By Anne Northrup

It has been about nine weeks since our friend Bob McCarthy passed away and, for me, it still doesn’t seem real. I see signs of Bob every morning at Katy’s Café in Ellicottville where we used to meet him for tea. His photo still smiles down on us. I still see the shamrocks on the tables. The birdhouse and shelves and fish mirror he built – they’re still hanging on the walls.

If you didn’t know Bob, you don’t know how important an the impact he had on our small town. Bob was involved in everything. He was the VOICE of Ellicottville announcing NASTAR Races at Holiday Valley. He was the tractor-riding Emcee for the annual Independence Day pet parade and for Christmas in Ellicottville. He founded the Irish Christmas event to raise money for families in need. He organized an Americana Fest to introduce people to working artists and craftspeople in the region.  He built beautifully crafted furniture, mirrors and birdhouses for friends or to be auctioned off for charity.

He was the epitome of a selfless individual who would hold the door, say hi to a stranger, pick up litter or make a bad situation better with a new perspective. His love for this community and the world – and his large and small actions – made this a better place to live, work and play.

After Bob passed away, a friend said to me that it would take everyone in this community to step up to make up for the loss of Bob. I had in my mind what could I do to give back?  Then soon after Bob’s death, my “bonus-daughter” Rachel Northrup arrived at her store in the Village one morning to find that the chairs outside the store had been vandalized. At first it made her very angry, but then she thought: “what would Bob do?” So she made a point to process the event differently.

When she told me about this, I thought, “What a great phrase.” That’s a great way to remember to do the right thing. It gave me an idea to raise some money and spread the word.

And so I created bracelets – suitable for men, women and children – that say “WWBD?” (What would Bob do?) and they are now for sale for $15 each at several shops in Ellicottville. The proceeds will go directly to one of Bob’s favorite charities: Family Support for Ellicottville, a project of Ellicottville’s Rotary Club. If every bracelet is sold, Family Support of Ellicottville will receive a $4,000 donation in Bob’s name.

The sales of the bracelets in the first week have been astounding. I love it when I see parents explaining to their children the meaning behind them as they buy and then proudly display them on their wrists. So get your bracelets now, as this is a limited edition memorial to our friend Bob.

WWBD Bracelets are available at Adventure Bound on the Fly, Mud, Sweat & Gears, The Purple Doorknob, The City Garage and Ameri-Can. More importantly, when faced with a choice or a challenge, why not stop and think, “What would Bob do?”