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Wings Over Muskegon

Wings Over Muskegon
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Tuesday, June 9, 2020

Taking Back Muskegon - Meet Michelle Tyson Who's Got The Future of Our Kids in Mind

It's always one of the greatest things we do to come across those who make the decision that it's time to do "something" no matter what that "something" might be.  If you're wondering if we have any experience in the field, take a trip back to 2015 when Andrea Rosema told us about "Giving Back Christmas".  Not only did her idea to do "something" take hold and grow, it set the pace for everything this blog and ideal would become.   Well, Michelle Tyson is making it happen again.

Michelle sent in a post request to the Facebook group promoting a "Royal Family Photo Contest" and like any other post, it goes into hold until someone can take a look at make sure it's not some ad for free sunglasses or the latest junk post from some clown trying to steal your data.  We curate the group pretty heavily to protect what gets on and make sure that it's relevant and free of the typical internet trash you see everywhere else.  We often too will ask who posts a little more if it's an intriguing post and seek to learn a little more and if it fits, good...if not...we explain the group rules.
Follow Taking Back Muskegon on FB and Enter the Photo Contest!!

In talking to Michelle briefly, I asked about the contest and a little more abut her purpose.  She explained that before the COVID stuff, she and a circle of friends began a grass roots effort to help support the kids in her area by hosting some events, offering a safe space fight crime and give kids at an early age the thought that street life might look glamorous on TV, but the reality of it is, it's not.  It's a game of smoke and mirrors and the end result for those who get pulled into it, is a cycle that needs to stop.  So, like any other small group of folks who start off with a dream, it's been elbow grease, grit, drive and determination to get things going, maybe raise a few bucks to find a place to call home and then expand their centers over time.  In comes the COVID shut down and everything gets put on hold.

As things begin to open up again, however, that desire to make change happen continues to grow and a couple months of staying home and staying safe are not going to stop Michelle and crew.  While we were not aware of when things would begin to open up, to keep some awareness happening, they came up with the "Royal Family Photo Contest" which you can enter through their Facebook page to the right.  Why not get the family gussied up and looking good for a picture?  Probably better than the stretchy pants and robe everyone's been wearing around the house, right?  A fun thing to do as a family and a great way to draw a little attention to the cause.  Offer up a prize?  Who wouldn't love a cash prize?  Then start to tell your story.  Open that channel of communication with others and let the good word spread and let them see that when you're pushing to make something happen, there's bound to be someone else who's gonna come along and push too.

It snuck up on ya didn't it?  Michelle is building community.  She's a modern day hero and she's said that any difference, is a big difference....and it's up to her to make it, even if it's just in the life of one other person.

I dropped by to see Michelle in the City of Friendly People and learn a little more.  Take a listen to our chat on the corner!

Imagine if we all took that one moment to follow that divine spark?  That little voice in your head that says - "Do something about it!".  Michelle did that and in time, her following that voice will lead to a life changed forever.  It might be one....but that's a legacy and much like Andrea starting a Christmas event for kids, Michelle is starting her own journey and to be here to watch it grow...and help her with that....that's what it's all about at Positively Muskegon.  Michelle, we're here for you!

Monday, June 8, 2020

Lighthouse for Veterans Heykoop Car Show Becomes a Cruise in 2020 on the 4th of July at Mart Dock

It's a year of adaptation and improvisation.  Lot's of things have a different spin on them and some things have had to pull the plug because the whole idea of social distancing and safety is kind of impossible for some events.  While the Stay Home order is a thing of the past, the message of proceed with caution holds true and when we first heard "The New Normal" we didn't really know what that meant, but it's becoming more clear, it means some adjustments for everyone.

That's not to say that the world has come to a screeching halt.  Not in the least.  Some events have had to make some modifications and to continue on for the purpose they do, those modifications are so very important because the work that goes on....it's really important too.  Such is the case with Lighthouse for Veterans.  Started by Natasha Heykoop and her family after the tragic loss of her brother to suicide, Lighthouse for Veterans is an organization that provides retreats for Veterans so they can work through some of the issues they face among peers who may experience some of the same problems they do.  It's a unique situation to them as they often feel isolated and that no one understands other than those who have served as well.  Lighthouse also provides community education.  Helping others understand what to look for when it comes to signs that someone may be giving that they are suicidal and how to help them seek the help they need.  Sadly, funeral expenses.  If a Veteran falls victim to suicide, often the family has to deal with the cost of the funeral as well as the immense cost of the loss of a loved one.  Finally, awareness.  Lighthouse works to share the message that we lose Veterans daily and the Veteran suicide won't just magically go away someday.

Click Here for Details on the Heykoop Memorial Cruise
4 years ago, we began to tell the story of Natasha and her desire to do a little something.  We were in a freshly cut field off Getty and Airline which was the spot they found to get things started.  It was a launch with a few friends and family members, some car owners that caught wind of what was happening and even a little picnic table with some pot luck food on it and a handful of raffle prizes.  Now, just 3 short years later, the even has grown to need a little bigger space.  You'll find this years even once again at the Mart Dock in Downtown Muskegon for the kick off on Saturday July 4th.  Yes, a car cruise on the 4th of July to help Veterans is exactly as patriotic as it sounds and yes, you really outta be there.

While in years past, it's been a car show, this year...it's going to be a cruise with the line up starting in the morning and the cruise hitting a few destinations with a return back to Mart Dock in early to mid afternoon.  Logistics are going to be a little different and patience will be greatly appreciated, however there will be time for the public to see some of the great items up for raffle or get some event merch to help support the cause once the cruise takes off.  There will be refreshments and fun for those cruising and when they come back to Mart Dock, prizes will be given out.

As always, I got my annual visit with Natasha Heykoop to hear about the event, the modifications and of course the purpose.  And, as always it's just amazing to me to watch something so incredible take hold in place of such a tragedy.  Take a listen to our chat and start polishing up the car for the 4th of July!!  It's going to be epic!

Hope the Turtle Wax in the garage isn't all hardened and dried out.  The cruise will be awesome of course, but the purpose is so much more.  What Natasha and her group have built out of the ashes is amazing and they are to be commended and supported for what they have accomplished and continue to do even when the times throw them a serious curve ball.  Take a few minutes and visit their website and help support the work they do to prevent Veteran suicide and advocate that we all know more about the signs and what we can do to help.  It's our great pleasure to watch such things grow right here in Muskegon.  July 4th...enjoy the cruise!