Traverse City Record-Eagle

June 23, 2014

Northern Notes: Community steps up to the plate to support Kohler

BY LISA PERKINS
Local columnist

---- — John McPeake called to say he has been amazed by the Grand Traverse community’s generosity in supporting the fundraiser he organized to benefit the son of co-worker Amanda Kohler.

McPeake, a corrections officer for Grand Traverse County, said he knew he had to do something when his fellow officer’s son Christopher, 15, was diagnosed with an inoperable brain tumor this year.

“We just wanted to do something to help the family with what they are going through,” said McPeake, who coordinated a silent auction and softball game between Grand Traverse County corrections officers and the KLT Ball Busters earlier this month.

The benefit raised more than $7,600 to help the Kohler family with the cost of regular trips to DeVos Children’s Hospital in Grand Rapids, where the Suttons Bay student has been undergoing tests to determine a course of treatment.

“People came forward with items for our silent auction and really got behind the effort. When (ex-NHLer) Dallas Drake found out that Christopher was a big fan, he came to throw out the first pitch, with his hockey stick,” McPeake said.

McPeake said he hopes to make the fundraiser an annual event to benefit families in need.

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Students from the eighth grade class at East Jordan Middle School voted to donate $682, raised during their annual Enterprise Day in May, to the East Jordan Freedom Festival board.

“The contribution will be a tremendous boost to the events budget needs,” said Freedom Festival board president, Shannon Fender.

This year’s East Jordan Freedom Festival will be held June 24-28. The festival board has increased the fireworks budget and has added an additional day to this year’s schedule.

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Haley Breniser, executive director of Grass River Natural Area, Inc., would like to thank the Dockside — Torch Lake Restaurant and staff for helping to raise $2,196 in support of their mission “to manage the Grass River Natural Area, conserve and protect its watershed, and provide opportunities that increase knowledge, appreciation, and community-wide stewardship of the natural environment.”

On the first Tuesday of May each year, Dockside holds the annual Spring Fling Fundraiser for GRNA. Fifty percent of the proceeds from the evening are donated to GRNA, Inc.

“Cheers to Dockside Restaurant and staff for your hard-work and generosity. It is because of fundraising events like the Spring Fling that allow our organization to attain its goals each year,” Breniser said.

The protection of Grass River Natural Area was initiated by a citizens group 45 years ago. Since then, 1443 acres of sensitive wildlife habitat are protected, the Grass River Center welcomes visitors year-round, and hundreds of children are taught how to be environmental stewards each year.