Lockport Union-Sun & Journal — As a celebrated “pink lady” of the Barge Canal Optimist Club in Lockport, the cheerful Sally is a charter member and two-time past president. The Optimist motto is “Friend of Youth” and Sally has been inspiring young people since her kids brought friends home from school. The Oakes household was always a fun and welcoming place to be.
In her bright pink Barge colors, she has served many years on the Board of Directors and held several elected offices as well as being a part of all club activities. For the John Pound School 5th grade basketball team, she coached for eight years and continues to keep score at games every Saturday during the eight week basketball season. As a volunteer at the Barge Canal Just Say No! Program, Girl Power! and the yearly Bike Safety Rodeo, Sally is a familiar face at the Lockport YMCA.
She volunteers in pink at the Tee Off Against Breast Cancer Golf tournament, dons her purple regalia to take part in the American Cancer Society Relay for Life and dons the Santa hat and bells to coordinate the Barge Canal Bell Ringers for the annual Salvation Army Red Kettle Drive.
The many community activities of her Optimist club need funds, and Sally organizes the club’s spring and fall flower sales. During the summer festival months, you’ll find the cheerful septuagenarian selling sno cones from the bright pink barge trailer. For Barge Canal Optimists, Sally does it all.
While keeping busy is important to Sally, helping others is the driving force in her life. As one of the founding members of the local Rainbow of Help, she sports a tie-dyed rainbow shirt and is a regular on Channel 7’s Weather outside with Mike Randall, promoting the group-assisted benefit events.
The Rainbow of Help is a not for profit organization dedicated to helping people with financial hardships due to unforeseen medical situations. The organization was formed in 1999, and membership consists of caring people who have had family or friends impacted by traumatic physical circumstances that required help above and beyond what is normal. For 15 years, Sally and others in the organization have provided step-by-step support and expertise leading up to, and during, fundraisers. Sally is at each event, often seen selling pasta dinner tickets at the door or basket auction tickets inside. Actually, from making coffee to sweeping up, there is nothing that Sally hasn’t done in support of anyone needing a hand.