[Transcript of interview with Ann Lynch by Emily Powers, May 27, 2008]. Lynch, Ann Interview, 2008 May 27. OH-01166. [Transcript.] Oral History Research Center, Special Collections & Archives, University Libraries, University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Las Vegas, Nevada.
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An Interview with Ann Lynch Oral History Conducted by Emily Powers Heart to Heart Oral History Project Oral History Research Center at UNLV University Libraries University of Nevada Las Vegas ©Heart to Heart Oral History Project University of Nevada Las Vegas, 2009 Produced by: The Oral History Research Center at UNLV - University Libraries Directory: Claytee D. White Editor: Gloria Homol Transcriber: Kristin Hicks Interviewers: Emily Powers, Lisa Gioria-Acres, Claytee D. White i i These recorded interviews and transcripts have been made possible through the generosity of Dr. Harold Boyer and the Boyer Foundation. The Oral History Research Center enabled students and staff to work together with community members to generate this selection of first-person narratives. Participants in the Heart to Heart Oral History Project thank the university for the support given that allowed an idea of researching early health care in Las Vegas the opportunity to flourish. All transcripts received minimal editing that included the elimination of fragments, false starts and repetitions in order to enhance the researcher's understanding of the material. All measures have been taken to preserve the style and language of the narrator. In several cases, photographic images accompany the collection and have been included in the bound edition of the interview. Claytee D. White, Project Director Director, Oral History Research Center University of Nevada Las Vegas - University Libraries iii Table of Contents Ann Lynch s early history; family background; education; details on mother's community involvement; degrees earned; theater background; PR director at Evansville University; description of Las Vegas when she arrived in 1959; brief comments on meeting husband, birth of son; involvement with Girl Scout Council 1- 5 PTA involvement begun at Ruth Fyfe ES; president of Las Vegas Area Council; Nevada State PTA president; National PTA president '89 to '91; Ann T. Lynch ES named for her; school adopted by Sunrise Hospital; Annie's Closet provides new clothes for students; active in Washington legislation; forming Sunrise Children's Foundation with J. Peter Kalinski; co-founding Public Education Foundation with Ernie Becker and Grant Sawyer (former Nevada governor); convincing Humana to allow nonprofit foundation; hiring Dee Ladd, CEO; mention of Brian Cram, former Clark County Schools superintendent, and the effort to form the Public Education Foundation; reference to Judi Steele, president and executive director of PEF 6-8 Discussion on objectives for PEF; programs under Children's Education Foundation include Baby Think It Over, WIC clinics, sign language groups, the nursing clinic at Andre Agassi School, the HIPPY program for preschoolers, and Head Start; comments and opinions on needs of rural and urban areas, funding under the Distributive School Fund, and public health 9-11 Service at Sunrise Hospital, beginning as volunteer director; description of service rendered during MGM fire; acting as public relations director, marketing director, marketing vice president, and currently government affairs vice president; description of duties during Nevada legislative sessions in Carson City; comments on differences between lobbying in Carson City and lobbying in Washington, D.C.; history of lobbying for immunization, helmet laws; introducing robotic surgery, foolproof pharmaceuticals, and the Gamma Knife; comments and opinions on legislative-mandated regulations and costs to hospitals, with reference to Medicare and Medicaid 12-16 Flexible nurse-patient ratio plans; extended comments and opinions on nursing shortages; discussion on future of nursing; cutting edge developments at Sunrise Hospital, including robotic surgery, the stroke center, neonatal center, and the breast center; closing comments on developments at Sunrise Children's Hospital, including open-heart surgery, cancer programs, 24-hour pediatric pharmacy, intensive in-house, and pediatric emergency department 16-21 iv Preface Ann Lynch discusses her background - born in Kansas City, 1934; attended Baker University in Baldwin, Kansas; classes at Kansas University; a year in theater; director of PR at Evansville University. In 1959 she came to Las Vegas as director of the clubs at Nellis Air Force Base. Ann shares in depth on her parents and grandparents and on her family today, which includes a brother 14 years younger, her son, and a nephew. She describes Las Vegas in the early sixties, meeting her husband, and her duties as club manager at Nellis. She comments on becoming camp director for the Girl Scout program at Mount Charleston, which led to training scout leaders and board members. When Ann's son Edward went to kindergarten, she took on the PTA job of parlementarian, then president of Ruth Fyfe ES PTA. She eventually became President of the Las Vegas Area Council, Nevada State PTA president, and finally national president of the PTA. The school named after her (Ann T. Lynch Elementary) has benefited from her other charity organizations. Because of her PTA involvement, Ann