Howard City golf event raises more than $11,000 for MS


By Lonnie Allen • Last Updated 12:39 pm on Monday, July 23, 2012

Pilot Jimmy Bearens and wife Barb drop golf balls onto a target below during the helicopter golf ball drop at the third annual PMS golf fundraiser on Saturday in Howard City. — Daily News/Lonnie Allen

HOWARD CITY — Many families and friends teamed up Saturday at Birchwood Golf Course during the Play “Fore” the Cure for Multiple Sclerosis (PMS) golf fundraiser that raised more than $11,000.

For Grand Rapids resident Steve Broekema the good weather was a chance to be around friends and support PMS fundraiser.

“Friends were coming out to play in the fundraiser and I thought I would join them,” Broekema said. “It was good weather and this is for a good cause too.”

For Stanton resident Barb Train the fundraiser gives her and her family a chance to keep the memory of her father Bruce Train on the golf course.

“He passed away two years ago in December from MS,” she said. “We are here as a family wearing our T-shirts in his memory. My father would have golfed the first year this happened but because of his MS he was just too sick.”

It is the second year golfing in the fundraiser for the Train family and until there is a cure for MS they plan on participating.

Golf balls fall from the sky onto the target during the PMS golf fundraiser on Saturday. — Daily News/Lonnie Allen

“It is because of dad we took this up,” she said. “It is fun to get together and now it is kind of a family tradition, and we do it in memory of him.”

This year Birchwood Golf Course owner Mark Heath is considering keeping more of the money for people in the area in need of help.

“Not many people want to ask for help,” he said. “But this year we started receiving more calls from people who are facing financial difficulties because of the MS.”

According to Heath, one of the things that aggravates symptoms of MS is heat and because of the high temperatures this year Heath has gotten some requests to help with utility costs.

“Well, people only ask for very little,” he said. “But with this request we couldn’t see paying for just one month, so we took care of the entire year of electric cost for them.”

The funds are for those who are in need and suffer with MS and for Heath he knows it is because of the helicopter ball drop, volunteers and all the local help that they can help others.

“We raised $6,015 from the ball drop alone,” he said. “It is because we have volunteers from Traverse City, Holland, Saginaw, Grand Rapids and practically all over the state that sell these golf balls so that we can help people.”

Birchwood golf course owner Mark Heath and Trufant resident Greg Thebo kneel and measure to determine which golf balls won the helicopter golf ball drop. Lakeview resident Ray Waite stands over and keeps track of first, second and third place of the ball drop. — Daily News/Lonnie Allen

The biggest donation is because of Jimmy Bearens from Mid-Michigan Helicopter.

“Without Jimmy donating his time and helicopter we wouldn’t know what to do,” he said. “It is a huge donation and expensive but Jimmy has graciously been here each year for us, and we owe him a big thanks along with every other volunteer we have here each year.”

This year ball drop winners were Louis Vader, who won the 42-inch flat screen TV, Louis Russell, who won the Jim Beam Digital smoker, and Duane Davis won the Kindle Fire.

“We will give them a call and let them know that they won,” Heath said.

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