With the summer starting to really heat up, Christmas may be the last thing many want to think about, but for Cheryl Dial and those around her, preparations for its arrival are in full swing. For those that don’t know the Dial’s, you may remember several articles written about them last November and December.
Jimmy and Cheryl Dial owned the Flaherty Bar for years and organized a toy drive every year for the children of those struggling in our community at Christmas. Late last year, Jimmy passed away unexpectedly right before the toy drive was set to begin. Despite being heartbroken and grieving with less than two months until Christmas, Cheryl held firm in regards to the toy drive continuing in honor of her husband—a man who’s love for Christmas stood polar opposite to that of the Grinch. With the support from patrons, friends, family and the community, Cheryl was able to guide the most successful toy drive ever across the finish line, ensuring a beautiful Christmas for so many children in our community.
Despite the record setting number of toys collected last year, she vowed to break the record again this year with the lofty goal of 1,000 toys. When interviewed last year and asked how she was going to outdo the remarkable amount of gifts donated, she said, “We are going to have to get started early.”
A woman of her word, the elves started planning early this year in the southern part of this county. On a recent Saturday, the first fundraiser for the toy drive kicked off to a resounding success.
At 11 a.m. that morning, over twenty motorcycles and forty plus people pulled out of Flaherty’s to begin a Memorial Poker Run that stretched over 100 miles. They would make stops at Little Dave’s in Rough River, Clark’s Tavern in Rhodelia, and The Shop in Brandenburg, wearing fluorescent orange t-shirts that not only honored the event but had a list of those who have passed away on the back. With the owner’s of all three aforementioned establishments making contributions to the cause and a safe, successful ride behind them, all those on the poker run pulled back into Flaherty’s a little after 4 p.m. where many more members of the community had already congregated to take part in the day’s events.
Pork butts, turkeys and a leg of lamb had been smoked the day before for the event and were combined with a large selection of crock pots, side dishes and desserts that made for a potluck style meal well worth attendance on its own. Throughout the rest of the day and evening, 50/50 drawings, silent auctions, t-shirt sales, corn hole tournaments and donations took place, offering attendees not only the opportunity to contribute to a great cause but to have a great time doing it as well.
Once the dust had settled, over $5,000 has already been raised from just that one event. I think it is safe to say that the big man that started this all is smiling down from above. His wife is well on her way to meeting that lofty goal of 1,000 toys for Christmas 2021 thanks to the love, genorosity and support from a group of blue collar men and women who are never shy away from opening their wallets/purses to help out those in need.