became very active in legislation in Washington, D.C., traveling to other countries to help activate parent involvement. She had also worked with Sunrise Hospital during this time and when she was relieved of some of her PTA duties, she helped found the Sunrise Hospital Children's Foundation and the Public Education Foundation. She details the many functions of both foundations. Ann comments on the lobbying she does in the Nevada legislature and in Washington, D.C., medical billing through Medicare and Medicaid, and the ongoing shortage of nurses nationwide. She offers opinions on unions for nurses and mentions robotic surgery, the stroke center, neonatal center, and breast cancer center as evidence of recent developments in medicine at Sunrise Hospital. v 1 Good afternoon. This is Emily Powers. It is May 27th, Tuesday after Memorial Day. And I'm here with Ann Lynch at the Sunrise Hospital. How are you doing today? Oh, I'm just fine, thanks. Enjoying the good weather. Great. Yes, it is beautiful outside right now. We have a couple weeks until it gets warm. Then it will be 120, you know. Yes, exactly. We're used to the routine now, right? Right. No problem. Well, can you state your full name for the record? Yeah. It's Margaret Ann Thompson Lynch. And can you give us a little bit about your background, where you were born and when? Sure. I was — well, when? That tells you how old I am. I'm an old lady. I was born in Kansas City, Kansas, in July of 1934. And I was raised in southern Indiana and went to Baker University, which is in Baldwin, Kansas. I took some classes in a double major at KU, Kansas University, in Lawrence. I did a year's stint in theater. Then I went back to Evansville and became the director of PR at the Evansville University. I came out here in '59 as director of the clubs at Nellis Air Force Base as a civilian. Met my husband there and we married. And we were gone for a year during which time our son was bom. He retired. We came back here to Las Vegas. Just to delve a little bit more into your childhood and your past, what did your parents do when you were growing up? My father was an owner for a while of a small newspaper. Then he became a columnist for Scripps Howard. My mother was a stay-at-home mom, but a very active community leader in lots of lots of activities. And I grew up with that community giving I guess as part of my background. One interesting thing, which for my age is very unusual, all four of my grandparents, meaning both my grandmothers and my grandfathers, were college graduates. And one grandfather was a Methodist minister and the other was a physician in Kansas City. I have a brother who is 14 years younger than I am, and he just retired from the New York Times where he was an editor and he lives in New York. That's the only family I have now. My husband is deceased. I have one son who's not married and my nephew is in college. So we can 2 have the family reunion in a phone booth, the four of us. How was your mom involved in the community when you were growing up? Well, she was very, very active. She was on the Girl Scout board for a long time and was director of the camping there at the Raintree County Girl Scout Council in Southern Indiana. She was president of the Community Players, which was a civic theater group. She was an adviser for the college sorority there. She was an alumni. She was active in the Philharmonic. She was active in the museum guild. She was very active in hospital auxiliary. And she had several AAUW and — just almost any organization that was up and running, my mother was terribly involved. Wow. It sounds like she was a busy lady. Yeah, she was. That's great. So you went to school at Baker University? Yes. And what did you get your degrees in? My degrees are in journalism and drama. That's a great combination. I wanted to go on stage. And I enjoyed it for the year I did. But I didn't particularly like the lifestyle. And because I wasn't the ingenue and I couldn't sing, I would have remained a character access, which wouldn't have been too bad. Angela « oh, what's her name? Anyway, she made a big hit in Murder She Wrote. I can't remember her name at the moment. Is it Angela Lang? Yeah. You know who I mean. Anyway, there were a lot of great character actresses, but I didn't see that as my life's role. So I came home and dusted off my journalism and became public relations director. And you went to Evansville University? I was PR director for Evansville University. And how long were you there? I was there four years. And what were some your responsibilities as PR director? Well, I was responsible for all the public relations that went out from the university, all the PR 3 with the exception of sports. I did all of the ~ I gave information to the alumni groups. My relations were with the media, sending out press releases, arranging for photo ops, selling stories about the university and being responsible for a lot of the brochures and collateral that was sent out by the university. So that gave you a good background for where you ended up later down the line. Right. So you came to Las Vegas in 1959 you said. What did it look like when you first arrived? It was very small. I can remember I liked it very much then. I really didn't like it. But as I look back on it, I like it a lot now. I can tell you that Tropicana was then called Bond Road. And Sahara was called San Francisco. And