Fall River Club
Bill Desmarais takes pride in his position as Sport Promotion/Publicity Director of the Fall River Club. Bill shared with us how club members offer an excellent example for others to follow.
Back when the AU began the Sport Promotion program out of the national office, the Fall River Club established their own promotion positions: Sport Promotion Director and Race Publicity Director. Their goal of promoting public awareness, goodwill and advocacy on behalf of pigeon fanciers has rewarded the club with recognition and awards from local officials and support from the community.
Maria Salpietro and Joey Aguiar submit race related stories regularly to pigeon fancy magazines. Bill and his wife Paula handle the club kitchen and sport promotion.
Their club is a 50 X 30 foot cinder block, wood structure building that the members built themselves. It is located on over 6 acres of land in the northeast section of Fall River.
To foster goodwill within the community, they allow other organizations, from neighborhood associations to soccer leagues, to utilize their club facility at no charge.
They host all the SNE Combine meetings and provide refreshments. Refreshments are also always served at club meetings. Attendance is up since they started this practice.
They hold pigeon auctions at no charge. They also provide free bird releases to events such as veterans' ceremonies, little league baseball, funerals, school fairs, school presentations, family outings, children's charitable events and church functions.
Their efforts on behalf of pigeons, lofts and clubs have taken them before the Massachusetts House of Representatives and Senate Hearing Committee, to state representatives and to the Governor and Lt. Governor. They have never lost an ordinance issue.
Fun activities fill the club agenda throughout the year. They hold pigeon shows, clam boils and auctions, pasta night suppers, boiled dinners, video & buffet nights and raffles. They have been able to raise over $8,000 for an 8-year-old cancer patient, solicited support from elected officials for pigeon programs and donated funds for needy children's groups.
Every February they hold a Sport Promotion Banquet, which is open to all clubs, flyers and fanciers from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut. It is covered by local press and attended by government officials. It is open to all friends, neighbors, and public officials and is regularly attended by over 200 people. Not only do they receive recognition from media and officials, but they in turn offer appreciation awards
to newspapers, elected officials and business leaders who have helped the club and the sport. They have found it encourages others to assist the club and promotion activities.
Club members take public relations very seriously. It is because of the unified efforts toward positive member relations and positive relations with those outside the club that they have enjoyed membership growth to 67 thus far. Five of those members joined in just one month.
Every August, they enjoy a Family & Friends Barbecue with burgers, hot dogs, chicken, corn on the cob, macaroni, salad, watermelon, home made dishes and more. Besides good food, visitors are entertained with horse and pony rides, picture taking with cartoon characters, clowns with balloons and face painting, giant trampolines for kids, horse shoes, potato sack races, volley ball, prizes & gifts, water slide & spray and special
activities provided by the Sheriff's Department such as K-9 demonstrations and children's finger printing and I.D. service. They have had great family success by not allowing alcohol at the barbecue
The event is financially supported with profits from the club kitchen along with donations from club members and elected officials. Club members and their wives do the set up of tents, cooking and cleaning.
Over 300 people have attended their Family Day Barbecue. It is a great success both in terms of family fun and community relations.
They will be giving other clubs a run for their money during the AU's April Racing Pigeon Awareness Month Contest. So far they have planned Pasta Night & Raffle; Video & Buffet Night, Auctions and a Clam Boil. They will also work toward having Mayor and City Council proclaim April as Racing Pigeon Month and honor the Fall River Racing Pigeon Club with a special day.
Keep in mind, this is in addition to their regular racing program. They love their sport and they love their people. It shows!
The AU was honored with several awards of recognition as a result of the Fall River Club's activities.