Bowl-a-thon raises more than $10,000

Lynn Tracy (left) and Kathy Bigham pose for a photo near a gift basket at the bowl-a-thon. (Courtesy photo)

Submitted to the Pioneer

REMUS — More than $10,000 was raised for the Mecosta County Commission on Aging medical transportation program during the recent bowl-a-thon.

On Dec. 2, 12 teams came together at the Remus Bowling Center for an afternoon of fun and fundraising. The medical transportation program is provided by four staff members and several volunteers. The bowl-a-thon raises funds to help pay for gas and mileage reimbursement.

Last year, these volunteers drove a total of 24,794 miles, which included driving as far as Clare, Saginaw, and Ann Arbor Veterans Administration medical facilities for Mecosta County veterans.

“Each year more seniors become dependent on our transportation program, which means we are always looking for more volunteer drivers. Volunteers use their own vehicles so reimbursing their mileage is important to us and to them,” said Medical Transportation Coordinator Dawn Ketchum. “This fundraiser helps a lot to make that happen.”

This year’s event was dedicated to Dr. William DuBois, who died in July. “Doc,” as he was known, had many senior patients at his Canadian Lakes practice. DuBois sat on the Senior Center Board of Directors from 2006 until 2015. He also sponsored the Eastside Family Medicine bowling team for 10 years and attended each bowl-a-thon.

“If I needed anything, Doc was always there for us. He gave a lot for the seniors and the Commission on Aging and Senior Center,” Ketchum said.

The event was fun for both first-time participants and veteran bowlers. Shirley Denslow assembled a team at Ketchum’s suggestion because there was a sponsor without a team.

“I got my sisters, my niece, and a good friend to bowl,” Denslow said. “We’re having fun.”

Volunteer driver Helen Chappell has volunteered at the bowl-a-thon for 12 years. Chappell also is a senior companion with Eight-CAP and retired board director from Mid-Michigan Community Action.

“I became a widow at 39 with four school-age children. I depended on a lot of agencies to help me through the hard times,” Chappell said. “I vowed to pay it forward when I was able by helping others. This is a much-needed program for seniors.”

In addition to bowling, participants enjoyed games, drawings, raffles and a live auction for all those attending. Winners received prizes and gift baskets of donated items, merchandise, certificates and gift cards from area businesses and individuals.

Three individuals were recognized and received gifts for their “above and beyond” support for the fundraiser. Jean Chapin, a Senior Center volunteer and member of the board of directors, was recognized for collecting more than $1,400 in donations. Volunteer driver Kathy Bigham, when not driving clients to medical appointments, called on businesses, collecting 90 percent of the donations. Also recognized was Bob McCall, owner of Remus Bowling Center, who has hosted the event for 10 years.

“Individuals and the business community, including several Mount Pleasant restaurants, our volunteers, my co-workers — they all do so much to make this event a huge success,” Ketchum said. “I thank all of them for their support, time and effort. This wouldn’t be possible without them.”

Any person or organization interested in helping with next year’s bowl-a-thon or anyone who would like to learn more about becoming a volunteer driver can contact Ketchum at the Senior Center by calling (231) 972-2884.

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