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Tag Archive | "volunteers"

Call for volunteers to help with bird conservation efforts

A vigilant adult black tern watches closely as Audubon Great Lakes staffers band her newly hatched chicks. Photo taken by David Fuller.

All of our MI Birds partners are dedicated to bird conservation in Michigan, and many need your help. Several organizations are seeking community science volunteers for different projects across the state. Learn more about each program and sign up to volunteer below.

Safe Passage Great Lakes (March 15 – May 31)

Each year nearly 1 billion birds die from bird-building collisions in the U.S. alone. Volunteers are needed to monitor buildings in urban areas in Michigan that may pose a danger to migrating birds twice weekly between March 15and May 31. The data collected is then used to start conversations with building owners and city officials about making the city a more bird-friendly community.

Interested in becoming part of this community science project?

  • In Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, please contact Heidi Trudell and Alice Elliott at Washtenawsafepassage@gmail.com. 
  • At Wayne State University in*Detroit, please contact Ava Landgraf at alandgraf@detroitaudubon.org. 
  • In Lansing, please contact Linnea Rowse at lrowse@michiganaudubon.org. 
  • If you live somewhere else, but still want to participate, you can submit bird collision observations anywhere using the Global Bird Collision Mapper https://birdmapper.org/app/?utm_campaign=mi+birds+volunteers&utm_medium=mkt+email&utm_source=govdelivery app

Adopt-A-Nest Osprey Monitoring Program (March 23 – July 17)

Volunteer community scientists, like you, can adopt an osprey nest and help monitor these beautiful predatory birds for the summer. Participation in this program requires little effort. All ages and experience levels are welcome.

A minimum commitment of three 15-minute nest visits between the end of March and early July is all it takes to determine if there is a nesting attempt, if birds are actively nesting and if there are any chicks in the nest. You can visit more often if you’d like. Binoculars are adequate for most observations, but a spotting scope is useful to determine the number of chicks. Most nests are located on cell towers and are easily viewable from public roads.

Volunteers are needed only in the following counties: Alpena, Benzie, Calhoun, Cass, Clare, Crawford, Emmet, Ingham, Ionia, Jackson, Kalkaska, Lenawee, Manistee, Missaukee, Montmorency, Muskegon, Osceola, Oscoda, Presque Isle, St Clair, St Joseph, Wexford.

Sign up to adopt an osprey nest.  https://act.audubon.org/onlineactions/fArVY3PBDUCNXfYzzYHYsQ2?utm_campaign=mi+birds+volunteers&utm_medium=mkt+email&utm_source=govdelivery 

Black tern nest platform-building workshops (April – May)

Join MI Birds and Detroit Audubon as we construct nesting platforms to install at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island. Black terns are a Michigan species of special concern and have seen population declines since the 1960s. These nesting platforms aim to help increase hatching success of black tern nests within St. Clair Flats. A presentation on black terns will be given prior to platform construction, and light refreshments will be served.

Workshops are scheduled at:

Secretive marsh bird surveys at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area (May 1 – June 15)

Audubon Great Lakes recently was awarded a Michigan DNR Wildlife Habitat Grant to improve the wetlands at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area on Harsens Island, which doubles as an Audubon Important Bird Area. This habitat work aims to benefit breeding and migratory waterfowl, but also secretive marsh birds.

We are seeking four to six marsh bird survey volunteers to search for these secretive birds during three morning surveys between May 1and June 15. Volunteer training, including bird identification by sight and sound, and supplies will be provided. Volunteers should have their own binoculars.

Volunteer training will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, April 4 at St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area. This is the same day as the DNR’s spring birding tour explore the wildlife area in the morning and then join us for the volunteer training session.

