Letter carriers deliver in MDA fundraiser

November 01, 2009|By JULIE E. GREENE

HALFWAY -- Some bowling balls crawled toward the pins.

Others whizzed down the lanes as if they were in a race.

And a few never hit their targets, instead landing in the gutters.

But no matter when or if the balls hit the pins, the bowlers still achieved their goal -- raising money for the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA).

MDA has long been a national charity of the National Association of Letter Carriers, but this was the first nationwide bowlathon the union held for MDA, said Ronda Sisk, president of Hagerstown branch 443.

It was also the first time, that Sisk knew of, that the Hagerstown branch held a fundraiser for MDA.

About 70 bowlers attended the Deliver the Cure Bowl at Southside Bowl off Virginia Avenue on Sunday afternoon. Sisk estimated they had raised $3,200 so far. The money will go to MDA's Baltimore office, which services Washington County, she said.


Richard Chaney said he's not a bowler, but he was still having a good time.

"I love it. It's a good cause," said Chaney, 36, of Hagerstown.

Red Bryner, 52, of Falling Waters, W.Va., hadn't bowled in years, but he got out his red wrist brace and a white cloth to wipe the lane oil off his bowling ball, and had some fun.

"I got a couple strikes today. Inconsistent mostly," said Bryner, who averaged about 138 when he was on a league team.

Taylor Clowser, 10, of Hagerstown, didn't know at first why she was bowling on Sunday with her father and his friends.

But she was still having fun.

"She's beating her daddy," said letter carrier Keith Clowser, who was wearing a Tampa Bay Buccaneers jersey. "Score doesn't matter. Just like Tampa Bay," Clowser joked.

Tyler Miles, 16, of Williamsport, said he came to the bowlathon at the invitation of a friend.

"We're just out for a good time," Tyler said.

When asked if he was getting competitive with his teammates, Tyler said, "I don't like to lose."

He said he wasn't doing that well. Then he put up a spare.

In addition to raising money for MDA, the bowlathon was a reunion of sorts for some.

Floyd Shearer, 63, of Hagerstown, retired in 2006 after 37 years as a letter carrier.

Other than at two annual picnics, he doesn't see his pals from his letter carrier days that often, he said. His teammates included John Myers, 59, of Williamsport, who has been a letter carrier for more than 36 years, and Kenny Sisk, 62, of Hagerstown, who retired after 40 years as a letter carrier.

On Sunday, the team members dressed in red, white and blue letter carrier T-shirts and were having a ball slapping high-fives and cracking jokes.

"Where's the Bengay?" Shearer said, flexing his knees.

Shearer's son, Roger Shearer, also was on the team.

He noted his dad is known as "The Dancing Bear." Floyd Shearer does a little footwork after he rolls the ball down the lane. Shearer said the dance is reminiscent of the one done by former Redskins defensive end Ron McDole, who used to do a dance after he tackled someone.

Patty DeGrange, 40, of Hagerstown, came out to support her friend and mailman, Dave Fowler, as well as the cause.

A co-worker's nephew has muscular dystrophy, DeGrange said.

The Muscular Dystrophy Association combats neuromuscular diseases through research, medical and community services, and education, according to

"I'm going to go throw a strike now," DeGrange said.

Then she calmly walked up to the line and let go of the ball, which knocked down five pins.

"Next time."

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