“Captain Reconnect” and the Walla Gang

Mike Betts

Mike Betts holding the official Walla-Pa-Looza guitar that was raffled off at the event.

Over the past couple of years, I have had a ton of friends come back into my life and it has been incredible. One of those friends is Mike Betts. Mike has gone through so much over the past year that it is nice to see him bounce back. He has a great job at Motor Werks in Barrington and is starting to find his way again. My new joke with Mike is that because of Facebook he has been able to reconnect with old friends and make new ones. Because of that, I decided to give him a new nick name so, I nick named him “Captain Reconnect”. The “Captain” and I hadn’t really spoke in about 20 something years. In fact, I had to remind him that at one point in the past I was sitting at Fox Hole eating dinner and he walked right by me! He doesn’t remember it so I will give him a pass, but I am incredibly happy he is in my life again and I hope to have him as my closest buddy until we are old and gray.

Oh, wait, we are both bald so, just old!

Today I am writing about Mike because he lost his father a few years ago to cancer. Mike’s father had brain tumors and the doctors could not do anything for him. So when I posted a note on Facebook asking for volunteers, Mike was one of the first people to step up.

Original Walla-Pa-Looza Note on FaceBook

Original Walla-Pa-Looza Note on Facebook

See, it was important for him to do something to raise awareness – but Mike has a different story too.

The Betts family is currently involved in the McCullom Lake Cancer Cluster lawsuit. I have some information on what is taking place because I happen to own a rental property in the village. But it wasn’t until I took a ride around the area with Mike pointing out the places his relatives lived did I realize the seriousness of it. All of those relatives lived in one particular area. You can connect the dots, read the local papers, or just take a ride with Mike one day if you can’t figure it out, but it’s scary folks. I have posted a link below for you to take a look later on so you can understand the seriousness.

Walla-Pa-Looza is important to Mike because he wants to make a difference. I joked with Mike this past summer about making time in between announcements at our 2009 summer event to take out the trash and clean the toilets but he wouldn’t have cared. He just wanted to be part of something that was so important to him. I love him for his dedication and loyalty.

Although I lost a mother in law and a grandmother to cancer, Mike has lost an entire part of his family tree. I couldn’t even imagine the heartbreak they went through because if you ever met the Betts family you would know how important family really is. I was fortunate enough to witness what a kind and caring family they are first hand at Mike’s surprise birthday party.

As you can see we all have our reasons to do something to raise money for cancer and cancer research. Mike does his part, and you can too. Just contact us for more information on how you can help.

Here’s a link to the story on the McCullom Lake Cancer Cluster.


  • GREAT post Craig! I have read some of the stories about the cancer cluster and it’s very disturbing. I’m sad to hear that Mike’s family is involved in any of it. It’s awful to think that anyone gets cancer, but it’s even more heart breaking when it’s someone you love & care about. We will do our best to make it to Walla this year!

    Comment by Terri Jacobs — February 15, 2010 @ 8:13 am

  • Craig, thank you for taking the time to tell my story.

    I was hesitant at first because I just did not want the attention and was waiting to go to trial before discussing this, but as you know our cancer stories must be told. These stories are our “Truths” and we must share them.

    The night of Linda’s party as I was pulling up at the Moose I received a text from my brother that my Aunt had died and there goes another branch of my tree. I did not say anything because as you and all my friends know I am a glass half full at all times. I am so proud to be a part of the Walla gang and the inspiration and motivation it brings to be a part of a collective group that volunteers and tries it’s hardest to make a difference and I ask everyone out there that reads this to take a moment and ask themselves “can I do more?” and “am I happy just watching from the sidelines?”

    We all have busy family lives and we all work but if you find one day of the year out of 365 days to volunteer for something I promise your life and outlook on life will change.

    So when your walking your path of life just take a moment pull up your sleeves and step off your path and make a new one.

    May you all feel as blessed as I do,

    Captain Reconnect

    Comment by Mike Betts — February 15, 2010 @ 10:21 am

  • Since May of last year, we have involved ourselves in this wonderful endeavor to assist families in need in our community thru the Walla-Pa-Looza Organization and its volunteers. I personally have attended meetings and helped out when asked. We admire how the volunteers, and now friends, have worked so hard to make this an Organization to be very proud of. So many of the volunteers have gone above and beyond what has been asked of them to do. All of the sincere efforts have been greatly rewarded with donations to help our cause. With over 1,000 fans just on facebook alone, we have volunteers who have dealt with cancer themselves or because of a loved ones stepping up to be a part of Walla. We all feel this worthy cause will prosper greatly and with the younger generations involved shall go forth with love, caring, and determination to assist as many families as possible every year. Thank you all for including me. I deeply appreciate being part of something that means so much to so many. God bless all of you volunteers.

    Comment by Mom Wallace — February 15, 2010 @ 1:56 pm

  • So many of us complain about the little things without taking a moment to realize that those things do not matter. I lost my grandmother (who at times was more of a mother to me than my own mother) to cancer and I would not wish that pain upon anyone. Thank you for telling the story Craig; it was very inspiring. I will certainly be watching for the next event information and will be offering my help in any way.

    Comment by Micklyn Kent — February 15, 2010 @ 8:11 pm

  • Chris, my wife just went through breast cancer over the last year or so. I would love to help out somehow. I know my company’s foundation will gift grants to stuff like this, but I have to apply for them the quarter before the event. Please contact me and get me involved as much as possible. My business partner is the guitar player from Hans & the Hormones too if that is of any interest. My contact info is on Facebook. I am uber-busy, but WILL help!

    Comment by Frank Schoen — February 16, 2010 @ 8:43 am

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