Register to volunteer for the secretive marsh bird survey. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/secretive-marsh-bird-surveys-volunteer-training-session-tickets-96986754995?utm_campaign=mi+birds+volunteers&utm_medium=mkt+email&utm_source=govdelivery

Black tern monitoring at Wigwam Bay State Wildlife Area and St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area (May – July)

Black terns, a common colonial waterbird species in steep decline, are a Michigan species of special concern. The Michigan DNR, Audubon Great Lakes, Detroit Audubon, Common Coast Research, the University of Michigan and several other partners are working together to monitor these birds throughout the state.

Volunteers are needed to assist staff in the field on various dates, as they search for black tern nests and record data. In June, black tern capture and banding begins. No previous experience is necessary, but you must be comfortable working in a boat (kayak or canoe), be able to lift 40 pounds and be able to commit to a full, eight-hour day in the field.

  • Wigwam Bay State Wildlife Area: Volunteers needed Wednesday, May 20or Thursday, May 21and Monday, June 15or Tuesday, June 16(weather permitting). Please contact Erin Rowan at erin.rowan@audubon.org if interested. 
  • St. Clair Flats State Wildlife Area: Monitoring occurs most Fridays between May 20and July 31. Please contact Ava Landgraf at alandgraf@detroitaudubon.org if interested. 

Ives Road Fen Preserve workday and bird walk with The Nature Conservancy (May 16) 

Join us as we explore and improve the Ives Road Fen Preserve in Britton Saturday, May 16. After our bird walk, well remove invasive plant species and enjoy some snacks.

We’ll start the day at 8:45 a.m. with a bird walk through the fen and floodplain along the River Raisin as we search for migratory songbirds and waterfowl. Well then cut shrubs in the fen and pull knapweed from the planted prairie. At noon we’ll stop work to enjoy some snacks and beverages.

Cutting and digging tools and work gloves will be provided but bring your own if you have some that you like. Bring your own binoculars if you have them. A few extra pairs will be available if needed.

Sign up for the Ives Road Fen Preserve workday and bird walk. https://www.eventbrite.com/e/96972885511?utm_campaign=mi+birds+volunteers&utm_medium=mkt+email&utm_source=govdelivery. Space is limited.

MI Birds is a public outreach and engagement program created by Audubon Great Lakes and Michigan Department of Natural Resources that aims to increase all Michiganders’ engagement in the understanding, care and stewardship of public lands that are important for birds and local communities.

Visit MI Birds https://gl.audubon.org/conservation/bird-friendly-communities/mi-birds?utm_campaign=mi+birds+volunteers&utm_medium=mkt+email&utm_source=govdelivery.

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Enjoy a historic summer as a Tawas Point Lighthouse keeper

Volunteer keepers who participate in the light-keeper’s program at Tawas Point Lighthouse provide tours and do some routine cleaning and light maintenance work during their stay. Enjoy a historic summer as a Tawas Point Lighthouse keeper.

Volunteers in the Tawas Point Lighthouse keeper’s program are trained to provide tours in the lighthouse and area’s unique history.

Winter may have just begun, but it’s the perfect time to start making summer travel plans. Looking for uncommon travel experiences? How about a two-week stay at the historic Tawas Point Lighthouse, located in Tawas Point State Park off Tawas Bay in Lake Huron?

The Tawas Point Lighthouse Keeper Program is now accepting applications for volunteer keepers for May 1 through Oct. 29. The program gets more than 100 applications a year. Those selected will get to live in the restored keeper’s quarters. Each participant pays a $75 per-person fee and provides roughly 35 hours of service each week in and around the historic lighthouse that attracts visitors from all over the world.

“The Tawas area is known as Michigan’s Cape Cod,” said Hillary Pine, Tawas Point Lighthouse historian. “It’s a lovely area favored by bird-watchers, sailors, history enthusiasts and others. We make sure our volunteer lighthouse keepers have plenty of time to enjoy Lake Huron, Tawas Bay and other recreational opportunities.”

