Andrew Maycroft, veteran assisted during the Day of Caring works alongside the team of volunteers from Laketon Township, Webb Chemical, Cannon Muskegon, Consumers Energy, and Fifth Third Bank.
Fighting for Those Who Fought For Us
BY CHRISTINE ROBERE, PRESIDENT AND CEO, UNITED WAY OF THE LAKESHORE
Sometimes, the toughest battle is the unseen one. Currently, 43% of Muskegon County residents struggle to meet their basic needs. One incident could push them over the edge of poverty. In Muskegon County, there are over 12,000 veterans that live in our community. According to statistics that means there are an estimated 5,000 veterans in our community that struggle to meet their basic needs.
United Way of the Lakeshore has recognized the commitment, sacrifice, and love that veterans and active servicemen and women have for our community. That is why, for the last five years, Veterans have been the primary focus for our annual Day of Caring. We know that unfortunately some of our community’s veterans have come back from service to find that, like other hard-working people in our community, they could use a hand with an unexpected expense. Due to COVID, our projects were scaled back this year, but we were able to do an abundance of work to help two veterans in need.
Members of the Howmet Veteran’s Committee has been helping us the last four years. Their team leader helped us scout the project with our Vietnam Era Veteran in the Whitehall area. Their team of 14 were able to remove a significant amount of debris from the yard, clean, repair and stain more than four large deck areas, improve the grounds and generally help the veteran who has significant health concerns and his wife feel supported. The accolades and thanks to the volunteers were heartfelt, as was the thoughtful appreciation the volunteers gave to the veteran for his service to our country.
Another team of 25 volunteers helped out our second Iraqi Era Veteran and his family of five in the Laketon Township Area with removing and replacing fencing, removing debris, landscaping, replacing gates and numerous projects that kept the volunteers busy all day long. This veteran could not have been more appreciative of the support and help from members of his community. A huge shout out to Consumers Energy, Webb Chemical, 5/3 Bank, Cannon Muskegon and others. Needless to say, the veteran was overwhelmed by the support.
City Manager Troy Bell works alongside over 60 volunteers on the beautification of the City of Muskegon Heights down Broadway.
In all there were about 300 volunteers engaged in helping. Other projects included a Pioneer Resources home site, downtown Muskegon Heights clean up and painting projects, Monaview and Evergreen Cemetery headstone and grounds clean up, book sorting for Read Early Read Often at Goodwill Industries, school supply drive, and Ryerson Creek area clean up around United Way building. Other volunteer teams engaged this year included Hines Corporation, Nichols, SAF, Greater Muskegon Service League, Rotary, Pioneer Resources, Mediation and Restorative Services, Harbor Hospice, Mercy, West Michigan Works, City of Muskegon Heights and Norton Shores, Read Muskegon, Muskegon Lake Hawks, Comerica Bank, Muskegon Economic Development, DHS, County of Muskegon and CWC. A special shoutout to Cannon for serving as our event sponsor, Meijer as our lunch sponsor and Wesco for providing donuts. “There were tears of joy at Day of Caring this year, from the volunteers and the veterans.”
Joe Prueth, manager of Plant 3 for Howmet Aerospace leads his team of volunteers who are all veterans to support a Vietnam Veteran in Whitehall.
So far, 46 veteran homes have been transformed in our community as a direct result of United Way volunteers.
Above, the 2021 United Way Day of Caring.
In honor of Military Service Appreciation Month, United Way of the Lakeshore has several ideas and options to serve our servicemen and women that include:
• Working with your local VFW and American Legion
• Cleaning memorial plaques at your local cemetery
• Hosting a community clean up at Veterans Memorial Park
• Submitting a Veteran’s history to the Library of Congress through the Veteran History Project.
The Clydesdales are Coming!
Tom Schultz, Vice President of Tyler Sales is serving as our 2021 Campaign Chair. He and Jim Tyler have announced plans to bring the Clydesdales to town as a special tribute to our veterans, first responders and United Way of the Lakeshore. The event will be called Heroes United! A parade is planned for downtown Muskegon on Veteran’s Day, Thursday, November 11 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. and on Wednesday November 10 in Fremont from 3:00 to 4:00 p.m. More information is available on our website.
United Way of the Lakeshore is uniting to inspire change and build thriving communities. Our Bold Goal – 10,000 more working families meet their basic needs by 2025. For more information, contact United Way of the Lakeshore at (231) 722-3134. Learn more about United Way of the Lakeshore at UnitedWayLakeshore.org, like the organization on Facebook and receive up to date information from Twitter at twitter.com/uwlakeshore.