April 7, 2010–The Philadelphia Phillies’ opening day came and went this year with several noticeable differences. Polanco at the hot corner and Halladay on the mound were new sights but it was something less visible that made the Phillies first season opening win in four years bittersweet for some fans.
When the Phillies emerged victorious in an 11-1 romp over the Washington Nationals on April 5, 2010 it was without their voice of nearly forty years.
Nearly one year ago, the Philadelphia Phillies’ Hall of Fame announcer, Harry Kalas collapsed in the Nationals Park press box at approximately 12:30 pm on April 13, 2009, just a few hours before the Washington Nationals’ home opener against the Phillies. Kalas had touched the lives of millions of Philadelphians as the longtime play-by-play voice of the Philadelphia Phillies.
In a heartfelt demonstration of affection for Kalas, a group of friends formed the non-profit group Dear Harry, Inc. to fund and build a permanent monument to Kalas that they will gift to the Philadelphia Phillies upon completion. Lead by acclaimed bronze sculptor and longtime Phillies fan Lawrence Nowlan, the group has been raising funds for the effort since November and are more than one-quarter of the way to their goal.
“Social media and a website that accepts contributions to the effort have gotten us this far,” said Suzanne Norris, Development Director for the organization, who adds that Dear Harry, Inc. is now exploring more aggressive ways to raise the remaining funds. “First, we’re throwing a one-of-a-kind party followed closely by one-of-a-kind opportunities for companies to contribute.”
PARTY ON, HARRY
On April 23 at 7:30pm, supporters of the Harry Kalas Memorial statue are invited to gather at McFadden’s at Citizens Bank Park for a combination game watching party, fundraiser and celebration of the life of Harry Kalas. Former friends and family of Kalas are sure to be on hand to recall stories of Harry in and out of the broadcast booth and comedian and impersonator Joe Conklin will be making an appearance.
The evening that includes some great food and drink specials offered by McFadden’s will also feature live music by regional favorites HOLT45 and appearances by the Philadelphia Passion Lingerie Football Team as well as other surprise guests. The Phillies are on the road playing the Arizona Diamondbacks that evening so spirits will be high as all cheer on the team and recall a Philadelphia icon.
The evening will also feature a silent auction with amazing items up for grabs and all proceeds benefiting Dear Harry, Inc. Sports memorabilia from Ryan Howard, Shane Victorino, and Mike Schmidit are accompanied by tickets to U2, Jimmy Buffett, Dave Matthews Band and Lady Gaga concerts and so much more. Tickets to the Harry Kalas party at McFadden’s are $10 online at harrykalasstatue.com or $20 at the door on the day of the event.
GIVING HARRY THE BUSINESS
The group is able to accept tax-deductible corporate donations for the Kalas memorial statue through a partnership with the Philadelphia Sports Hall of Fame who is also donating a portion of their proceeds from their Annual Golf Tournament to Dear Harry, Inc.
Now, however, businesses that donate at least $500 will join the Friends of Harry Club and receive a limited edition custom plaque. Companies donating $5000 or more will receive a 22″ bronze cast of the actual Harry Kalas memorial statue. Dear Harry, Inc. is only creating sixteen of the limited edition bronzes which will be compelling, collectible keepsakes and conversation pieces for any company or business with ties to Philadelphia, the Phillies or Harry Kalas.
Dear Harry, Inc. requires at least $80,000 to complete the sculpture, which is well underway. Fans can view the statue’s progress and can contribute to the Harry Kalas Memorial Statue by visiting http://www.harrykalasstaue.com. Checks made payable to Dear Harry, Inc can be sent to Dear Harry, Inc., c/o Muntz Financial, 25 Skippack Pike, Suite 204, Broad Axe, PA 19002 and ten dollar donations can be made instantly by texting HARRY to 20222.
About Dear Harry, Inc.
The day after Harry Kalas died a petition on Facebook seeking support for a statue to be erected in Kalas’ honor and memory was started. One of the nearly 20,000 Facebook members that have signed the petition was Philadelphia native and acclaimed sculptor, Lawrence Nowlan. Inspired by the groundswell of support, Nowlan gathered a small group of friends to strategize a way to turn this dream into a reality. The non-profit group, Dear Harry, Inc. was formed as the organizational entity whose current singular mission is to promote, fund and execute a memorial to Harry Kalas. Visit www.harrykalasstatue.com for more information and to follow the statue’s progress.
About the Artist
Nationally renowned sculptor, Lawrence J. Nowlan is an independent artist who draws inspiration from the past while working in a modern sensibility of style. Nowlan, whose interest in sculpture came by a chance encounter with the works of Auguste Rodin at the artist’s famous Philadelphia museum. Nowlan was born and raised in Philadelphia and graduated with a BA from Millersville University in 1987 followed by an MA at the New York Academy of Art, Graduate School of Figurative Art in 1996. His distinctive commissioned figures and reliefs can be seen throughout the country and Ireland..