The Guy Who Puts the IT into CharITy

Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy

Nick Burns, Your Company's Computer Guy

Craig has decided to take a brief break from blogging and has asked some of the volunteers to take the helm while he’s on break. I decided to take him up on the offer because, being pretty competitive, I want to prove that I can do at least as good a job as him. After all, I am an IT guy.

If you watch Star Trek, I’m like the Spock to Craigs melodramatic Kirk. I lend a cold, calculating and sometimes impatient hand to his posts as "executive editor" and "blog poster". Yep, I set up a sweet system for him to post without my help and he still sends me Microsoft Word files that I have to move into the blog and link everything up to make sure you guys can find the resources that he is talking about. See, I want to make sure the Walla-Pa-Looza web experience is one in which you have the information that goes along with his mushy “wanting to save the world” ramblings.

I’ve been thinking about what to post here and figured the best thing to do would be to talk about how I got involved with Walla-Pa-Looza and what I’ve learned over the past year.

I remembered Craig from high school and friended him on Facebook because of that – but I don’t remember ever actually meeting him before our first Walla meeting. According to him, he hung out with the same people I did. Go figure – I don’t remember us actually hanging out or anything. I guess I was too busy doing peoples homework in computer class. Looking back, I really should have done MY homework instead. I passed that class, if I remember correctly, with a D. In any event – I was watching his posts and reading his notes – but as far as I had known I had never met him.

Nick Bionda, one of my best friends in high school, called me about providing web space for the group. Nick, Craig and a rag-tag group of volunteers were planning this big event for August 1, and since I had donated web space for another friend of ours, he wanted to find out if I was interested in doing it again for the Walla folks.

Obviously I said yes.

I worked with Kevin to put up the original version of the web site. Ok, I didn’t really work at all – I just told him what to do. More accurately, I told him what I thought he did wrong after he did it – thats just how us IT people work. After a while, I started to take over so that Kevin could focus on other things. He did a great job, but he had way more important work to do – and I guess I am a bit of a control freak.

When we had our first meeting about the August 1 event, I finally got to meet everyone. I remember sitting in the parking lot of the Johnsburg Community Club being nervous. I have no idea why. Looking back, I think it was that I knew I had no skills in the area of sales, sponsorships, or whatever they were doing and what they had put together so far was pretty impressive. Hell, as an IT guy I don’t even have people skills. When it came right down to it, I just wasn’t sure I had anything to contribute.

What I found when I walked into the club was a bunch of people that had found something that I had been looking for – a way to make a difference. More than that – they were trying to make a difference and have fun at the same time. They were excited, motivated, and if I may say, quite effective. In about 30 days they had the building blocks of a pretty large charitable event – and it was going to rock the Johnsburg area in a big way.

Over the past year, in one way or another, I’ve participated in three events with this group and I found there were things I could contribute. Whether it was selling tickets, serving pizza, emptying trash, or just showing up, participating and donating. Even the act of writing a blog entry so the chairman can get a rest from his lengthy commute downstairs to his office is something that matters. I feel like I’m making a difference, no matter how small.

There are three things that I’ve taken away from this last year or so of being involved in Walla-Pa-Looza that I’d like to share with you:

  1. You can’t do it alone. You need good friends in your life. People you care about and who care about you. If you’re lucky, you’ll find (or re-find) a group of people like those I’ve been lucky enough to reconnect with.
  2. "It is our turn". Craig has said this a few times in the past year and its stuck with me. It’s our generations turn to help. To make a difference. To have an impact on people who need help. No matter how small the contribution, it’s a contribution and its needed. There’s a lot of hurt in the world. We need to do whatever we can to help.
  3. You can help people and have fun at the same time. While what your working on may be serious, the way to deal with the seriousness is to have fun with the people you are doing it with. I can honestly say, while this group takes what it does very seriously, there is a real sense of fun in what they do – and thats a great quality to have in the people you contribute with and gets the best out of everyone.

If you’d like to get involved in Walla-Pa-Looza, as a sponsor, a volunteer, or just to do “little things” to help, contact one of the folks on our contact page. If you would rather just donate, we have a place for that too. Remember, every little bit helps – no matter how insignificant you might think your contribution is, it can have a significant effect on someone you may not even know.

