I had the good fortune of attending the recent Manchester Chamber Annual Awards Event. It reminded me of what a wonderful community Manchester is and how grateful Camp Courageous is to have had the community’s support since the inception of Camp Courageous.
In 1976, WMT Radio hosted the ‘World’s Largest Garage Sale” at Hawkeye Downs in Cedar Rapids to benefit Camp Courageous. Alfred Egger, a resident of Manchester, was a Camp Courageous Board Member at the time and thought he could do something similar in Manchester. Alfred’s basement became the site of the sale. I remember his home overflowing with sale items. Jackie Snyder was a big help to Alfred. Upon Alfred’s passing in 1980, Jackie took charge of the sale with the help of many. The sale then moved from vacant building to vacant building throughout Manchester, with the racks, hangers, and other necessities stored in the Snyder’s shed when not in use. Camp Courageous was fortunate to have many wonderful businesses and individuals step forward and volunteer their facilities, until the facility was sold or needed, to be used for the Camp Courageous Manchester Garage Sale.
In 1994, Loren and Connie Norby stepped forward and donated their ‘Old Creamery’ building to Camp Courageous to be used as the permanent site for the Camp Courageous Manchester Garage Sale. Nearly 20 years after its beginning, the sale finally had a home.
At the end of 2018, the next chapter in Camp Courageous Manchester Garage Sale history began with Connie Norby’s donation of the former Norby’s store, located at 1121 East Main Street in Manchester, to Camp Courageous. The Norby family is such an incredibly generous family, who cares so greatly for the communities Norby’s Farm Fleet stores serve.
It takes a very special community to wrap its arms around a project like the Camp Courageous Manchester Garage Sale. Not every community could sustain something like this for over 40 years! It has taken hundreds of dedicated volunteers to coordinate and work the sale, generous individuals to donate their personal items to be sold, and wonderful individuals to shop the sale.
Just as Camp Courageous has grown from serving 211 campers with special needs during the summer of 1974 to 9,333 individuals with special needs in 2018, the Camp Courageous Manchester Garage Sale has grown from being open a few weekends in the summer to being open half the year, as well as from a good fundraiser to Camp’s largest fundraiser most years.
As we begin the next chapter in Camp Courageous Manchester Garage Sale history, we want to extend our most sincere appreciation to the community of Manchester for the heartwarming support they have provided Camp Courageous for decades.
We wish them nothing but success in the future!
Charlie Becker, Executive Director