Michael Bennett: Jump in and help us growPublished 10:14pm Wednesday, September 19, 2012
Why does it take a tragic event to really bring a community together?
Wings Etc. was packed Tuesday night for the benefit event for the family of crash victims Julianna Brown and Sophia True. They couldn’t take my to-go order on the phone, so I drove over after work and saw a line out the door. A group of folks from Leader Publications said lunch was just as busy. When I got there, I saw owner Jeremy Bayles and his crew hustling to get orders out.
I ordered a beer and said I would like to place an order to go. The weary waitress looked to Jeremy and he nodded it was OK. I hear they raised somewhere around $2,000 for the family. Good going, guys!
And the list of fundraisers and money to accounts continues to grow. Facebook is abuzz with events. It is heartwarming. If you have not read Craig Haupert’s story about Tom Kessler, one of the first on the scene of the accident, you need to do so. Tom gives you a little insight of what it takes to be a first responder. Find it online at www.leaderpub.com.
My hope would be to bring our people power to build better communities every day. There is a group of people I’ve met in each community that Leader Publications serves out there with that exact mission. If we could get those numbers to swell as we are currently witnessing, just imagine what can be done.
As publisher, I often bemoan my disappointment of not being physically able to participate in each of our communities as I would like. At our organization, we encourage community volunteerism and participation. I am proud of our crew. Advertising guru Mary Cooper volunteers with the Krush Volleyball Club and participates in food drives through Granger Community Church. Our distribution manager, Cindy Klingerman, recently joined the Niles Service League. Creative artist Andrea Schueneman is in charge of the Puppeteers at the Huntly Baptist Church. Advertising consultant Lindsey Cloutier is an ambassador for the Four Flags Area Chamber of Commerce and she recently organized a benefit for the family of Raleigh Franco. Editor Katie Rohman is a director on the Volunteer Southwest Michigan board; a Lunch Buddy for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Berrien and Cass, meeting weekly at Niles schools with a “Little” in need of mentoring; is involved with the Humane Society of St. Joseph County; and soon hopes to participate in the Dowagiac Rotary Club.
And that’s just the employee volunteerism that I know about.
Last week, I began a new role as membership director for the Niles-Buchanan Rotary Club. If you have interest in learning more, you know where to find me.
Let’s build upon this caring momentum currently in our community. It sounds cliche, but together we really can make a major difference.
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