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Friday, January 18, 2019

Soup and Serve for Martin Luther Kin Jr Day With The United Way of Muskegon

The observance of Martin Luther King Jr Day is Monday Jan 21st and since the holiday was established and first observed in 1986 the way the day is marked has evolved.  The "day off" idea changed into a day of service where people could aspire to follow in the footsteps of Dr. King and do something for their community as he would have.

When it comes to service, The United Way of The Lakeshore is the leader.  For over 100 years now, The United Way has been "inspiring change and building communities" with events like the "Day of Caring", "Ride United", "Fill the Truck - Give United" and of course "The Dolly Parton Imagination Library". All programs designed to engage the community and bring people closer together.  In honor of Dr. King, this is the 3rd "Soup and Serve" lunch that they are putting on so you can stop in and see first hand the work that goes on and learn a little about some of the programs at The United Way.

Drop in anytime between 10-2p on Monday and you'll be greeted by United Way staff and volunteers.  You'll enjoy some delicious soup and get to see fist hand just what goes on to make the organization tick and how their outreach goes so far beyond the walls at 31 Clay Avenue in Muskegon.  They will also have an action element going on that day with area groups out helping some of our senior citizens "Clear a Path".  It might be some work around the house or yard, or if it happens...maybe some snow removal.  Just a helping hand for a friend and neighbor.

Always great work from the United Way and a great opportunity for you to stop in and learn a little more while enjoying a nice lunch on Monday!  For more information, please click on the United Way logo below to visit their MLK - Clearing the Path web page!

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Help The Noah Project - "Hug Your Ween" With Comedian Stu McCallister

Everyone wants to do their part, right?  We also know that if you want to give a pet a forever home that a rescue is the way to go.  The shelters are all bursting at the seams with pets who are looking for some love and attention.  The shelters are often run by loving volunteers and fund raising is always a key for the care of the animals.  We hear about the banquets...we hear about the kids who give up birthday presents to help....but what about the comedians?

Stu McCallister is a comedian from Grand Rapids.  He performs all over West Michigan and the mid west.  He's the founder of the LMNOPodcast and he hosted a show called Tonight Tonight with Stu McCallister and his annual Christmas card exchange is one of the most fun things on Facebook if you follow Stu.  He also uses his platform to do an awful lot of good.  He's been a part of Laughfest in Grand Rapids to benefit Gilda's Club for years and works to help promote the festival and the events surrounding it.
Follow Stu on Facebook

His good deeds extend to Muskegon too.  He's taken a shine to local animal rescue The Noah Project.  He's adopted 3 dogs from The Noah Project now, which includes the inspiration for the "Hug You Ween" project.  "Ween" is actually Winter the second adoptee from The Noah Project for Stu.  Winter seems to have taken on a starring role all her own.  Now starring in a series of stickers saying "Hug Your Ween", Winter is popping up on widows, coffee mugs, three ring binders...anywhere a sticker sticks really.  The stickers are available from Stu and they are 2 for $5 bucks and all of the proceeds go to benefit The Noah Project.  To date, a few hundred bucks have been sent to the shelter to help with the costs of food and care.  It's a way for one guy to give back a little to help the organization who's given him his forever friends.

It was adoption day for dog 3 Saturday.  I stopped in to see Stu as he was picking up BJ to go home and buddy up with Winter.  Take a listen to the chat!

A great friend and a great guy all the way around.  If you've never caught one of Stu's comedy shows, make it a point.  If you are an animal lover like Stu and would like to help The Noah Project out with a little contribution you can stop in to The Noah Project on Airline Road in Muskegon and pick a couple up or you can get a hold of Stu via his Facebook page and get yourself a couple of fun stickers, with a purpose.  If you'd like to know more about The Noah Project, click on their logo below.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

A Holiday Stroll on the Fenner Road Holiday Trail

With the holidays here, every one is in a hurry...everyone is at their limit when it comes to the hustle and bustle and everyone is also in search of just one of those quiet moments that they can enjoy as a family, together, that won't break the bank.  For some, the days when the charm of the holiday's are long gone, but it's important to remember that our kids....they still feel the magic and are still delighted by all that surrounds the holiday season.

