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Tag Archive | "Somalia"

Year in Review: Former refugee becomes RF Queen


Red Flannel Queen Mumina Ciise (left) is shown here on Red Flannel Day with Grand Marshal and Library Director Donna Clark, and court members Kaley Louck and Madison Case. Photo courtesy of the Red Flannel Festival.

Red Flannel Queen Mumina Ciise (left) is shown here on Red Flannel Day with Grand Marshal and Library Director Donna Clark, and court members Kaley Louck and Madison Case. Photo courtesy of the Red Flannel Festival.

By Judy Reed

For Mumina Ciise, being chosen as the 2016 Red Flannel Queen is a dream come true. And not all that long ago, this special event would never have seemed possible for Mumina or her family—a family that was just struggling to stay safe in war torn Somalia.

Mumina’s parents, Max and Maryan, fled Somalia with their seven children, due to civil war, when Mumina was only three-years-old. They arrived in Cedar Springs in 2010, and moved into a two-bedroom apartment. The community welcomed them, and helped them realize the dream of owning their home, through the Inner City Christian Federation. Mumina was thankful to be chosen to represent the Red Flannel Festival as queen. She hopes to one day become a teacher and teach at Cedar Springs High School.

Grand Marshal

Longtime resident and Library Director Donna Clark was chosen as Grand Marshal for the 2016 Red Flannel Festival. The Festival chose Donna due to her many years of selfless service and outstanding dedication to the community through both the library and several service organizations. “The Red Flannel Town is truly a better place because of her exceptional community involvement and extraordinary volunteerism!” said former RFF president Michele Tracy.

RFF President

In other Red Flannel news, Michele Tracy stepped down as President after 15 years, and assumed the role of president emeritus, a non-voting member of the board. Tracy moved to Hershey, Pennysylvania this year to work for Penn State University’s Milton S. Hershey Medical Center. Taking over as president of the RFF was Randy VanDuyn, husband of Cedar Springs Schools Superintendent Dr. Laura VanDuyn.

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From refugee to Red Flannel Queen


Red Flannel Queen Mumina Ciise (left) is shown here on Red Flannel Day with Library Director Donna Clark, and court members Kaley Louck and Madison Case. Photo courtesy of the Red Flannel Festival.

Red Flannel Queen Mumina Ciise (left) is shown here on Red Flannel Day with Library Director Donna Clark, and court members Kaley Louck and Madison Case. Photo courtesy of the Red Flannel Festival.

By Judy Reed

For Mumina Ciise, being chosen as the 2016 Red Flannel Queen is a dream come true. And not all that long ago, this special event would never have seemed possible for Mumina or her family—a family that was just struggling to stay safe in war torn Somalia.

Mumina’s parents, Max and Maryan, fled Somalia with their seven children, due to civil war, when Mumina was only three-years-old. They hid below deck in a ship that was transporting livestock so they wouldn’t be seen escaping. The family thought they were going to Italy, but wound up in Turkey, where they stayed a few years. While there, Mumina’s older sister Fatima died of an intestinal disorder, and Max’s health deteriorated. They then decided to try to come to America. And with the help of the U.S. Embassy and other organizations, they were accepted to come to the United States as refugees.

After a year in Lansing, the family came to Cedar Springs in 2010, and ended up living in a two-bedroom apartment in town. People from the school and community made the family feel welcome, and helped meet their needs in many ways. Then, in 2015, they realized the dream of owning their own home when the Inner City Christian Federation approved them for a home to be built on a vacant lot on Cedar Street.

Mumina is very happy here. “I have lived in Cedar Springs for longer than I have lived anywhere else. Cedar Springs is my home. My friends, school, teachers, and church are all here!” she said.

The help that teachers here have given her has

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