Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Caring for Kids - Coat Drive

IONIA, Mich. (WOOD) — Michigan One Community Credit Union and IM Kids 3rd Meal are teaming up to collect books, boots and coats to help kids in need in Ionia County.
Organizers will be collecting new or gently used books, boots, and coats until Jan. 16.
Those who would like to donate can drop off the items at any Michigan One Community Credit Union, Ionia County Intermediate School district or at IM Kids 3rd Meal.
For more information on how you can help, watch the entire interview with Renee Hampton from Michigan One Community Credit Union.

 (WOTV)-The Ionia County Youth Advisory Council (YAC) is collecting donations of hats, mittens and scarves for children in the community. Donations will go to elementary age children as part of YAC’s many community service projects. Items will be collected in time for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a day of service for the Youth Advisory Council, and distributed among local elementary schools. Donations will be accepted through January 7, 2015. Please contact the Ionia ISD VISTAs for more info: 616-527-4900

Drop off locations:
Ionia County ISD, 2191 Harwood Rd, Ionia MI H.O.
Steele Education Center, 10260 S. Sheridan Rd, Fenwick, MI

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

93 Packages Sent!


Ionia, Michigan Dec 10, 2014

WION Radio and its many partners hosted Treasures for Troops December 1st-5th collecting items at remotes from 5 locations in Ionia County. WION’s community partners included Berger Motor Sales providing a truck with WIFI,  the Ionia County Shopper’s Guide and Printing & Office Essentials for their printing and publicity, Blue Star Mothers and the Montcalm-Ionia Medical Reserve Corps providing volunteers, and four host locations collecting items to pack in care packages. WION's listeners donated over 3 pickup trucks' full of items “most wanted” by our nation's deployed servicemen and women.  By partnering for broadcasts in Ionia, Muir, Lake Odessa, and Belding, and with donations from all parts of Ionia County, WION's listeners contributed to a RECORD number of care packages being sent out this year!

WION drove the Motor Trend Truck of the year, a “connected” 2015 Chevrolet Colorado from Berger Motor Sales to each location, providing transportation of goods, and communications/station control  via wifi!   Blue Star Mothers also collected “Loot in the Boot!” to pay for shipping the boxes, with cash donations totaling $1187!   At the end of the event, WION's listeners had contributed enough items for the Blue Star Mothers Chapter 188 to prepare, package and mail 93 large priority-mail boxes to servicemen and women via the Lakeview, MI Post Office! Donations continued by patrons of the Post Office on mailing day where another $200 was donated to cover the over $1,200 shipping costs.

Blue Star Mothers pack care packages, (“Boxes of Love”) throughout the year to support their military sons and daughters.  Each time they pack and send, an average of 10-15 boxes are mailed. Items included may seem ordinary to civilians, but are often hard to come by for deployed soldiers. Each box carries a variety of items including food, clothing, games, utility items, and personal care items.  Meanwhile, each Mom has a “trademark” way of packing their boxes, like using small candies like packing peanuts to  make sure no space is wasted between items. The boxes of love that were sent out with WION's Treasures for Troops also contained lots of Christmas Cards that were decorated at elementary schools, boy scouts, girls scouts,  listeners, and volunteers assisting on packing day.

From WION Radio in Ionia, a huge thank you goes to: Berger Motor Sales, The Ionia County Shoppers' Guide, The Muir Village Market, Carl's Market of Lake Odessa, Millie's Restaurant in Belding, the Lamplight Grill and our donors! Once again, you've proven that small-town radio makes a difference!

For more information contact: Jim Carlyle, Owner/Manager WION Radio at 616-527-9466 or office@i1430.com


Sunday, December 7, 2014

Thank You Ionia County!

Hosted the Treasures for Troops gang on Monday!  They welcomed us with a greeting on their sign out front and passed out the list of items the week prior to collection.  Muir customers filled the truck on the first day and donated $223 for shipping expenses.

On Tuesday, we were hosted by the Portland VFW Post 4090 where we collected $191 in cash and filled the truck with 200 packages of Jerky from Oberto as well as many wonderful items that were dropped off.

Carl's Supermaket in Lake Odessa hosted on Wednesday where we again filled the truck with donations and collected $75 in cash donations to cover shipping expenses.  Here we also met several new friends and enjoyed stories about deployed sons and daughters.

Millie's Family Restaurant greeted us with open arms on Thursday where they had been collecting donations throughout the previous week!  With donations collected this day added to all the previous days, Penny won her bet with Jim that we would collect more then 2 full truck loads!  We also collected $119 in cash donations to help with shipping costs.

And last, but definitely not least, the Lamplight Grill in Downtown Ionia hosted the Treasures for Troops gang where the truck was overflowing with another full truck load and $319 in cash donations.

