Greenville’s Spring Fling supports veteran visits to museum

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 10:19 am on Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Mary Parr, left, and Deb Codling, of Messages & More were on hand at Saturday’s Spring Fling at the American Legion Post 101. The event was sponsored by the local chapter of the Blue Star Mothers to raise funds for Mid-Michigan Honor Flight, an organization with a mission to send area veterans on trips to see war memorials erected in their honor.


GREENVILLE — Residents had a chance to do some fun shopping Saturday while at the same time lending support to a couple worthwhile causes.

Sponsored by the local Blue Star Mothers chapter, the sold-out event was held at American Legion Post 101 in Greenville.

According to event organizer Kathy Barnes, all proceeds from the Spring Fling go toward the Mid-Michigan Hub of Honor Flights, an organization that works to give all veterans the chance to see their memorials for free. The local chapter has plans to take about 100 veterans — some in their mid-to-late 90s — to Washington, D.C. to view the World War II museum there.

Hub Director Tricia Donegan said the trip represents, for many of the vets, a last chance to see the memorial erected in their honor.

Barnes said she anticipated the Spring Fling would raise about $500 to put toward the Honor Flight program.

Mid-Michigan Honor Flight members shared information about their recently-formed group at Saturday’s Spring Fling. Pictured are, from left, Honor Flight members Diane Dienm, Ron Snead, Tricia Donegan and Bob Sowden.

“I’m pretty excited,” Barnes said. “Turnout has been pretty good today so far and I figure it will pick up this afternoon.

“As a nation we are losing between 500 to 700 of our WWII veterans each day and it is estimated that in three to five years they will all be gone,” she added. “The mission is to send WWII veterans in the Mid-Michigan area, from Traverse City to Lansing and across the state to see the monument that honors their service.”

Priority is given to WWII vets and terminally ill veterans from any time, followed by those who served in Korea or Vietnam.

The Legion hall was filled to capacity Saturday with vendors selling arts, crafts and other items, mostly geared toward female shoppers. Deb Codling, owner of Messages & More, was on hand for the event.

“It’s been pretty good so far,” Codling said at about 12:30 p.m. — about halfway through the event. “It’s starting to pick up now.”

Members of the Lakeview area support group Kickin’ Cancer were spreading the word about their organization Saturday at Spring Fling in Greenville. Pictured are group members, left to right, Gerald Schaap, David Schaap, Cyndi Schaap, Jessica Schaap, Beverly Schaap and Venta DeVries.

Another important group represented at the event was Kickin’ Cancer, a local group dedicated to helping Montcalm County families dealing with cancer treatment.

Founded by cancer survivor Dave Schaap and his family after Schaap was diagnosed with an incurable type of cancer (he is currently in remission). Schaap’s wife, Cyndi, and much of the rest of his family had an informational booth set up at the Fling.

“Dave told me when he finally got in remission that when he passed away he wanted to have a scholarship established in his name for a local high school senior,” Cyndi said.

“We, we didn’t wait that long and he isn’t leaving me anytime soon. We live in Lakeview and we help families in Montcalm County going through any type of cancer treatment.”

As per Dave’s wishes, the group also awards a David N. Schaap Scholarship to a high school senior each year.

The Legion Post donated the space for this event, which was just one of many sponsored each year by the area Blue Star Mothers.

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