I hope to see you on July 31 for Walla-Pa-Looza 2010. It’s going to be a great time for a great cause. When you get there, come over and say "Hi". I’ll be the cranky looking guy in the purple shirt staring at his phone.

Live long and prosper, and remember – as a very wise man once said, "the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few … or the one".


  • Ron for the win- at least this week. Nice encapsulation of the past year. That very wise man also had something very poignant to say about friendship as well.

    Comment by Kevin — March 29, 2010 @ 8:35 am

  • Awesome Blog Mr Bieber! One of things that really struck me as well was Craigs bringing up that it was our generations responsibility to get involved and help and he is so right. I am grateful to now have you all back in my life.

    Best Wishes to you and Jonna!

    Comment by Mike Betts — March 29, 2010 @ 9:08 am

  • Kev – don’t leave us hanging – give us the friendship quote!

    Comment by Ron Bieber — March 29, 2010 @ 11:26 am

  • Well, Spock, nicely done! Without going on a full on babble-fest, I’ll just say I agree with you. You can’t do go through life alone. That’s something I learned this year too. Another was that people aren’t as self centered and selfish as they seem. (live and drive in a tourist town and you learn the worst about people real quick) It’s good to know that there is a softness in most people’s hearts – either that or I just hit the jackpot in finding a bunch of them in one place! Either way, great post. Glad to have gotten the chance to meet ya.

    Comment by Wendy — March 29, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

  • so much for a short post……

    Comment by Wendy — March 29, 2010 @ 5:38 pm

  • First of all, I didn’t say I wasn’t either self-centered, selfish, or even mean – and I take “great umbrage” at the insinuation that I have a soft spot in my heart. Please stop trying to make me look bad to the people I work with.

    Seriously though Wendy, not sure if you know this, but I think we knew each other in the old days … either that or you were doing other peoples homework and didn’t notice. If so, no offense … been there.

    Comment by Ron Bieber — March 29, 2010 @ 5:48 pm

  • I’m like the Spock to Craig’s melodramatic Kirk.

    But do you have a death grip?

    Comment by Matthew Dragon — March 29, 2010 @ 6:12 pm

  • Great job as a guest blogger Ron! I am so happy to be part of the Wallas. It has been a pleasure having old friends and new friends in my life this past year and how all of us are trying to make the world a better place.

    Comment by Robin — March 29, 2010 @ 6:39 pm

  • From the land of sunny skies and sunburned families. Thank You. I would gladly match your $100.00 donation! You have done an incredible job as our IT MAN.

    Thanks, and I will see you soon…


    Comment by Chairman — March 29, 2010 @ 6:55 pm

  • Other people’s homework… hell I didn’t even do my own!! I’ll chalk it up to me being clueless – and instead will rephrase my above comment. Glad to have gotten the chance to meet ya…AGAIN!

    Oh … and sorry for blowing your cover, hard ass! ;)

    Comment by Wendy — March 29, 2010 @ 7:32 pm

  • So proud to be your employee! You have “the stuff”, and it makes me so happy to see you doing something like this that you have a passion for, that is helping others in a big way, and that you are truly talented at doing. As always, you are inspiring me to keep forging ahead with my own charitable endeavors, and feel my way through the unknown. Slowly but surely we are going to “create beauty and leave it behind”, as a wise nun recently suggested to me. Ryan and I will be making every effort to attend again this year – we’re excited to be a part of this great cause!

    Comment by Lori — March 29, 2010 @ 10:02 pm

  • Ok, Craig…being one of my best friends…I love reading his blogs every week, not to mention listening to him everyday!! BUT…Ron, you did an awesome job and definately you are a winner!! I loved it and you are a great blogger! I think that maybe we should pass the blog stick around the walla clan!! We all have so much to share about our incredible group of Walla-pa-looza er’s! good job on all of this and I cant wait to start helping you out know how I am and Im a control freak too, so maybe together we will be BIG IT FREAKS!! except I dont like Star Trek..WALLA IS CHOICE!!!

    Comment by Sheryl Smith — March 31, 2010 @ 12:51 am

  • You don’t like Star Trek? How did you get into IT? I thought that was the first two years of classes you had to take. I gotta go make some calls …

    Comment by Ron Bieber — March 31, 2010 @ 7:05 am