Keeper duties at this nationally accredited museum include greeting visitors, giving tours, sharing information about the lighthouse, and routine cleaning and maintenance. Lodging is in the second story of the keeper’s quarters attached to the lighthouse. Accommodations include two bedrooms that sleep up to four adults, a modern kitchen, bath and laundry. Keepers must commit to a two-week stay.

Pine said the program looks for teams of two, three or four adults — especially those with knowledge of lighthouse lore or Great Lakes maritime history, but that background is not required. Prospective keepers should be able to climb up and down the 85 lighthouse stairs and have excellent customer service and public speaking skills.

“We give our volunteer lighthouse keepers historical information and on-site orientation to help prepare them for their experience,” Pine said. “They take great pride in helping to promote and preserve the lighthouse and who wouldn’t love waking up to a beautiful view of the bay every day?”

Applications will be accepted through Feb. 1. The application and additional information are available at michigan.gov/tawaslighthouse. For more information, email dnr-tawaskeepers@michigan.gov or contact Hillary Pine at 989-348-2537.

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Year’s second Adopt-A-Highway cleanup coming

Motorists should be on the lookout beginning Saturday as thousands of Adopt-A-Highway volunteers fan out along state roadways from Calumet to Kalamazoo picking up litter. Participants in the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) program will clean highway roadsides from July 14 to 22 during the second of three scheduled pickups this year.

Every year, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers regularly collect 65,000 to 70,000 bags of trash. The popular program began in 1990 and has grown to involve more than 2,800 groups cleaning 6,300 miles of highway.

Getting involved in the program is straightforward. Volunteers include members of civic groups, businesses and families. Crew members have to be at least 12 years old and each group must include at least three people. Groups are asked to adopt a section of highway for at least two years. There is no fee to participate. Adopt-A-Highway signs bearing group names are posted along the stretches of adopted highway.

When working in a highway right of way, Adopt-A-Highway volunteers wear high-visibility, yellow-green safety vests required by federal regulations. MDOT provides free vests and trash bags, and arranges to haul away the trash.

Sections of highway are available for adoption all over the state. Interested groups can get more information on joining the program at www.michigan.gov/adoptahighway.

The year’s final Adopt-A-Highway pickup is scheduled for the fall, from Sept. 22 to 30.

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Kent County Sheriff victim advocate program seeks volunteers

From the Kent County Sheriff Office

People often approach us and ask, “How can I help?” We want to tell you about an awesome opportunity to get involved, especially if volunteer work was high on your list of resolutions for 2018. 

We are accepting applications to our Victim Advocate Program, which is one of our most important and impactful volunteer programs as it places advocates in immediate contact with family members who have lost a loved one in the wake of a tragic event. Here’s a little more information:

This group of men and women assist law enforcement officers when tragic events occur. These volunteer advocates provide support and comfort to families when traumatic news is given. Victim advocates respond to fatal traffic accidents, homicides, suicides and other traumatic deaths. They lend support to victims and survivors as they adjust to the initial shock of the loss of a loved one. 

Victim advocates are trained to deal with the emotional needs of traumatized victims. Advocates are trained to assist families in making decision on who they might contact fort additional support. They stay with the victim until his or her own support system arrives. The advocates work in teams of two and commit to being on call for a one week period of time. They are on call from 6:00am-6:00pm and for the night shift from 6:00pm – 6:00am. Each advocate goes through a 20-hour in house training process to help them in dealing with grief and its effect on people. 

If you are interested in learning more about the Victim Advocate program, please contact Sandi Jones at 616-632-6221 or sandi.jones@kentcountymi.gov

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Hard work brings beauty to library grounds


by Donna Clark and Sue Wolfe

The asphalt being poured on the walking trail at the Library.

Volunteers continue to work hard to complete the projects around the library and surrounding park areas, which includes the flowers around the stainless steel structure and the native grasses in the rain garden on the south. Naturalists Tom Mabie and Perry Hopkins took oversight of these two projects, gathering most of the native grasses and plants from the area around Cedar Creek, and then babying them to be sure they survived.