Sunrise Hospital was just opening. And in order to open they had to pave — or gravel and tar Maryland Parkway because it was not finished through. There was nothing past there. There was no Desert Inn Road, nothing. And the builders of this hospital also built some apartments behind the hospital to accommodate staff. They also were involved heavily in the construction of some housing right behind the Boulevard Shopping Center. And that's where a lot of physicians lived because this was way out in nowhere. And in order to attract staff and physicians, they built a golf course, et cetera. Where the Las Vegas Country Club and the Regency Towers now sit was Joe Brown Racetrack. There was a racetrack there, thoroughbred horse racing. And there was nothing -- they built Western High and it was out in the middle of nowhere. And everybody thought they were crazy. We bought a house, which was way out on the west end of town, which was up near Pinto and Palomino, up near Rancho Circle area. And we were at the edge of town. You could get anywhere in this community in ten minutes. It was amazing. You had to travel a long way to get to Henderson and really a long way to get to Boulder City and Lake Mead and North Las Vegas -- there was land between Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, too. So it was a much smaller community. We would go dancing at the Desert Inn because they had what they called the Sky Room, which was fourth-floor. It was all glass and you could see the whole area. And we were overcome when they built the Dunes because that was the tallest structure then. El Rancho was ranch-style, the Sands, everything was - no high-rises. They were all kind of glorified motel area 4 kind of things. They were much better. They weren't motel-ish. But they were all single story and cabins. You know, you felt « it was just very, very elegant for its day, but it was all very low to the ground, nothing high. At the airport you walked right out to the plane and up the steps. And there was a railing and it was — it is where the executive airport is now on Las Vegas Boulevard. So the town was ~ and I loved to go on the Strip in those days because you dressed up. Everybody dressed very elegantly at night and you drove right under the portico. I mean there were no parking lots and parking garages. You just drove up and a valet would come out and off you'd go. You could see wonderful stars. I saw so many great stars -- Harry James, Don Rickles, Delia Reese - in lounges. The lounge show was just exciting. And it was all free. You could have two drinks or have no drinks. You could just go in the lounges. And we were here during the Rat Pack days. My husband had an in there, so we saw a lot of the Rat Pack and saw them after shows and stuff. So those days were really glamorous and fun for me in Las Vegas. It sounds like a great experience. Where did you meet your husband? At Nellis Air Force Base. And he was working there? He was -- they call it in charge of central base funds. And those are funds that run the club that are not taxpayers' money. Money that's generated by the clubs. The only one that everything's free in is the enlisted club. You had to operate on a budget, so every month I had to go get my budgets okayed by this mean man in central base funds who was in charge of the base funds at that time. Everybody told me I'd never get any money out of him and they were right. So I married him. Even after he's gone, I still am trying to get money out of him. But we met there because I had to go and beg for money I guess. And what is his name for the record? Thomas Eugene Lynch. So how long after you met did you get married? We were married about nine months after we met. And then you had your son soon after that? Edward. He was born a year and a half later. 5 Great. So you worked on the air force base in the club doing PR? No. I was the director of the clubs. So what was your job like there? Well, it was to plan the activities, do the budgeting, be in charge of the staffs, oversee the ordering. Just what a manager of any club would be — that was my responsibility at the clubs. And how long were you there? I was there less ~ just about the time about the nine months or so ~ I was there maybe eight or nine months because once we became engaged, my husband didn't want me to work at Nellis Air Force Base anymore. So I went to the Girl Scout, Frontier Girl Scout Council here. Can you tell me a little bit more about that? Yeah. I was district adviser for a while and then I was assistant director. At one time we were all ready for camp up at Foxtail, the camp up on Mount Charleston for girls here, and the person we had hired to be director ~ I don't know what happened. She just didn't come. So I suddenly became camp director for a season up at Mount Charleston and enjoyed that very much because I had been a big Girl Scout. I went clear through the senior programs and went to international encampments. I was a big Girl Scouter, so I kind of enjoyed that. The only problem is our son was just about a year and a half old. So he had to spend the summer between my mother and father and my in-laws. My mother and father lived in Indiana and my in-laws lived in Pennsylvania. So he got shuttled back and forth that summer. But I enjoyed that. My other job was I was in charge of training. I trained all of the leaders and boards and everybody who needed training. And I was