A few last minute donations came in to bring the total cash donations to $1057 and well over 3 truck loads of treasures!  When all these donations were added together Blue Star Mothers were able to pack 55 Boxes of Love to send overseas and 37 boxes for local veterans.  Special thanks to Berger Motor Sales, WION Radio, the Ionia County Shopper's Guide and Blue Star Mothers for the great teamwork that made this collection possible!

Pictures from Packing Day!

Boxes prepped for packing with multiple Christmas Cards.

Items ready to be packed into boxes.

Blue Star Mothers all Master Packers after this event!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Treasures for Troops at the Lamplight Grill!

The Lamplight Grill Famous Make-Your-Own Burger Bar is going on till 2pm!  WION Radio will be at the Lamplight Grill until just before activities start for the Lighting of the Tree (6pm) & the Christmas Parade (6:30pm) in Downtown Ionia!

Blue Star Mothers set up at the Lamplight Grill to talk to people bringing in Treasures for Troops!

 What do you think?  Is this truck half FULL or half EMPTY?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

2015 Motor Trend Truck of the Year is getting Full!

Thank YOU Berger Motor Sales for donating the use of the 2015 Motor Trend's "Truck of the Year!" their Chevy Colorado!  


All of these donations have come in to Millie's Family Restaurant in Belding!

Hanging out with Family at Millie's Family Restaurant

This is the 4th collection day for Treasures for Troops, and here we are at Millie's Family Restaurant in Belding, Michigan!


Blue Star Mothers Article from last January

Blue Star Mothers: ‘You’re not alone’

By Mike Taylor • Last Updated 10:27 am on Monday, January 20, 2014
Local Blue Star Mother President Deann Oliver, left, and Vice President Kathy Barnes want area mothers of service men and women to know the organization is available to lend help and support wherever needed. — Daily News/Mike Taylor
GREENVILLE — Dec. 7, 1941, a date that, according to President Franklin Delano Roosevelt, would live in infamy.
It also was a date that would forever change the face of America. With the bombing of Pearl Harbor, the Japanese military brought the United States into a war upon which the country would eventually expend 418,500 lives, most of them young men.
From homes, farms and factories across the nation, these men answered the call to action, leaving friends, families, loved ones. Too many never made it home again and few among those who did came home unchanged.
Mothers at home waited for news of sons and daughters serving overseas, hoping, praying that the news would be good; that there would be no delivery of folded flags, no letters of condolence from commanding officers. For the most part, these mothers waited alone. One can only imagine their feelings of impotence and isolation. Many wanted to lend some support to the war effort, and by doing so support their sons.
But it wasn’t until January of 1942 that the Flint News Advertiser printed a coupon asking mothers of service men whether they would be interested in forming a group to perform war-related service projects. More than 1,000 positive responses poured in and the following month, the Blue Star Mothers was officially registered on congressional record.
Chapters quickly formed in Michigan, Ohio, Wisconsin, New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, California, Iowa and Washington.
Local Blue Star Mothers President Deann Oliver poses with her son Mitchell. — Courtesy photo
Throughout the duration of the war, Blue Star Mothers volunteered in hospitals and train stations; they made up care packages for soldiers. In later years the group even became part of homeland security during times of war.
Though the organization’s membership diminished following the end of WWII, it never disbanded completely. And in recent years, for reasons all too obvious to anyone who reads a newspaper or watches television, the group’s membership has again begun to grow.
Following the events of Sept. 11, 2001, the Blue Star Mothers moved again to the forefront, showing their pride in sons and daughters who — yet again — were called upon to protect this nation’s freedom.
In Kent, Montcalm and Ionia counties, the Blue Star Mothers is captained by local chapter President Deann Oliver and Vice President Kathy Barnes. Oliver’s youngest son, Mitchell, is currently serving in U.S. Army in Campbell, KY, after having completed a tour of duty in Afghanistan. Barnes’ sons, Andrew Barnes and Jay Yearsovich, have both served overseas.
Both mothers have found solace in the Blue Star Mothers, along with a way in which to do their part to help the war effort. Barnes has been a member longest, since 2010, when she learned of a local chapter forming nearby shortly after her younger son’s deployment.
“I had heard of the group, but didn’t know that one was forming in our area,” Barnes explained. “I wanted to support the troops, since I knew my boy was going to war. When Jay was deployed to Iraq I had nobody who really understood what it’s like to miss a call from a different area code, because he’d be calling from the other side of the world. I was also looking for somebody to support me.”
Barnes found that support with the Blue Star Mothers, as had so many military mothers before her.
Even though, as of June 3, she will no longer have sons in the military — both having served the terms of their enlistments — she plans to continue with the group.
“I’ll stay in because there’s always going to be a soldier, an airman, a sailor or a marine who needs a mom,” she said. “I plan to be there.” Barnes also remains with the organization to help other mothers, like herself, who have sons and daughters going off to unknown dangers in lands far from home, mothers like Oliver, whose youngest son, Mitchell, is a specialist in the Army, who returned from his tour of Afghanistan in March of last year.
Mitchell, a 2011 graduate of Greenville High School, joined the Army partly to fund his college education. Also, her son was following a long family tradition of military service, his father having served in the Marine Corp.
According to Oliver, her son was infantry “all the way.”
“There was no convincing him to do anything else,” Oliver said. “It’s just a mindset you cannot change.”
Oliver herself did not come from a military background and had mixed feelings and many apprehensions about her son’s decision to serve.
“I wasn’t military, so I didn’t know how to handle it,” Oliver said. “I didn’t know what to do. I was kind of torn. I wanted to give him 110 percent support; it breaks your heart and at the same time you’re proud. I can’t help but have a quiet pride for what he’s doing.”
The original Blue Star Mothers group came together in January of 1942. — Courtesy photo
Even so, it was hard to say goodbye to her young son, whose only worries just a few years prior had been ACT scores and which girl to ask to prom. Fortunately, Oliver had heard of the Blue Star Mothers and made the call. Barnes answered the phone.
“Deann called me when her son was getting ready to deploy,” Barnes said. “She found one of my cards and we met for coffee. By then, I could look into the eyes of a mother whose child is in the military and we don’t even have to use words. We just met each other and we sat and cried together and held hands and promised we’d be supportive.”
The group offers much more than emotional support, however. The Blue Star Mothers provides support not only to active servicemen and women, but also to veterans. The local chapter performs all manner of volunteer work at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans throughout the year, handling needs which might otherwise go unfulfilled.
The most difficult task the group sets for itself, and perhaps the most important, is offering support to mothers whose children have been killed in action.
“We have a blue to gold ceremony we perform at funerals, if that’s OK with the mothers,” Oliver explained. “We put together a memory book with all the articles about their son. We go to the funeral and present a banner with their son’s name on it, and then, as much as possible, if they are interested, we try to keep in contact with them. Of course, we leave it up to them, but we are definitely there to provide any sort of support. Just to have that is so important.”
Once her son returns from military service, Oliver plans to continue serving with the group that has offered her so much succor throughout the duration of her son’s military career.
“I guess I’ll be like Kathy Barnes,” Oliver said. “She’s a lifer. There are always going to be mothers of people going into the military and they’re always going to need someone who’s been there and done that. I’m hoping that down the road, my experience will be able to help someone with a son or daughter just entering the military.”
The local chapter of the Blue Star Mothers meets at 6 p.m. the third Monday of every month at the American Legion Post in Greenville. More information about the group is available at (616) 894-0144.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Carl's Supermarket

