We Kare-eoke

A Report on the Evening

 

     Hundreds of people attended the four-hour event at Union Jack’s in Bethesda on December 22.  Stone’s good friend John Gurdian and Holt’s good friend Anna Brownstein together emceed the evening.  All ages sang and performed -- some solos, some groups.  There was so much love and support.  And there were

many tears.


     Linton spoke first, “We thank all of Stone’s and Holt’s friends, all of our friends, who have really made this happen tonight.  We thank our partner organizations, all of whom Stone and Holt believed in.  We thank the Community Foundation and Kenny Emson.  We thank Union Jack’s for participating in a night like this.  We thank Vince Higdon the DJ, John and Anna our wonderful emcees, Esther Adams for her inspirational speech and a special thank you to Caroline Lacey who worked tirelessly.  We thank all of the volunteers and all of you who have given your time and money and attention to causes greater than any of us.


     Then Jan spoke, “And I repeat.  Thank you all so much for being here.  For supporting us, for supporting Stone, and Holt, and our Foundation and for supporting We Kare-eoke.

     I wanted to say a few words, but I know that if I look at you, I won’t be able to, so I have to read them.

     You can only try to imagine how difficult this is for us.  How difficult every day, every night, every moment is now. 

     We may appear strong, but we are only trying to be brave.

     Someone who knows, said to me,  “No one should have to endure pain so excruciating, so torturous.”  And she is right.


     So many of you have understood how to handle us, how to be gentle and tender with us and to take on our suffering with us.  Stone’s friends, Holt’s friends, our friends.  You have created a community of love and support, and you, and this Foundation have kept us tethered to this world, this world that Stone and Holt loved so deeply, and enjoyed so immensely, and desperately wanted to make a better place for everyone.

     So of course, we are here for Stone and for Holt.  To remember them.  To send them all of our love.  And to try and carry on their hopes, their dreams, their Spirits.

     We feel them here, with everything they loved.  Friends, music, meaningfulness.

     They loved singing karaoke and they loved helping out others.

     To honor them, let’s do what they would, and what they would want us to.  Let’s sing with all our hearts and let’s do good with all our hearts.

     We love you all.”


    More than 30 sang karaoke songs. We ran out of time for all the others who signed up to sing.  We thank awesome and generous volunteers and sponsors who donated talents, and prizes. 


     The event raised $9,000 that was divided evenly among the partner organizations: The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society, ReBuilding Together of Washington DC and Environment America. The Stone and Holt Weeks Foundation presented each organization with an additional $3,000.


     Beautiful speeches were made by the organizations’ representatives.  Each of the three announced meaningful, and creative memorial awards that honor Stone and Holt and the work that they did in their brief lives.     

    

     In appreciation for Holt’s work at Walter Johnson High School The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society established a traveling trophy award in Holt’s name and in memory of Holt and Stone.  As a junior in WJ’s leadership class, Holt helped to create and named the successful fundraiser Triple P (Pennies for Patients Pong).  As a senior intern for the class the next year, Holt worked to improve it.  It has become a school tradition and regularly wins LLS’s high school challenge. The

Holt Weeks Trailblazers Challenge award trophy will go from year to year to the high school which shows the most creativity and originality in fundraising for LLS.   “Each year the school that wins The Holt Weeks Trailblazers Cup will have its name engraved onto the Cup which will reside at the winning school until the next Challenge year.”  It will include a $1000 donation to that school’s fundraising efforts for LLS.


     Rebuilding Together of Washington DC announced an annual volunteer of the year award in recognition of Stone’s and Holt’s volunteering,.  It will be named The Green Hammer Award in honor of Stone and Holt Weeks and will recognize the outstanding and enthusiastic service of a volunteer in memory of Stone and Holt, ...”who were enthusiastic, committed community volunteers to the Washington, DC community.”  Also, the volunteer selected “will have advanced Rebuilding Together’s commitment to make all the homes we work on in future years as environmentally ‘green’ as possible.”  This award will also include a $1000 donation to Rebuilding Together of Washington DC.   It will be presented each spring at the annual meeting at St. Columba’s Episcopal Church, where both boys were involved and where Rebuilding Together was first founded as

Christmas in April.


     Environment America spoke of its connection to Stone, presenting a photograph and plaque which recognized Stone’s research and work with Douglas Brinkley drawing public attention to the attempted private sale of Texas’s Christmas Mountains, a public land trust.  Public reaction saved the Christmas Mountains.  A letter of appreciation written by Environment Texas's Luke Metzger was read.  Then Environment America announced the Stone and Holt Weeks Recruiting Award, an annual award that will acknowledge and reward the person “who finds and recruits the largest number of successful fellows in our 2 Year Fellows Program and other young people to work in the organization. ... We thought it fitting that your sons be honored by the work of people who go out and find, recruit and motivate young men and women like them who want to do ‘good works’.”    This award will come with a $1000 donation to Environment America.


     At the end of the night, the entire room -- with many on stage together -- sang “All You Need is Love.”


     Stone and Holt would want others to volunteer and engage in the world to make it a better place for everyone.