From the first days of May to the Grand Opening of the new Library, many good folks from the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) and beyond came together to put in the shrubs, trees, stones and lawn around the Library. An underground watering system on timers has been key in aiding in the growth and stability of the healthy plants and lawn. The system was provided by Dan McIntyre and his company, Splash, and then installed at no extra cost to the Library. Several free visits have been made as adjustments or replacements to sprinklers have been needed.

City Councilor Dan Clark has put in a lot of hours tending to the library grounds.

Councilman Dan Clark has spent many evenings and weekends around the Library and walking path in the surrounding park areas off Main and Pine Streets, hand-mowing the lawn,  edging, checking on the sprinklers, making sure the timers are set right, and cleaning around the new asphalt and placing sod to prevent any washouts. Clark is doing the finishing touches that take a lot of time but really pull things together for a neat and crisp appearance. Also spending many hours toward cleaning up the grounds, trimming bushes, and sweeping sidewalks has been donated by Andy Dipiazza.  The public grounds are really beautiful!

Along the new path you can now see the (36) 10”x8” brass plates inset into the retaining wall blocks. Thanks to Don Snow and his team at CS Tool Engineering, Inc., the plates and engraving are finished, and at no cost to the Library. Thanks to Dale Larson, owner of Northwest Kent Mechanical and his team, 36 plates were installed with great care and precision on September 27 and 28. 

An example of one of the many bricks available to purchase.

The 129 bricks that have sold this past year have arrived and will be installed very soon. With the help of our new DPW Director, David Ducat and his team, and any other volunteers needed, the plan is to install them at the entrance of the new Library. According to Duane McIntyre, foreman of the project, we have 410 places for bricks, depending on the sizes purchased. The sizes offered are the 4×8 for $50 or the 8×8 for $100. On the 4×8 there can be 3 lines of 21 characters, including spaces between words and for the 8×8, 6 lines. These will make wonderful holiday presents! In fact a long-time community person with lots of family and grandchildren recently said she was going to purchase 21 bricks for her family Christmas presents.  

Mayor Gerry Hall and Councilman Perry Hopkins have been assembling the 10 benches purchased through the CBDT. The nameplates will again be engraved under the direction of Don Snow. Memorial and honorary brass plates will be installed on these benches, also. McIntyre and Hopkins will oversee the installing of the benches on various cement slabs around the library and surrounding park area. 

You perhaps noticed the four six foot benches around the clock tower and the sidewalk at the east side of the Library, ready for Red Flannel visitors.  They were in constant use and a very attractive and useful addition to our festivities!

Director Donna Clark was on hand at the library on Red Flannel Day offering tours and information about the vision our community has embraced called, the “Heart of Cedar Springs.” The entire property, going even beyond the edge of Cedar Creek and the White Pine Trail, will be a park-like area, developed and supported through a base constituency of over 100 volunteers and donors, the Community Building Development Team.  

The next project is building an amphitheater along where the White Pine Trail and Cedar Creek meet west of the park property.  A new fundraising campaign has begun. The City of Cedar Springs and the CBDT will work together on submitting an application for a Economic Development Grant for a $50,000 match within the next few weeks. Watch for details soon on how you can get involved. 

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Community cleans up on Earth Day

 Community members helped clean up around the Heart of Cedar Springs and other roadsides within the city limits on Earth Day last Saturday. Photo by Kathy Ensley.

Community members helped clean up around the Heart of Cedar Springs and other roadsides within the city limits on Earth Day last Saturday. Photo by Kathy Ensley.

In honor of National Earth Day on Saturday, April 22, the City of Cedar Springs and the Community Building Development Team (CBDT) volunteers took to cleaning up the newly acquired city property running north along Cedar Creek and intersecting with the White Pine and North Country Trails, just west of Main Street in downtown Cedar Springs. Approximately 28 community members came together to cut down brush and dead trees, haul away the lumber, clean out creek waters, and pick up debris in the area.

