Category Archives: charity

The Walk to Defeat ALS


Sunday was one of the most amazing days of my life. Actually, amazing doesn’t seem to properly convey how I truly felt.

Our niece Stephanie Dahlquist had the idea to participate in the ALS Association’s Walk to Defeat ALS and shared it with her sister Ashley and Mark’s sister Patti and together they made a plan to form a team. Their plan started with a small idea but quickly grew to an enormous number of people coming together in a beautiful display of love and charity. With their social media skills and by word of mouth they reached people far and near.


Sunday was such a beautiful sunny day to walk along the banks of the Grand River in downtown Grand Rapids. The week before the walk Stephanie, Ashley and Patti decided to sell yellow t-shirts with “Live Simple Love Like Crazy” on the front and “Team Rosemary” on the back. Amazingly almost everyone who walked with Team Rosemary bought a t-shirt which created a bright and beautiful sea of nearly 200 yellow-clad walkers. Half of the money collected for the t-shirts was given to the ALS Association to help with respite care for all those suffering with ALS. Team Rosemary donated close to ten thousand dollars to the effort.


I would like to thank everyone who walked and donated on behalf of myself and my family for your amazing gift of love. We will never forget it.


The Ice Bucket Challenge


After a week of family fun with our out of town guests, my daughter Kelly and my sister-in-law Patti came up with the idea of doing a big Ice Bucket Challenge with some family and friends before our visiting family members head back to Florida. If you don’t know, the Ice Bucket Challenge raises money for ALS research by challenging people to either dump a bucket of ice water over their heads or donate $100 to the ALS Association.

So yesterday afternoon Mark, Bryan, Kelly, Ashley, Chris, Harrison, Patti, Luz, Vicki, Billy, Anouk, Christopher, Monica, Landon, Skylar, Jan Harris, Colleen and Greg Paquin, Nancy Paquin and I went out to the boat dock and participated in the challenge. I don’t think anybody thought to include me in the actual challenge, so I volunteered. After everybody else had gone, Mark stood me up and Bryan and Kelly dumped buckets of cold water over our heads. It was beautiful.

To keep the challenge going, I would like to call out the following three groups and give them one week to pour ice water over their heads or donate money to the ALS Association.

  1. My friends and former colleagues at Transnation Title in Muskegon.
  2. The entire Beckman family.
  3. The entire Lambert family.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this silly and wonderful challenge. Because of you someday there will be hope for people with this disease.

Women Who Care

Women Who Care Muskegon (1)

My friends Jill Sesselmann and Deb DeVoursney are impacting Muskegon County in a big way. So far they’ve helped raise $247,200.00 to support local charities through Women Who Care. Jill and Deb didn’t come up with the brilliant idea of Women Who Care but they did introduce it to 100 women in our area.

Women Who Care is the easiest fundraiser I’ve ever been involved with and the meetings only last one hour. Let me explain how it works.

  • Encourage 100 or more women to commit to Women Who Care. The commitment involves attending four one-hour meetings per year and pledging $100 at each meeting ($400 per year).
  • At each meeting, an opportunity is provided for three members of the group to present a five-minute explanation of a local organization in need.
  • There is an opportunity for questions after the presentations.
  • Then a vote is taken.
  • The winner is announced and each of the 100 or more women write a check to the winning organization.
  • 100% of the donations go directly to the winning local charity.

In June of 2011 the Muskegon County Women Who Care group started with just under 100 women but has since grown to 268 motivated members ready to help our community. We hope more chapters will form in other cities as they get wind of what we are doing and how simple and powerful the 100 women concept is. Our goal is simply to get women together to help the community they love.

At the June 2013 meeting Big Brothers Big Sisters was chosen as the winning organization and was presented with 263 checks that amounted to $26,300.00. They used their money to hire two Counselor Match Support Specialists to help with the kids at Big Brothers Big Sisters. We were thrilled to find out that one of Bryan’s former classmates, Dominique Paschal, was hired as one of the counselors. Dominique is the pretty girl in the orange and white dress in the picture below. She also happened to be Bryan’s girlfriend in the 5th grade.


Together 100 or more women in our community can significantly impact the many local organizations and agencies devoted to improving lives.

Join us at our next meeting.

Where: Fricano’s Muskegon Lake, 1050 West Western Avenue

Time: 5:30pm to 6:30pm

When: Tuesday, December 10, 2013

If you have questions or want to register, contact Jill at