also a district adviser. I oversaw it and assisted the volunteers who ran the different neighborhoods and units. So that was a big job. And I was there ~ we left and went to South Carolina and I came back. I was doing that before my son was bom. When I came back, then I went back to work there. Because my husband was TDY, which is temporary duty, I came back here alone with the baby and went back to work for the Girl Scouts until he came home. And then I resigned. And how many people were involved in the program at that time? Oh, I can't tell you the number. On staff there were ~ oh, there were ~ one, two, three, four, five, six — seven staff members. And there were a lot of girls. In fact, there were just about the same 6 number of girls that there are now because it was really a big program at that time. That's great. I was a Girl Scout when I was younger. I had a great experience with it. It's a great program for girls. It really is. It is. So were you very involved in — you said your mother had her hand in everything. Were you the same way with community organizations? Not when I first came. During my time as a Girl Scout, I was very involved. It was nights and I had to go for training and I was working. When I resigned and was a stay-at-home mother — my husband was home now. We bought a home in the west — I told you up there. And my first venture was I belonged to a couple of garden clubs, played some bridge, played a little golf. Enjoyed that. When Ed went to kindergarten, I took him over to Ruth Fyfe [Elementary School], which was a year old at that time. They asked me what I wanted to do in PTA, but I didn't want to do anything. So I looked at the list. And I didn't want to be bike chairman, bike rodeo chairman. I didn't want to be carnival chairman. So they had down parliamentarian. And I had had parliamentarian experience. So I said, yeah, I'll be your parliamentarian. So his first year I was parliamentarian. And the next year the woman who had been elected president moved. They were transferred. So the only person on the board who was eligible who would take the job at that time was me. So when he went into first grade, I became president of the Ruth Fyfe PTA. I moved through that and became president of Las Vegas Area Council. Then I moved on and became Nevada State president. And eventually I became national president of the PTA. Wow. And what did that all took place? That took place — I was national president '89 to '91. You could only serve two years. And all those years, from his kindergarten year clear on through, I was very, very involved in PTA, at the state level, at the local level. And there's a school named for me because of that. Really? And where is that located? That's at near Sunrise Mountain. It's the Ann T. Lynch Elementary. Do you visit it very often? Not as often as I'd like. I'm very proud this year of Sunrise Hospital. It has adopted - it's in a poverty area. And a hundred percent of the children are on free breakfast and free lunch. So my 7 hospital adopted them. And this Christmas we went over and served them a great Christmas dinner. It was catered by my group which served these children hot turkey and all the fixings. And every child in the school got a present. And every child in school got a cap, a woolen cap. And we completely loaded up their library. This next Friday, we're going to be going out and giving 3,000 more books to the school. Wow. That's wonderful. And they don't know it but every third grader is going to get their own book to take home. And then we're having Career Day out there. It's a year-round school. So we continually are doing something at that school. And we started Annie's Closet. We went around to Wal-Mart. This is when it first opened, the school. Wal-Mart generously gave us some clothing that they were going to return or whatever. So a child who shows up at school with, you know, clothes that are too small or their shirt's torn or whatever or the teacher sees that child has worn the same clothes for three days, we will take them quietly ~ or in the wintertime when a child comes to school with no jacket ~ they'll take them quietly into Annie's Closet and give them clothes. That's wonderful. That sounds like a great school. So it's a great school. But that's a result of my PTA involvement. And then from that PTA involvement I went into legislation and became very active in Washington. I was in Washington a lot. I put a million miles on American Airlines in one year. And after my term was up, the minister of education in Russia invited me and my husband. We went over and stayed three weeks in Russia where I was working with parent groups because they didn't know how to get parent involvement. Then I went to Japan and was involved there and went to England and was involved there. So I did a lot of that and was on President George H. Bush's kitchen cabinet for education. There were 12 of us. And I was one of the 12 during his four-year term. So I've had a really excellent career that started out with my personal involvement. When I got relieved of some of the duties of PTA, because that was all-consuming — and I worked all this time at Sunrise, by the way, during that period - but as a result of that I became very interested in children and in health. And my joy came together when a physician here and I 8 got the great idea to form the Sunrise Children's Foundation. And we are founders of