Earth Day cleanup. Photo by Perry Hopkins.

Earth Day cleanup. Photo by Perry Hopkins.

Perry Hopkins, City Councilor and CBDT Board Member, along with Tom Mabie, CBDT member, and other community members were careful to protect and keep flowers, bushes, plants, and trees that are environmentally important to maintaining proper creek temperatures for the trout, as well as providing an enjoyable year-round variety of natural blooming and therapeutic vegetation. The Hopkins and Mabie duo are teaming up with the Cedar Springs Garden Club and Trout Unlimited in creating natural rain gardens and learning stations along the creek beds. Other city councilors participating in the Earth Day cleanup included Rose Powell and Gerry Hall.

John Ensley, CBDT, organized the Earth Day cleanup and has secured the donated marble stone from Doreen and Dan Welch, Welch Tile and Stone, which will be eventually installed along the walking path.

Community members helped clean up on Earth Day. Photo by Kathy Ensley.

Community members helped clean up on Earth Day. Photo by Kathy Ensley.

“The goal is to open up the new downtown park areas known as the Heart of Cedar Springs. We got a lot accomplished today thanks to the many dedicated volunteers. We still have some work ahead of us but it’s coming along nicely,” explained Ensley.

Julie Wheeler, CBDT Board Member, organized various other community organizations who also began their Cedar Springs Earth Day cleanup along the primary roadsides within the city limits and other sections of the White Pine Trail as part of the Earth Day efforts.  The groups have until May 1 to complete their section of the roads.

“This is another example of folks coming together for our community. We had volunteers out there on a sunny Saturday willing to do some hard physical labor,“ shared Kurt Mabie, CBDT President. “We hope to continue the cleanup this summer along with constructing a new amphitheatre, walking path, and veteran’s memorial by fall as needed funds become available.”

Garett Tunison, Ground Control Aerial LLC, did a second drone fly-over to show the area progress since his first video done prior to the construction of the library. The video will be added to the CBDT website.

The CBDT meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 6 p.m. in their new regular meeting location of the Community Library gathering room. All are invited. More information is available on the website of CSCommunityCenter.org, the Facebook page of Cedar Springs Community Building Development Team or by calling Sue Wolfe at 696-2246.

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What’s “bugging” you in our streams?

OUT-Stream-monitoringIn many cases we think bugs are a nuisance, but bugs in a stream can be very useful.  Stream insects are a good measure of water quality.  Unlike fish, stream insects cannot move around much so they are less able to escape the effects of sediment and other pollutants that diminish water quality.  Stream insects can also be easily identified.

Trout Unlimited National and Michigan Trout Unlimited will be holding a Stream Insect Monitoring Event on Saturday, May 6, 2017 from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at the Rockford Community Cabin – 220 North Monroe Street in Rockford.  Volunteers will be assigned to a monitoring group with a team leader.  Each group will collect and identify insects from different stream sites in the Rogue River watershed. You don’t need any experience with stream insects to participate and all ages are welcome.

What will you need?  Please RSVP to Jamie Vaughan at jvaughan@tu.org or 312-391-4760 if you would like to attend.  Lunch will be provided for all volunteers.  Please bring waders if you have them and dress for the weather conditions. Children under 16 years old need to be accompanied by an adult.

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Adopt-A-Highway in Michigan begins 


N-Adopt-a-highway1First litter pickup April 15

Highway roadsides across lower Michigan get their first cleanup of the year beginning Saturday. Volunteers in the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) Adopt-A-Highway (AAH) program will pick up litter from April 15 to 23.

Due to snow still on the ground in some areas, the first Adopt-A-Highway pickup for the northern Lower Peninsula and Upper Peninsula will be later, from April 29 to May 7.

