Generosity came to the house Thursday evening with four-week-old Gus at the center of attention. A little guy with a big attitude, Gus is a mustache attached to Greg Schwanke, a 2001 FHS graduate and M4K Omaha participant.
In May of each year, seven years running, Gus takes on a life of his own fueled by Greg’s enthusiasm, a charitable frame of mind, and unwavering dedication. He’s a force to be reckoned with.
Greg and his sidekick join more than three hundred men to form Mustaches for Kids Omaha. This volunteer organization strives to have fun while growing mustaches and raising money for local children’s charities. May kicks off with the “clean shave” followed by fun-filled weekly check-ins including Magnum PI Night. The competition concludes four weeks later at the highly anticipated ‘Stache Bash. Finally, “grower” awards and the generosity of donors are revealed.
For a Good Cause
This year, M4K Omaha partnered with Special Olympics Nebraska in hopes of expanding their Unified Sports Program to area schools.
Unified Sports joins people with and without intellectual disabilities on the same team. A concept inspired by a simple principle: training together and playing together is a quick path to friendship, understanding, and inclusion.
Bowling was the first Unified Sport implemented throughout Nebraska schools in 2016. The FHS Unified Bowling Team, comprised of twenty-two high schoolers, rolled to a first-place finish in districts one year later.
Greg would spare nothing to beat his personal best of $7200 in contributions. Kim Wilch suggested a bowling fundraiser and got the ball rolling as Gus gained momentum.
The Community Rallies for M4K Omaha
Without hesitation, Terry Synovec, owner of Thirty Bowl, offered the venue at no charge. ENCOR jumped onboard to help promote the event. Flyers flew from the printer at the office of Jon Gilfry, Ameriprise Financial Services. He offered a generous donation also. The kindness continued as Julie’s Sweet Treats spared naught and provided snacks for the event. Taco John’s, McDonald’s, Dairy Queen, and Runza donated food vouchers for prizes. But that’s not all.
James White, an ENCOR client, sports a nice ‘stache of his own. Terry offered a $500 challenge if he could grow it to his lower lip by the night of the fundraiser, only three weeks away! Cheers fell silent when the buzz hit the gutter. James had shaved his mustache. Could he meet the challenge?
Kim’s heart burst with gratitude as she told Greg the good news that came together in record time. Never at a loss for words, pride for a community eager to help this fantastic cause was evident in his (short-lived) silence. Greg blew up Facebook and as a result, smack-filled comments soon taunted competitive fun.
It’s Time to Roll, Gus!
More than sixty bowlers of all ages and abilities packed the lanes of Thirty Bowl. Gus strutted like a turkey in all his glory. They devoured donated cupcakes and mustache-shaped brownies while brushing crumbs from their fake mustaches. Challenges boomed from speakers as eager competitors won prizes for rolling the next strike or answering mustache trivia. Goodwill prevailed when a young boy shared his prize with a little girl. Chances were offered for Split-the-Pot. As a result, dollars waved in anticipation.
Applause erupted as Thirty Bowl presented a $500 check on behalf of James’ mustache growing effort! James beamed with pride as he received high fives and struck a pose for a photo op.
Contributions totaled $2100 by the end of the night. Above all, every penny would go to M4K Omaha to benefit Special Olympics Nebraska! Due to the tremendous support of the community, Gus scored the perfect game.
Breaking News – M4K Omaha ‘Stache Bash
Greg and Gus humbly report their 30-day effort raised $8600. Likewise, M4K Omaha shattered their goal with a growing season high of $621,000 for Special Olympics Nebraska (celebrating their 50th anniversary this year). M4K Omaha has raised $2.4 million in 10 years by having fun and growing mustaches. Get involved with this great cause!
In the words of Mark Twain, “I’ve never met a man with a mustache that was not good, honest, decent, awesome, good-looking, humble, sexy, wise, and a fantastic dancer.” (from “The Book of Stuff Mark Twain Never Said”)