All that noise we hear, day in and day out can be washed away by the sound of "Jingle Bells" and the sights of some nice lights and favorite characters of both Christmas today and Christmas past if we let them.  Some may take their annual drive around area neighborhoods to see what there is to see.  Others might bury themselves in the Hallmark Channel for some binge watching and others, well, they might go the extra mile and take a look around their property to see what a little imagination and innovation can do for them, and while they are at it, why not invite the community out to see what there is to see..and share in the holiday spirit.
Fenner Road Holiday Trail on Facebook

Such is the case with Patti Winsemius.  Patti and family live out on Fenner Road on the North side of town and a few years ago, at the behest of her granddaughter, it was time to decorate the woods and have a party.  Now, keep in mind, this was a Halloween request at the time, but the simple first suggestion grew.  A year or so later right after Halloween was done up went the Christmas decor and today, you'll find the Fenner Road Holiday Trail open to all who'd like a gentle stroll through the woods to the delight of nice songs, friendly characters and comfortable surroundings.

It's a hobby to Patti.  She takes great delight in re-purposing things she finds at garage sales and second hand shops.  She's recruited some help from family when it comes to painting things and a couple years ago, when running extension cords got a little bothersome,  the hubs got on it and put some underground wiring out there to help things out.  There has never been a charge to take the stroll, at either Halloween or Christmas, it's just a way to share some warmth and joy to anyone who'd like to slow the pace for a few minutes and enjoy the stroll.

Having a visit from Positively Muskegon did however spark an idea for Patti.  She went to the Township hall and learned about a couple of local families that could use a hand this holiday season.  It's by no means required, but...they will be willing to take some small donations or maybe some non perishable food items or personal care items to help these local families.  You might find a donation box at the end of the stroll or maybe a place to leave some food, but again, it's by offering only if you care to help.

The walk, located at 4310 Fenner Road in Muskegon opens at dusk and it's a very family friendly experience.  Patti and I sat down to talk a little about it and then, stick around for a few highlights of the walk at the end of the video!  Take a look.

This is what this time of year is supposed to be about.  We were even invited to stay for hamburgers after we taped!  Take a few minutes to enjoy what the Winsemius family has created, and if you care to help out with the donations for the families in need, please do.  There are lots of opportunities to see great displays around town, Muskegon and the good people here always go the extra mile to bring a little joy.  Head on out to the Fenner Road Holiday Trail with the kids for a stroll of your own.  It's well worth the trip, and the time away from all the noise.

Sunday, December 9, 2018

Giving Back Christmas 2018 - Andrea Rosema and Crew Still Going Strong For Muskeogn

It was way back when in 2015 this little blog got started.  It wasn't much more than an idea and a GoPro.  What it was to become and what it would grow into were still to be comprehended but one message from a mom out in Wolf Lake shifted the entire purpose.  It was a cold day in December, in a "she shed" in a back yard where the focus came to be, and as long as it's happening, we're going to go back

Giving back Christmas was the brainchild of Andrea Rosema and friends.  The idea was to put on a party, open to all area kids to come out to and have a little holiday cheer.  Decorate some cookies, make a card for a soldier, a visit with Santa to round things out.  Maybe some prizes, food and drink..all in all, just what anyone is supposed to do at the holidays.  Get together and be a part of a community.  It's caring friends and neighbors who take the time after work to go out hustle up some sponsors, put out some flyers, spread the word through social media and the old "phone tree".  This is grass roots community building in action, and this is exactly what Positively Muskegon is all about.

