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Maybe Florida Gators Aren’t So Bad, After All…

January 05, 2009

Quote of the day: “The challenge is to get people to watch [Darius Goes West], because once they watch it, there’s not one person who doesn’t want to do incredible things to help”–Kim Procko, one of DGW’s Gainesville area hosts.

Darius and crew spent some time in Gainesville, FL, and nearby High Springs.

First, we hit up High Springs institution Floyd’s Diner.

Floyd’s is usually closed on the day we visited, but they opened the place just for us. They even printed us out a special welcome menu!

The food was incredible, and the hospitality awesome. If you ever find yourself on I-75 north of Gainesville, pull off at the High Springs exit for a pit stop; it comes with a Darius Weems endorsement.

Thanks Mystery and Kendrick!

After eating, we headed over to High Springs’s imposing Priest Theater…

where we caught up with our two of our High Springs hosts, Kim and Bill Procko. They have a son, Evan, who has DMD and have been doing a lot of fundraising for CureDuchenne, a non-profit organization that funds DMD research.

We had an entire team of amazing hosts in High Springs/Gainesville. Aside from Bill and Kim, we owe a HUGE thanks to Rick and Leila Ginder and Dr. Lindsay Thompson. Also, MAJOR PROPS to Gainesville Country Day School (where Leila and Ricks, awesome son, Dale…we call him “Little D” goes), who helped pack the UF screening and donated funds so that we could eat well in Gainesville. The school even sold tickets to the screening and DVDs afterwards!

We had actually met the Prockos at the Amelia Island Film Festival a couple months ago, and it’s always invigorating to spend time with folks like them–and the Ginders–fighting against DMD.

The next day, we had a second screening at the University of Florida’s P.K. Yonge Developmental Research School.

We were a bit nervous about the Florida-Georgia rivalry, but we didn’t need to be: UF greeted us with a HUGE standing ovation as the credits rolled.

In fact, Gators showed us a TON of love, giving thousands of dollars to the cause through straight donations and buying merchandise!

Uh-oh, Bulldogs: now you have to step it up.

Afterward, we wondered what was different about driver-Daniel’s RV pitch (he makes a distinct one each night to the audience).

He DID joke that crew-member John Harmon just got engaged. Maybe we should pretend John just got engaged after EVERY screening.

Or, maybe we should just hope for more audiences like the one in Gainesville.

We caught up with some familiar faces…

and met some new ones.

All in all, it was a fantastic visit. Thanks so much, Rick and Leila (pictured above on Darius’s right..and .to D’s left is their friend, Cecilia, who came all the way from Philadelphia for the screening!). Thanks, too, to the Procko family, Dr. Lindsay Thompson, Advanced Turbine Support, University of Florida baseball team, Mystery and Kendrick, Floyd’s Diner, Gainesville Country Day, Priest Theater, University of Florida, High Springs, and Gainesville!

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