“Adopt-A-Highway volunteers take great pride in keeping Michigan roadsides clean,” said State Transportation Director Kirk T. Steudle. “We have tremendous appreciation for their hard work. Please be alert and drive with caution when you see the crews picking up.”

N-Adopt-a-highway-fastfactsVolunteers pick up litter three times each year. Statewide, there will be a summer pickup from July 15 to 23 and a fall pickup from Sept. 23 to Oct. 1.

Dedicated AAH volunteers collected about 65,000 bags of trash last year, an estimated $5 million value for the state. Volunteers wear high-visibility, yellow-green safety vests required by federal regulations when working within a highway right of way. MDOT provides free vests and trash bags, and arranges to haul away the trash.

The AAH enters its 27th year in 2017 with more than a quarter century of accomplishments behind it. There are 2,887 groups currently active in the program, and they’ve collected more than 2 million bags of litter the state’s roadsides since 1990. Currently, 6,400 miles of highway are adopted.

Current volunteers include members of various civic groups, businesses, and families. Crew members have to be at least 12 years old and each group must number at least three people.

Sections of highway are still available for adoption. Groups are asked to adopt a section for at least two years. Adopt-A-Highway signs bearing a group’s name are posted along the stretch of adopted highway. There is no fee to participate.

Several landfills in southwestern Michigan are also chipping in to help the Adopt-A-Highway Program. Westside Landfill in Cass County, C&C Landfill in Calhoun County, Orchard Hill Landfill in Berrien County, and Republic Services Gembrit Circle Transfer Station in Kalamazoo, have all agreed to accept trash generated by the three annual scheduled AAH pickups at no charge. In exchange, they receive a sign recognizing their support. Most of these landfills have been making this contribution since 2010.

For more information, go to www.michigan.gov/adoptahighway.

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SKYWARN® Training Offered 

This tornado photo was taken on May 24, 1973 in Union City, Oklahoma. Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL) 

This tornado photo was taken on May 24, 1973 in Union City, Oklahoma. Credit: NOAA Photo Library, NOAA Central Library; OAR/ERL/National Severe Storms Laboratory (NSSL)

Kent County saw several severe storms last year, including the outbreak on August 20 that included tornados and high wind damage. There were no fatalities, perhaps due to early warning by the National Weather Service and weather spotters trained in the SKYWARN® Course.

The National Weather Service SKYWARN volunteer program has trained nearly 290,000 severe weather spotters nationwide. “We appreciate having these men and women keeping their local communities safe during storms and other weather threats,” said Jack Stewart, Kent County Emergency Management Coordinator. “They provide real-time, accurate reports of severe weather to the National Weather Service, where their staff alerts our first responders about imminent danger.” Training will be offered free at:

Grandville High School
4700 Canal Ave SE
Grandville, MI 49418
Thursday, March 16, 2017 – 6:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m.

Register in advance at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/kent-ottawa-severe-weather- spotter-training-2017-registration-28894842251?aff=es2.

The program is recommended for ages 11 and older. Those with an interest in weather, serving the public and who have access to communications equipment (ham radios, cell phones, etc.) are encouraged to attend. Volunteers in the past have includes first responders, dispatchers, public utility workers and concerned private citizens. Spotters also include people who work at hospitals, schools, churches, nursing homes.

Those who attend the free three-hour training will leave the course as spotters, capable of identifying and describing severe local storms and damage threats. The volunteers are not “storm chasers” who travel hundreds of miles to seek out storms; most of the volunteers will monitor the skies or rivers from near their homes. Safety of spotters is a top priority.

According the National Weather Service (NWS) Skywarn website:

Since the program started in the 1970s, the information provided by SKYWARN® spotters, coupled with Doppler radar technology, improved satellite and other data, has enabled NWS to issue more timely and accurate warnings for tornadoes, severe thunderstorms and flash floods. 

