GRAPEVINE — The city is seeing a lot less these days of Paul W. McCallum, executive director of the Grapevine Convention and Visitors Bureau.Fifty four pounds less, to be exact.His loss is the gain of Parras de la Fuente, Mexico — one of Grapevine’s three sister cities. The Rotary Club of Parras will be getting approximately 45 wheelchairs thanks to a friendly weight loss competition held by the two cities.The Rotary Club continually sponsors events to purchase medical supplies and support educational programs to help children, the elderly and the infirmed, specifically in the rural areas.The goal of the Team Parras vs. Team Grapevine Weight Loss Challenge to Benefit the Pediatric Wheelchair Project was to replace used and broken pediatric wheelchairs, as well as provide new ones.“What could be more fun than losing 50-plus pounds and gaining 45 wheelchairs?" McCallum asked.Members of the community were invited to pledge dollars towards the purchase of the new wheelchairs in support of the project. The goal was to raise enough money for 30 new wheelchairs. The money raised will purchase approximately 45 wheelchairs.The Weight Loss Challenge went from Oct. 1 to May 17, and winners were determined based on the percentage of body weight lost.On May 17, during the 30th Annual Main Street Days, the two teams met in a “boxing match” which was highlighted by the weigh-in.“I was the promoter — I was Don King,” said Mayor William D. Tate, referring to the famous American boxing promoter.Parras, located in northern Mexico in the state Coahuila, is an agricultural town with sprawling vineyards and pecan groves. Team ParrasLuis Calderon, “El Rey de la Corona,” lost 20 percent of his body weight.Jose “Pepe” Sosa, “Pepe Turkey Legs,” lost 10 percent of his body weight.Team GrapevineAustrailan McCallum, “Thunder from Down Under,” lost 22 percent of his body weight.Rheonna McCallum-Croy, “Hurricane Ruby,” lost 19 percent of her body weight.“Our brothers and sisters in Parras motivate us with their widow’s mite, giving throughout the year,” McCallum said. “And so when they asked for our help in acquiring pediatric wheelchairs for the needy children, it was a real joy to be able to engage many, many people throughout the city to raise the necessary funds for the wheelchairs.”McCallum said his fight plan was one or two meals a day consisting of “meat and vegetables — nothing else.”“I cut out sweets, sugars, desserts and everything white, like potatoes,” the executive director said. “There was no room for ‘just this one.’ ”Since he attends many work-related functions where wine is served, McCallum began by cutting back and then entirely eliminating wine. It was easy, he said, because he knew every pound earning money from his sponsors was going to help someone in need.“That’s one of the things that pushes you,” he said.McCallum said he plans a lifelong commitment to eating healthier, but will still have an occasional potato.“That’s going to be my treat,” he said.
Marty Sabota, 817-390-7367