March 30, 2006 – Thanks to a $5,000 donation from the Westin Resort and Villas, the Love City Pan Dragons will soon have a much-needed trolley to use in parades.
"We've wanted this for so long," Pan Dragons secretary Elaine Penn said Thursday.
She said the group is buying a used trolley from Eudora Kean High School because the school is getting a new one. She said it's the same trolley the Pan Dragons rented every year for the July 4th Celebration.
However, the school's use of the trolley for other events such as St. Thomas Carnival meant that the Pan Dragons could not participate because no other trolley was available to rent.
Penn said that after she sent out a request a few weeks ago, Westin manager Graeme Davis immediately called Pan Dragons President Corine Matthias with the good news.
"It was just a blessing," Matthias said Thursday.
She said a press release about the need for a trolley was barely out when she heard from Davis.
"It's a good feeling to get so much love and support from the community," she said.
Matthias said the Pan Dragons will get the trolley on Monday. She said the group will keep it at the Public Works Department yard in Susannaberg.
Penn said that other donations made toward the trolley will be used to make repairs. "It needs work," she said.
She said that if there's any money left over after that, it will go toward a permanent trolley roof. The Pan Dragons have used a tarp to keep the elements off, but Penn said a real roof would work better.
Penn said the Westin has long supported the Pan Dragons. She said that the hotel often has the Pan Dragons play at their dock to greet arriving guests and at conferences held at the hotel. Additionally, the hotel loans banquet seating for the annual pre-Thanksgiving Community Honors dinner.
Davis was traveling and could not be reached for comment.
Penn said that the group raises money through events like the upcoming April 7 through 9 food sale at the annual Ruby Rutnik Memorial Softball Tournament.
The group also has a CD for sale, entitled Volume One, at various outlets around St. Thomas and St. John, at their performances and at their pan yard across from the Fire Station in Cruz Bay.
Penn said that upcoming projects include expanding the pan yard and finding a sponsor to pay professional rates for an instructor.
Visit the Pan Dragons Web site for more information.
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