The WION Gang and Blue Star Mothers are out here at Carl's Supermarket in Lake Odessa collecting Treasures for Troops!

We have had some fun getting to the staff at Carl's Market and look forward to doing some more interviews with them throughout the day. 

Carl's has some great sales today that match items on our list such as Progresso Soup, Toilet Paper, Mac & Cheese, Little Debbie's Cakes and Microwave Popcorn!  Stop out and pick up some supplies for your home and grab a few extra items to add to the truck!

Blue Star Moms Carolyn McAdams and Nikki Brandt are out here passing out the list of items that we need the most and collecting Loot in the Boot!  All cash donations will be used to help cover the cost of shipping the boxes.  

Monday at Muir Village Market we collected $170.
Tuesday at Portland VFW we collected $160.
And with today's donations so far along with the donations sent in to WION Radio, we have enough to mail out 34 boxes.

If we can fill the truck today, we should have enough to fill all 34 boxes complete with shipping covered!  (And on a side note, this will make me win my bet with Jim and earn me a Lamplight Sunday Buffet.)  So come and join in the fun and help us fill the 2015 Chevy Colorado from Berger Motor Sales in Ionia.

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Volunteers hanging out at the Portland VFW

Here is the gang of volunteers collecting your treasures at the Portland VFW Post 4090!  In the back is Deann Oliver & Kathy Londo Barnes from Blue Star Mothers, and the front row is Bill Lynch & Penny Beeman from WION Radio and Joel Vanslambrouck from G&B Pool Supplies.  All together this gang has collected $160 in cash donations and half a truck of treasures.

We have also tested out the OnStar service provided by the 2015 Chevy Colorado, Berger Motor Sales!  We have had 7 devices including 1 internet radio, 1 laptop, 1 tablet and 4 smartphones all connected to the truck using Wi-Fi.  Thank You Berger Motor Sales for the use of the truck!

Portland VFW

The Treasures for Troops Truck is parked at the Portland VFW Post #4090

G&B Pool Supplies Owner, Joel VanSlambrouck brought in the first donations including $20 from the Mayor of Portland and would like to challenge all Portland Business Owners to drop by with $20 worth of items or $20 donation for Blue Star Mothers.

You can check out the new 2015 Chevy Colorado from Berger Motor Sales that is providing our internet connection making this broadcast and blog possible!