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Saturday, April 30, 2022

Benefit for Colin Kerstein June 4th - Meet Traci Schuitema Who's Organizing The Event


In 2015 along came this blog called Positively Muskegon.  It was born of the idea that maybe a new idea in how Muskegon was talked about was a fairly good idea and in that idea of our image, how do we best share that message with a much broader audience than what traditional media in the area reaches.  We also had a lot of light shining to do on the people who see a need and fill it, no matter how large or small and if they had any prior experience in such a role.

In Muskegon, we've seen so many absolutely incredible things grow from one person's idea.  Some of the events have gone on to become the things that we can't live without like concerts, motorcycle rallies and more.  Some, have come and gone and in their wake left millions of dollars behind the help those who are stricken with some illness or something and others, it might just be a one time shot to help a friend or family member get over a bump in the road.  No mater the cause, we are remarkably fortunate to live in a community that understands the fabric of all of us in in caring for those who may never be able to pay us back.  Hero's all begin somewhere, and by definition, a hero is is someone who is admired or idealized for courage, outstanding achievements, or noble qualities.  Anyone willing to grab the reigns when a 14 year old boy has cancer and says "I can do something about that" is a hero in our book.

Meet Traci Schuitema.  By day, Traci is a big rig driver!  That's right a tried and true trucker!  In her spare time....well, a glance at her FB shows a pretty cool motorcycle, a little sass and close friendships with a lot of remarkable people.  About every 4th or 5th entry however is a flyer for Colin Kerstein who at 14 found out that he had a little more of a challenge to face than most when he fall and broke a leg.  Colin found out on that day that he had a very rare form of cancer called adamantinoma.

Adamantinoma are rare tumors, which most often affect teenage boys and young men, usually occur after bones stop growing and require aggressive treatment. While there is no known cause, patients with adamantinoma have usually sustained trauma to the affected area.  Colin and his family are facing a lot of hospital time, time away from schools and home and surgeries to eradicate this problem.  It's an issue not foreign to any of us, and when it comes to kids in Muskegon, we know better than anyone how to circle the wagons and all do a little something to help, even if it's just showing up.  Which is what this story serves to do...invite you!

June 4th at Pats Roadhouse on Getty Street, it's gonna be a day!  12n-8p it's time to get it on!  Back to that motorcycle we mentioned...there may be a big bad biker or two on hand.  You know those gruff big hearted types that ALWAYS give more than they get?  There's going to be a pig roast, great music from Witchcraft Lemonade, live and silent auctions as well as plenty of the normal accompaniments at a fundraising gathering.  Traci and friends are currently gathering up the goods for the auctions and if you care to help, you may contact Traci by EMAILING HER HERE and of course, if you really want to go all in, you are welcome to get a hold of Traci and volunteer for the day or part of it. 

We met up at Pat's Roadhouse to get the 4-1-1 on the day, take a listen as we show you yet again, another person in Muskegon that's decided that "if it's to be, it's up to me".  

So, she might have been a little nervous when we began, but let's go back to hero. Coming on camera is the easy part. Investing the time, energy and dedication to organizing an 8 hour event to help the child of a friend and going out door to door to find others who may be willing to help too? We're warming up.  Seeing the impact that can be had by sacrificing a little time and rallying up some friends to pitch in?  Hero stuff.  Once the understanding of what it takes to help and how learning with one can multiply and help others down the road.....now you're seeing lasting change in one life or all of our lives and it's that one remarkable individual who just figured they could do more who started it all in motion.  See you June 4th at Pat's.  You'll find the line to the GOFUNDME linked under the flyer for the event.  

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

Muskegon Railroad Historical Society Train Show April 30th 2022


We go back a minute with the Muskegon Railroad Historical Society.  From the first time we met the organization when they were located above the Muskegon Heritage Museum on Western Avenue to today, this small volunteer based organization has not only been a story itself with their move and reimagining of their displays and purpose, but their story of getting it done in the midst of the most unthinkable circumstances speaks volumes of us as a community and how we all take what's important to us and make it happen, one way or another.

We began working with the Muskegon Railroad Historical Society when it was first announced they were moving to their new location in East Muskegon on Marquette where they are today.  It was one of those instances that I almost missed what was there, but got there to see what was and to help share the story a little as the move began.  As the building was found and the work to get it up to speed began, a pandemic hit and slowed things way down.  Everywhere was slowed way down.  It wasn't much of a thrill for anyone.  It wasn't going to be an overnight transformation to begin with but a slowdown of a couple years like this could mean the end for an organization in such transition.  It didn't however.  The people dedicated to the preservation of this essential piece of living history stuck it out, worked when they could and kept it moving ahead ever so slightly. 

MRHS on Facebook

Their annual train show took a hit however.  Congregate events being shut down not only hurt the collectors and enthusiasts of Muskegon's only train show, it's a bit of a fundraiser for the Historical Society too, so that had to be factored in when it comes to funding for the new project.  They stuck it out.  Some very generous help came through the Community Foundation and as the building they will be hosting a grand opening in soon is in the final stages, across the street on April 30th will be the return of their model railroad and hobby expo at Cardinal Elementary!  From 10a-2p those who love the train hobby can enjoy the different vendors and collectors coming in for the show.  There should also be a chance to get a first glance at the MRHS building across the street as the finishing touches are put on.  It's a great opportunity to get out and enjoy the hobby or just see some sights.  It's also a fantastic way to share some history with younger people who might only occasionally see a train up around by us, when if they lived a little further south they'd see just how essential they are to our economy still today.

Michael Wood invited me out to talk about the last couple years for the MRHS and to share some of the thoughts of getting back to business on the expo and finishing off the new home of the MRHS, take a listen. 


A day to share some memories or a day to set into motion some new ones.  Maybe train collecting and building is the hobby that's missing from your family?  Stop out and see the Muskegon Railroad Historical Society and attend their expo on April 30th.  The strength and tenacity of this group to ride out all they have is a direct reflection of all of us in Muskegon.  We find a way.  Thanks to Woody for sparing a few minutes to talk about the work still going on.