by Chris Smith, LSR Class XI
So, did you hear about the LSR grad and Niners fan who took a limousine the more than 2,300 miles from Santa Rosa to New Orleans and merged with the tens of thousands of fans massed for Super Bowl 47, but never intended to go to the game?
This sort of behavior by Jack Tolin (Class 15) doesn’t much surprise friends of the adventurous, comical and charitable semi-retired oral surgeon. Jack is a guy who’s going to do good, and have fun doing it. To be one of four buddies who dressed in pink and trekked to the jam-packed Big Easy to spread awareness and raise money for the fight against breast cancer seemed to him the ideal excuse for a road trip.
“We probably spoke to over 1,000 people,” said Jack, who experienced LSR one year after his wife, Cheryl Tolin, of Class 14.
Jack and Sonoma County pals Dan Tregaskis, John Dubkoff, and Roger Sprinkle seized upon a drive to New Orleans after agreeing it would be great to undertake a journey with a cause. All four men have wives and daughters and have witnessed the terror of breast cancer.
So they made it the mission of their Super Bowl odyssey to aid in the battle against the disease. Jack did some research and discovered that the National Breast Cancer Foundation is an efficient organization that works to save lives through education and free mammograms for women in need.
The foursome created a fund-raising Website, rollin4cancer.org. They agreed they would not seek or accept any cash donations, but would refer folks to the Website and also let them know they can donate $10 by using a cellphone to text the word “Life” to 80888.
Jack and his pals printed up flyers and dressed themselves and one of the stretch Lincolns owned by John Dubkoff’s Triple Diamond Limousine all in pink. And off they went, to New Orleans. All the way there, and all the way back, they spoke to curious strangers about the mission and invited donations to the cancer foundation. In bustling New Orleans they quickly established themselves as the cancer-battling Californians in pink.
To date, their mission has prompted more than $6,000 in donations. Jack believes that even more consequential could be the dialogue the road trip sparked on the issue of breast cancer, and all of the people who were encouraged to look into the National Breast Cancer Foundation. “If one or two or those people got an early mammogram because of us and found something, it was a worthwhile trip,” he said.
Reflecting on his time in LSR, Jack called it a wonderful experience shared by some of his favorite people – “active participants in society.” His passion for service has him volunteering to teach English to a Mexican-American dental assistant through the Adult Literacy Program at the Sonoma County Library. He is the longest-serving member of the Credentials Committee at Sutter Medical and has joined the boards of St. Vincent de Paul’s and the Rotary Club of Santa Rosa. Jack has served homeless people at the soup kitchen, rang the bells alongside Salvation Army kettles and stepped up in myriad other ways to help others.
“It sounds sappy,” he said. “But, honestly, you get more out of it than you put into it.”