Click Here for Giving Back Christmas on Facebook
We got the the party a year late.  Hey, it wasn't really our fault that they started a year before we did.  But for 4 years now, the VFW on Apple has been the home of the festivities.  December 15th is the date this year and the time runs from 1-5.  It's not just for Wolf Lakers, anyone is welcome and it's free.  Sure, they accept donations but the idea is advertised in the title, "Giving Back Christmas".  It's an event to just enjoy for anyone to not worry about the cost of tickets, levels of seating or who's who.

Andrea and I once again met up in that frozen "she shed" to talk about what's to come this year.  It's the invitation extended to you and yours to join the fun on Saturday the 15th and if you like what's going on, it's your chance to help support the event.  Take a listen.

It's a joy to visit Andrea every year.  We've grown a little, Giving Back Christmas has as well.  It's people like Andrea and her friends that go the extra mile to make Muskegon a better place.  What we do here would simply be impossible without the work of so many good people like the group of folks that work with Andrew to help this very special event come together.  Head out to the VFW with your youngins' and enjoy on the 15th.  There's a list of everything to do below.  Our thanks to Andrea again not only for what she and her friends add, but for that focus she gave us early on.  President Kennedy said "One person can make a difference, and everyone should try."  Pretty sure he was talking about Andrea.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Britta Introduces You To Linda Johnson - Heart Transplant Recipient Who Shares Her Story

Positively Muskegon had the great privilege to visit with an amazing woman...Linda Johnson...and learn more about her incredible heart transplant story. 

When I arrived at Linda's beautiful home in East Muskegon I was greeted by Linda's friendly rescued pup....   I knew right away that I was about to meet a very kind, special lady.

Meeting Linda for the first time I would have never guessed in a million years that just 16 months earlier she had received a heart transplant..... Beautiful, healthy lady with an incredible, growing family to live for.   Linda Johnson, a very proud lifelong Muskegon native.... Wife, Mother to three daughters and 4 beautiful grandchildren (and more on the way).

Linda's whole world changed a few years back when she discovered (literally overnight) that she had a very serious, life threatening heart ailment that would eventually require her to receive a heart transplant.    As anyone could imagine....with that sudden news, the fears that would overwhelm a person's life.    Amazingly and bravely she persevered and kept her thoughts positive...having so much to live for.

As several years passed....with her energy level at an all time low...needing sleep all the time...taking many medications....an electrical heart pump placed in her chest to keep her blood flowing electronically, Linda had absolutely no natural heart beat for two years while waiting for a heart donor.

Organs are in very high demand....and the only way most organs can be found is if an individual elects to donate their organs....  Any individual who would like to (in case of an untimely death) donate organs can find information on how to do so at any of the sights listed below.

Linda received the call in August of 2017, that a heart had been found for her.... Her husband Charlie drove her to Spectrum.... She was placed into an induced coma for several days....her surgery took 8-10 hours....and by the grace of God....the excellent medical skill and technology....and continued, constant self monitoring and medication... Linda is a healthy, active survivor.   Linda said that when she awoke to a room full of caring medical staff and her husband...she was able to feel her heartbeat for the first time in years.

If you would like to learn more about organ donation or Linda's incredible story please watch the interview with Linda and please check out the posted sights below.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 Celebrates The 16th Annual Dinner of Hope December 8th at VFW on Witham

On quick glance, you see black vests, patches, Harley's and beards on most of the members.  A quick peek behind the initial glimpse though and you're going to find a group of people dedicated to serving veterans, advocating for POW and MIA members of the military and issues facing them and their families.  As you'll hear in a short minute here in the video, Rolling Thunder isn't about just having another patch on a vest, it's about a commitment to serving.

