Barbara to come together and help those with intellectual disabilities thrive in the modern world.”
The event commenced with the national anthem and the presenting of the colors by the Santa Barbara color guard.
Santa Barbara resident and previous host of “Double Dare” on Nickelodeon and “Unwrapped” on the Food Network, Mark Summers, MC’d the event. His commentary of the event added smiles and laughter throughout the day.
There were two divisions, one that consisted of most of the teams, and then another specifically designated for the public safety officers.
“It was fun to be out here to show our support!” exclaimed the members of the Santa Barbara police department after they pulled the plane.
“This was such a wonderful event and knowing that the money raised today is going to make such a huge impact on the members of the center is incredible,” said Jillian Hurin, a local Santa Barbara community resident who came to watch the plane be pulled.
After a few hours of plane pulling, the event concluded with the announcement of the winners.
The Santa Barbara Airport team – nicknamed FlySB – won in the open division and the Santa Barbara County firefighters won in the public safety division.
According to Jeff Hansen, the event’s coordinator and Director of Development, over $55k was raised for the center. The money is going to meet the needs of many members within the program and to be a continued help for the thriving of the foundation.
Those wishing to make a contribution to the Alpha Resource Center, you can make donations at https://www.igivetoalpha.org/.