BY STEPHANIE BEACH
— In November 2012, Jim and Ida Tompkins donated $7,638 specifically for the Grand Traverse County Veterans Affairs Department to purchase two new desktop computers and a new specialized software application along with the necessary scanners and electronic signature pack.
The new VETRA SPEC software is designed especially for use by Veterans Affairs offices and the local VA office has tried to purchase the software for four years, but severe budget restrictions prevented the purchase, wrote Jim and Ida’s daughter, Mary Ann (Tompkins) Galic of Traverse City.
“These purchases will allow us to greatly increase our productivity and most importantly benefit the men and women who answered our call to protect freedom,” said VA Office Director Chuck Lerchen.
Mary Ann wrote that her father is a long-time member of the Veterans Affairs Committee which oversees the County VA Department, which makes him acutely aware of the need for the best equipment and software available. He served in the U.S. Air Force for four years during the Korean War and is a member of the Korean War Veterans Association and the American Legion. Both he and Ida are strong supporters of area veterans and have donated to numerous other projects over the years.
“Jim and Ida Tompkins are both strong supporters of our veterans having donated to numerous other projects over the years,” Mary Ann wrote. “As you can tell, I am proud of my mom and dad and share their concern for all of our vets.”
• Gina Aranki wrote on behalf of Child and Family Services to note that the agency is very fortunate to have many willing and cheerful community partners who help advance its mission to nurture children and strengthen families.
“We are grateful to every one, but we’d especially like to single out a few for their outstanding efforts recently,” Gina wrote.
Mike Mahn of Golden-Fowler Home Furnishings spearheaded the fantastic DreamRoom Classic, which raised nearly $13,000. Even better, Mike continues to be there whenever families need help with furniture as they transition from one home (or no home) to another.
“Very simply, when we call, Mike answers, graciously and generously,” Gina wrote. “Thank you for all you do, Mike and everyone at Golden-Fowler.”
CFS was again a beneficiary of this year’s Hoops for Hope, a great effort on the part of Coach Heather Simpson and the Traverse City Central and St. Francis girls’ basketball teams to raise money for athletic shoes for children in need.
“The teams raised $1,878 this year for that purpose,” Gina wrote. “Many thanks ladies — way to learn to give back at a young age!”
The second annual art contest was a hit, Gina wrote, with fantastic creations from children of all ages who use the arts to help them overcome life’s challenges.
“Heartfelt thanks to judges Christie Minervini, Del Michel and Diana Milock, who also funded prizes and are taking winners on a spring trip to the Grand Rapids Museum of Art. Wonderful!” Gina wrote.
And finally, kudos and thanks to Gordon Waggoner and Kristin Levesque for sharing the proceeds from a hugely successful Suds & Snow event at Timber Ridge RV & Recreation Resort with Child and Family Services. Nearly 900 paid tickets raised a total of $5,645.
“Thank you for your hard work and generosity,” Gina wrote. “Many thanks also to our wonderful volunteers, including many CFS employees, who braved the cold for a great cause.”