Luckily for us here at Positively Muskegon, Rolling Thunder Chapter 4 of Michigan is no stranger to us.  We've been working with them for years to show you the incredible D-Day event they produce down at the LST-393 located at the Mart-Dock in Downtown Muskegon.  It's still a growing event and they add more splendor and reflection year after year.  However, their work isn't just one event yearly.  They work hard to represent their organization in parades, expos, and other events where they can spread the message advocating for those who have served as well as those who have yet to come home.
Follow Rolling Thunder Ch 4 on Facebook

They host events too!  Great things to help raise a few bucks for the club as well as the work they do. One that's coming up in the Spring is a pool tournament that you can use anything except a pool cue in it!  Stay tuned for details on that!  But the event that's coming up isn't about raising money  as much as it is raising a little goodwill and spirits of vet's and the community together.

For 16 years now, Rolling Thunder has put on The Dinner of Hope.  It's a holiday meal served buffet style for anyone wanting or needing to share the holiday spirit with veterans and families.  Now, they won't turn down a financial hand if you have the ability to pay, but..if you are not, no one will be turned away from a hot meal with all the fixin's and some good down home community fellowship as we draw closer to the Holiday's.  Goodwill to all is what this time of year is about and Rolling Thunder is all about building community and awareness for their cause so, save the date!  Saturday December 8th from 12n-3p.  The dinner will be held at the VFW in North Muskegon at the corner of Witham and Dykstra,

Al Thompson from Rolling Thunder got a hold of me originally and Randy Clapper grabbed center stage to talk about the group and the dinner.  Take a listen.

The door is open for you Saturday to learn a little more about Rolling Thunder, thank some Veterans who were willing to give all and if you need a hot and hearty meal...there will be one waiting.  The men and women of Rolling Thunder are one of those groups who do an awful lot "under the radar" for those who might otherwise go forgotten. Stop out and see them Saturday or visit their site to learn more!  Thanks so much to them for all they do!!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Santa's Helpers of Muskegon Helping Those Who Struggle to Make Christmas Magic Happen

  The holidays are fast approaching and for some, it's a dreaded time of year.  So much pressure to live up to the hype and excitement of the glitz and glamour of all the gift giving and huge surprises under the tree.  So much pressure from the advertising world, peers and social media in today's world for the biggest, best and most.  However, there are families who struggle to get by.  Some work more than one job to sustain the basics, and all the extras are hard to come by.

  One of the things that makes Muskegon so awesome is that in Muskegon, we always find a way to band together and help.  We're a very hard working town and getting our hands dirty and making sure that those in need don't go without seems to be a "thing".  It's one of the best parts of this community.  There are plenty of the "big organizations" that handle this kind of thing, but we always seem to see the grass roots things pop up too and when they take root and grow, it's because there are people behind them who understand what it is to have to go the extra mile to make ends meet and they genuinely want to see others not have to struggle the way they did.  More hands make light work right?
Find Santa's Helpers Muskegon on Facebook

  Santa's Helpers of Muskegon got started 4 years ago.  The loss of some family members sparked the idea...how can they take a personal tragedy and spark something good for others.  Year one, they served 35 kids.  They paired kids with sponsor families and organizations to help make a little magic happen.  They have grown.  Now, the number of kids is over 100 and the people willing to sponsor a kid has grown right along with them.  The need for good in the world is proven time and time again, when sometimes perfect strangers learn what a child needs by way of clothes or essentials and maybe a few toys and they make it happen.  The best part of it too, is that it happens right here in Muskegon.  Neighbors taking care of neighbors and that's what we are and have always been all about.

  I caught up with Karen Gagnon, Brie Shotwell and and Kathy Strait who founded and have grown this group of good.  We also had a surprise guest join us toward the tail end of the visit.  Take a listen to hear how this group has done it and continues to grow.

  It's not rocket science to take care of your community.  Good people who want to make a difference can do so much with an idea and some initiative.  Another amazing part of the story, turning a tragedy into a triumph.  The loss of a couple of kids meant that their memory will go on in the light of the joy of others when those kids who were at risk of going without, don't have to because someone cared enough to take a little action and make a difference.  You can connect with Santa's Helpers of Muskegon by finding them on Facebook.  Their page is linked in the picture above.