that. I was one of the three founders of the Public Education Foundation here in town. My co-founders were Ernie Becker and Grant Sawyer. So Grant and Ernie and I formed the Public Education Foundation. And J. Peter Kalinski and I formed the Children's Foundation here at the hospital. And when were both of those formed? I cannot tell you. I'm really sorry. I could look it up for you if you want me to. Oh, that's fine. Just curious. Yeah. I would say in the 90s, '95, something like that. And how much work did both of those take to get off the ground? A great deal. A great deal. Well, we had to fight — not fight, but we had to convince. At that time this hospital was owned by a company called Humana. And they did not have any ~ because it was a for-profit hospital, they didn't have foundations. So we had to really work with corporate to get them to let us have a foundation, a nonprofit foundation. And it took a lot of work. Then we had the good fortune of hiring Dee Ladd, who was our first CEO and she still is. She's president and CEO. They've raised millions of dollars in the last few years, and it all goes to education surrounding health. They do some incredible things. The Public Education Foundation was formed when Brian Cram was superintendent. Ernie and Grant and I and Brian Cram worked very hard and had to work with the school board and the city and county and everybody to get that because it was unheard of in Nevada. There wasn't a Public Education Foundation, even though it's very popular in other states. It's a group that's separate from the school, but it raises money to do things the schools can't do for themselves. And they've raised millions and millions. Judi Steele was our first and still is our president and executive director for that, and I serve as a permanent member on both boards. The other founders ~ Grant, of course, is gone. And Emie served as president and was on the board for several years and then he just pulled out. Dr. Kalinski was a practicing neonatologist and didn't have time. So I wound up staying as a permanent founding member. So you're still on the board? I'm still going to their meetings and their dinners and their activities, yeah. How often do you have meetings with them? 9 The Public Education Foundation has an executive board meeting once a month and it has general meetings four times a year. And then they have a gala. The Children's Education Foundation has meetings about every two months, every other month. And then they have two galas a year. Do the objectives change much for the foundations? No. They've stayed the same according to what we started with. The Public Education Foundation is to assist Clark County School District or any educational institute. Whether it's the Meadows or whoever, they can apply for grants and do things that they don't have tax money for. And we also have formed an Internet system where kids can go online and talk to kids in Europe and everything else. I mean it's a great — and we started the interactive Internet for the school district. That was our project. We also give a lot of money for innovative kinds of things for schools. We're in the process of — right now our big project is obtaining land to build affordable housing for teachers. That's one of the problems here, so we're working with some banks and that kind of thing. The Children's Education Foundation does things like a program called Baby Think It Over. And it's where they have computerized dolls. They're all different sizes, colors, and shapes, and they're all programmed like real babies. Teachers come in and take a course, and then both girls and boys can sign the babies out for a weekend. It's not like taking an egg home. This baby comes with car seat, diaper bag, all the accoutrements that a baby has. And the baby is computerized so that you may get a baby with colic, you may get a baby who is a crack baby, you may get a baby who's very docile and quiet, but all the babies at different times -- they cry at night. And so you have to take them with you all the time. We can tell by the computer — or rather the teacher can tell ~ if you put it in the closet or something, and you get graded on how you took care of the baby. It's statewide. We have them in all the high schools here. That's wonderful. What are some of the other projects? Well, then there's the sign language group that was started by the Children's Foundation. They also run the WIC clinics (Women, Infant, Children) which are the state-run programs. They run six of the clinics here. We have the nursing « the help clinic at the Andre Agassi School. We have the nurse and all of the clinic over there. We run the HIPPY program, which is for preschoolers, and we also run the Head Start program here for the federal government. So we've 10 got some huge programs that that foundation runs. Yes. It sounds like it. What does HIPPY stand for again? I can't remember. But it's the preschool — it's where they teach in low-income areas. They teach from about three years old up until they reach kindergarten age. They also work with the parent and the student to help them learn to read, to know their alphabet, to get them ready to go to school. I've heard a lot about HIPPY. I worked with the Every Child Matters campaign for a while. And we're in touch with Head Start and HIPPY and all those groups. We now run the Head Start program, too. Do you find that the needs are