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Community pulls together for brothers battling cancer

Carts full of cans were lined up inside and outside the Cedar Springs Meijer store Monday and Tuesday, as volunteers worked to feed over 86,000 of them into the machines. Photo courtesy of Team Rickerstrong.

Carts full of cans were lined up inside and outside the Cedar Springs Meijer store Monday and Tuesday, as volunteers worked to feed over 86,000 of them into the machines. Photo courtesy of Team Rickerstrong.

Teen Brison Ricker, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, is getting better with the alternative treatments he is getting from the Burzynski Clinic in Texas. Photo from the Ricker’s gofundme page.

Teen Brison Ricker, who suffers from an inoperable brain tumor, is getting better with the alternative treatments he is getting from the Burzynski Clinic in Texas. Photo from the Ricker’s gofundme page.

By Judy Reed

The greater Cedar Springs community has shown their support over the last nine months for the family of Brison and Preston Ricker, two teen brothers fighting cancer, but the massive number of cans donated at their annual can drive at Meijer this week took everyone by surprise.

This month’s drive started at 5 p.m. Monday, and by 11 p.m. Monday evening, they had to stop counting. Volunteers returned on Tuesday evening, hoping to finish it off. But the cans kept coming, and at last count, over 86,000 cans were donated, and they still have a trailer that is 2/3 full of cans that they are holding until next month.

“We knew that this month’s can drive would be a larger turnout but honestly we were pleasantly shocked at the amount of cans that kept coming throughout the first night and continued again the second night,” said Melissa Egan, of Team Rickerstrong. “It was such a great thing to witness. So many people continue to support Brison in his fight by faithfully donating each month, but when Preston also was diagnosed…the support doubled and that is why we believe it was so much more successful.”

Egan said that they cannot express appreciation enough for the continued support from not only our community, but surrounding communities. “The love, prayers and support for this family is truly amazing. And who would have thought that a can drive that originally started as a way to possibly raise a quick $500 here or there would turn into a monthly fundraiser that has now brought over $30,000! Each month we have loyal volunteers that help feed machines or empty returnables into carts…ranging from adults to kids, all wanting to support the Ricker family.”

Team Rickerstrong started the once a month can drives in July, when the family took Brison to Texas to be seen and treated at the Burzynski Clinic. Dr. Burzynski offered an alternative treatment for Brison’s inoperable brain tumor (DIPG), which conventional treatment could not eradicate. He had been given only months to live. But this alternative costs $17,000 a month, paid up front. And it is not covered under insurance. The good news is that it is working, and Brison is feeling better than he has in months, according to his mom, Kim Ricker. He is eating again, and getting stronger, but not yet walking on his own. He even went to Swirl last weekend, which she said made him really happy.

Preston, who was diagnosed with thyroid cancer in December, and had it surgically removed in January, is recovering, and will soon start radioactive iodine therapy.

Kim was also thankful for the success of this week’s can drive. “It was incredible to see the out pouring of love and support with all the cans that were donated! Although a majority of them came from this amazing community, we had people from surrounding communities and even as far as Caledonia donating their cans. We feel so blessed and are truly grateful to everyone who donated, and all the people who worked so hard getting over 86,000 cans put in the machines. Of course a huge thanks to Meijer, we could do not do this without their support,” she added.

The Rickers are faced with needing a minimum of $17,000 every month for Brison’s treatment. “This has to be paid up front; it is not like normal hospital bills that can accumulate and be paid back over years,” explained Kim. “If we don’t pay, Brison doesn’t get his treatment. Although the can drive was a huge success and raised more than we could have imagined, that amount covers two weeks of treatment, so the need to keep raising funds is great.”

If you would like to donate, you can visit their gofundme page at https://www.gofundme.com/rickerstrong, or participate in a fundraiser with Team Rickerstrong at https://www.facebook.com/teambrison/. You can also or send a check to them at 5370 Dio Dr., Cedar Springs, MI 49319.

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Ray Winnie
Intandem Credit Union


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