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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Citi Boi Picnic Moved to Memorial Day Weekend

 

Through it all over the last couple of years, Muskegon has done far better than most communities when it comes to keeping it together through the most unimaginable situations we could be faced with.  A planet has been engulfed with fear, questions, no where near enough answers and a level of mistrust injected into all of us that has shaken some to the core.  It's been exhausting to say the very least, but even though we as a community are tired, we did better than most, and we can start to learn from it.



Everything that went right and everything that went wrong.  One of the things that went incredibly right in and around Muskegon was the reality that we had to take care of each other.  We are pretty polished in the fact that wealth and opulence don't just swoop in to make it better, we have to slug it out and do more with less than many others.  Under that reality however, is where we truly set ourselves a part as a community and when it's time to circle the wagons, most often the differences get put aside and we stand together while things blow over.  

People took to the streets to help at food drives, clinics, testing sites and more.  When other communities took to the streets to protest, instead of burning and riots, we went arm in arm and those who may have had a chaos based idea in mind thought better of it.  The resilience of us was a massive lesson and  the resilience of individuals was ignited to see that they could do more, and that in serving, the greatest reward is found.

Rob and Reyna Mathis are a couple of those individuals who found a little more inside themselves.  Before the schools got it all together to start the mobile delivery of meals to kids who depend on school lunches daily they began finding ways to feed people.  As that grew, so did their seeing the needs for people with clothing, help on some financial thigs and maybe a hand in employment skills.  As a couple of parents of a large family and an ever growing number of grandkids, like so many others they mobilized to help other families who faced the same things they did, and in it they found a new purpose.  

Citi Boi was born and in the hopes of growth and inclusion, they work now to provide ways to fill in the gaps that come along for people.  A collective of people who are friends and partners with Rob and Reyna help with some of the costs of getting going and they work too to help spread the message of the work.  Part of that work is inviting people to be familiar with them and while a big free community picnic was planned for May 21st, the weather wasn't really having it, so it's been moved to Memorial Day Weekend at Hackley Park beginning at 11a. 

Hamburgers, hot dogs, sides music and fin for the kids are to be found.  The City of Muskegon is sponsor of this fun event and the goal is simple.  Carry on with what we've done.  The pressure is down.  We've seen ourselves through the worst....let's open a new era of more "us" and less "us and them" no matter if we are talking neighborhoods, economic status, beliefs, backgrounds or whatever.  We is so much stronger than me.  It's the effort of all of us that makes this a community and people like Rob and Renya who take that first step.  Take a listen.



Now is the time.  Our season of fear is passing and while a "victory" is not exactly the best descriptor, we're smarter.  We're better.  We have learned that hero's lie within all of us and that fragile isn't necessarily vulnerable.  Fragile is a balance and to make it stronger, we need to be better as one, and the Mathis Family is reaching out to make that happen with their efforts that have just been planted.  Being in on the ground floor of the good is what we specialize at.  Stay right here with Positively Muskegon.



Sunday, May 8, 2022

Victor Gouveia Benefit Run May 21st

 

There are some people that come along who's drive is to make the world a better place and that sometimes means taking a role in lives of people that may or may not ever be able to pay them back.  We all know someone like this.  That friend or neighbor that always has the right tool.  Maybe it's the wisdom they possess and manage to share at the most opportune times or, it might be one of those situations where whatever they have going on gets put on pause to get something ironed out for you?  This is the kind of person that friends had in Victor Gouveia.




Victor is described as "that guy".  Always there to lend a hand.  Obsessed with how things work and making them work and helping people get their gadgets running right.  An incredibly talented auto body mechanic and fan of all things Harley and outdoors, Victor's passions were contagious and to those around him that were lucky enough to have him on their side, the friendship was more valuable than the abilities.  There was a deeper side to Victor too. 

Go Fund Me for Victor

Victor took on a role in a young guys life that changed the course of forever.  Not having much of a father figure in his life, Jerrod found a friendship with Victor.  He also took interest in the toys, gadgets and trade that Victor had going on.  Hey, what teen wouldn't be impressed with that kind of knowledge and excitement?  As the relationship grew, Victor saw the kid's excitement to learn autobody and started mentoring him in how it's done.  Only thing is, Jerrod's grades starts to slip a little.  Grades?  Well, do we keep doing what we're doing learning a trade or what?  Victor saw the teachable moment and did some dealing.  If Jerrod wanted to keep learning autobody, getting the grades up to speed was going to have to come first and if that meant working on that was part of it, so be it.  This is the kind of dedication and mentorship the world lacks, and the kind of investment in a young life rarely found.