different throughout the state depending on rural versus urban areas? Yeah, they are. The rural areas are very much overlooked and very much underserved, but it's not anybody's fault. For instance, in Churchill County, which is Fallon, all of the schools in that county are in Fallon. And some of the children live 50 miles away one way. So the school buses » that's a hundred mile round-trip for kids going to school. So their needs are much different than our needs. When you get out to rural health, they have a visiting nurse or they have a public nurse that comes, you know, two days a week or something. Physicians are very scarce in the rural areas, very scarce. And the services, there aren't as many. I think that the volunteer groups in rural areas are much more dedicated. And it's almost a lifestyle for the volunteer firemen and the groups that are volunteers. But there aren't enough of them to cover the needs of an area. And, usually, when you get into rural areas, you get more of a cost factor. They're not as wealthy. They don't have the money in those counties. So I see that the needs are different. But, again, when you get to the urban areas, we're just overcome. There's just never enough money. But we need to be more innovative. Our problem I think in Clark and Washoe counties, but particularly Clark, is that if you look at it we've got 75 organizations doing the same thing. If we could get one organization with all 75 pouring into it, we would be effective, but instead we've got all these little pockets of volunteer groups trying to do something and none of them are effective. They may be effective for three or four people. You know, it's like gang stuff. There must be ten anti-gang groups that are volunteers and are wonderful programs, but they're 11 small. And if we could get all these groups together to be one big anti-gang thing in town, we could make a splash. That's my frustration with urban areas. Las Vegas is not a neighborhood town, if you know what I mean, like New York or Chicago or St. Louis. We're spread out. You're not making much of an indent in your neighborhood, so it needs much more centralization and that kind of thing. I'm ashamed to say that I was part of helping to develop the Distributive School Fund in Nevada, which is the way you fund your education because the federal government insists that every state fund every county equally. And you can't. Not everybody gets the same amount of money. But every child should get the same amount of money. And with poor counties not being able to contribute — because the property is not owned by them, it's owned by the feds. So their property intake is not as great as it should be. So in order to do that we had to ~ everybody put all the property taxes in a pot and we'll cut it. up. So we created a formula so that we could equalize it. But what's happened to that is it's been cut up, amended, jig-sawed around where it's impossible because you have a county like Clark County, which is like the seventh largest school district in the country, and then you have Esmeralda or Fallon or Nye County. I mean the inequity is just ridiculous. And it's hard to get a teacher to go to Beowawe, Nevada, and live in a trailer. So it's very — on a mountaintop with no electricity. So it's a very difficult thing. We need to re-look at the funding mechanism for education. We need to really look at sizes of district and figure out a way that we can guarantee, or we'll be in violation of federal law, that every county gets the same amount of money, but we need to have some more autonomy. And we need to redo the Distributive School Fund because Carl Dodge and Floyd Lamb were the senators that were responsible for that. I think both of them are spinning in their respective graves at this time because it is not anything like it started out to be. It's like the Social Security in Washington. It's been chopped up and picked up. It's not the same bill that was throughout. So we need to start over I think. So there are great needs. And I think public health ~ terrible. And I'm delighted that the USOM, University School of Medicine, one of their priorities this year is public health because I think the biggest lack this state has is public health facilities and resources. Getting more into the public health aspect of everything that you do, how long have you been 12 at Sunrise Hospital now? Oh, my goodness. Well, I started out at Sunrise Hospital ~ I can't remember the year because I started as a volunteer. Then the volunteer director had surgery and was not able to come back. So they asked me. I was getting real involved in PTA at this time, so I told them that I needed more money than I thought they could offer me and that I have to have all this time off. And they said okay. So I became volunteer director. Then the MGM fire happened. And my office at that time — the hospital's been redone — my office was right next to the emergency room and 1 heard all this. So I went in and stood up on the desk and started giving orders. And I ran a — I didn't leave the hospital for 72 hours. I was the only one in town, regardless of who hears this, that knew where everybody who was a guest at the MGM was. And I arranged for the cab companies to pick the people up. I got hotels to take them in. And got the Salvation — I mean we were really running a big triage over here. Of people who were looking for people, we were the onl