That's how they roll: Hundreds help set record
It took just more than three minutes for the hundreds of people inside the Lone Star Event Center in Tyler to establish a new world record Sunday afternoon.
It took hours of preparation and a singular cause to draw 327 people from their homes in East Texas, Dallas, Houston, Austin, Louisiana and Arkansas, but the person for whom they rolled the lumpias, or Filipino egg rolls, appreciated it more than she could say.
"It's overwhelming of course," said Ross Sajo, who was diagnosed with Stage 4 pancreatic cancer in 2008. Sunday's record-setting egg roll was a benefit to help the family fight her illness.
The event, which was recorded by dozens of photographers and streamed online live, will eventually be the basis for pamphlets and advertisements to commemorate the event and raise money to fund Mrs. Sajo's fight against cancer.
Team Ross was the official designation plastered on T-shirts and banners all over the building Sunday, and the people who turned out showed that, with the support of the community, impressive things can be achieved.
That was the message Father Efren Nano hoped people took away from the benefit Guinness World Record attempt, for which participants paid $10 to participate in. That money goes to the Sajo family to help pay for Mrs. Sajo's treatment, but Nano said it was about much more than the money.
"It's the support of the community that lets them feel they're loved," he said. "(With community) we can more mountains."
The Lone Star Event Center's more than 12,000 square feet of floor space was filled with tables and people who waited for hours for their seat at one of the 48 tables cordoned off in the middle of the building.
Dancing, snacking and chatting kept them busy as Robert Viray and Monette Mirano worked to make the final preparations of stuffing and rice wrap for the egg rolls.
Shortly before 5 p.m., all the participants were seated, counted, had donned plastic gloves and, after several rounds of the wave up and down the cavernous room, began the challenge.
Five minutes were allotted to complete egg rolls, but the enthusiastic participants completed their work in short order.
Though they were raising money for a serious cause, dance music and light-hearted chatter kept an almost festive feel to the event.
Lawrence David, who served as a master of ceremonies during the process, said the idea behind the music, balloons and streamers decorating the building was not dwelling on the immense challenges the Sajo family faced.
"It's a celebration of life," he said, his voice booming over the P.A. system. "It's a celebration of our community around the world."
For more information about Team Ross, email TeamRossTyler@gmail.com