Victor's time here was cut far too short as you'll hear, but...in his memory, family and friends are establishing a fund to help provide scholarships to area young people for scholarships to learn the skilled trades.  Since Victor was a Harley guy, let's fire up some bikes and get it done!  The ride kicks off in Grand Haven on May 21st and it's gonna be a stellar ride!  As the return back to Grand Haven comes back later in the day, Hiway Bar is the final stop as that was Victor's spot!  It's going to be an awesome day remembering an example set and lives effected.  It will also be a lasting reminder to others of the example set and a way to let the legacy of service, kindness and community carry on. 

Catrina Chambers and Everett Hawkins are two of the organizers of the upcoming event.  We grabbed a few minutes to learn a little more about Victor and the impact he's had, along with the details on his legacy.  Take a listen. 



Takeaway's from this?  It doesn't take much to be "that guy" to someone.  It's a matter of sharing some time and talent.  Who you can have an impact on and the amount of change you can make might not be seen immediately but in the long term, planting a seed doesn't always turn into a tree overnight.  One other thought, being kind goes a long long way for all of us.  While Victor probably never thought twice about what he was doing or why, in his absence those who's lives he touched knew that his legacy should carry on and amplified.  Please be a part of this great event anyway you can.  The bike run event is linked below.



Thursday, May 5, 2022

Police and Fire Picnic for the Family May 14th at Wolf Lake Community Church - Meet Rosemary O'Rourke

 

We beat the drum a lot about Muskegon and it’s always about what’s good coming out of the community as opposed to the “easy stuff” of finding the quick and easy way to get you to click on something. Well? This kind of approach isn’t just haphazard, it’s pretty reflective of everyone in this community and the trick is to get them to share their story about what they do and why…and to give them the spotlight for a couple minutes so that what they do is seen, heard and hopefully the example they set is followed and repeated. Seems easy right? Well, the work comes in the fact that sometimes the folks that do these deeds, well, they do them because it’s the right thing to do and not necessarily to be seen doing it. This gets a little more difficult when we start talking about older generations especially when the idea of “camera shy” is secondary to self sacrifice as taught all those years ago.


Like you to meet Rosemary O’Rourke. Rosemary is putting on a picnic lunch to honor our police and fire departments on May 14th at Wolf Lake Community Church from 11-1to show some appreciation for our area first responders as they have all been working under some pretty strenuous circumstances. The level of pressure we’ve all been under has been immense and to be in the role of working to help people who are in an emergency situation on top of what the are facing from day to day life as it goes. 

Rosemary is no stranger to pitching in. She’s been organizing events and fundraising events for years to help out in and around Muskegon. If you go back a while around here, you may remember the Andrea Bosse case. Rosemary was instrumental in helping them finish off the house that was eventually built by not only swinging a hammer herself, but organizing others to help and when there were enough hands on deck, or in this case on the roof, she shifted gears and got to work feeding everyone who showed up to make sure their work was appreciated and that they had the fuel to get it done quickly. Rosemary has also worked on behalf of veterans and their causes and the idea of any attention back toward her….it’s pretty foreign.

After a little convincing the camera rolled however. The hope is for what Rosemary remembers. Families coming out together to enjoy a free picnic honoring police and fire.  Rosemary is asking for an RSVP to try and plan ahead for the food, so if you can call 231-773-4087 it would be appreciated.  E&A Grocery is helping out with the food as is Town and Country Market on Apple are pitching in too.  Kids getting a chance to see the cruisers and trucks up close and personal and being able to speak to these local hero’s one on one to see the side of our first responders that we all know are here to help us in Muskegon. Friends and neighbors who’s main focus is the safety and welfare of all of us. Take a listen 



The example we all follow today has been set by people like Rosemary.  We work to show you the every day folks who make events like this possible in our community, but the reality is that we've been being shown by example for years just how a community comes together to help a purpose.  In Rosemary's case the purpose is to show some gratitude to the police and fire while give kids and young families a chance to engage and see that they are community protectors, not a threat.  It's also a chance to feed some people, enjoy some time outside now that Spring is trying to get here and just exhale.  We all need the pressure off some.  We all need to look back to and appreciate the groundwork that's been laid as well as the example set by Rosemary and carry it on.  It's her example that makes our community the stand out it is.