A Message from Your Director (February 2014)


When I think February, I usually think of Valentine’s Day and all of the lovely things that go with it; this year, I sat down to write this article and couldn’t think about anything other than generosity and compassion – let me tell you why….
You may have heard about a local family that has gone through several devastating events in the past few months, the Beagle family. Their story has been in the Pioneer and their church organized a benefit to help them with medical expenses. Jon and Shawna Beagle own and operate Beagle Fit, a 24-hour gym in Big Rapids. In July, while the couple was expecting their third child, doctors discovered that Shawna had a brain tumor and she immediately went in to surgery to have it removed. The night after her surgery, she suffered a stroke that took the ability to speak from her, to make matters worse, the test results showed that the tumor was a rare form of cancer. Jon and Shawna welcomed their baby boy to the world on December 27th and discovered that he needs heart surgery within his first six months of life.

It seemed that this family has had their fair share of hardships so when their insurance company told them that they were required to have an automated external defibrillation (AED) machine, and needed it ASAP, people started talking. There was a buzz amongst a few of the regulars at the gym, this was something that they could help with. Because of the high cost of the machine, I was approached with a request to see if I could find a place that would offer a machine at a discount so everyone could pitch in and make this one less thing that the Beagle’s needed to worry about. I contacted Tom Hogenson from Spectrum Health Big Rapids and asked if he had any thoughts, he immediately started asking around and got me the contact information for a few companies that sell the machines.

I called the companies and explained the situation and just like that, Curt Zondervan from Physio-Control out ofGrand Rapidsreturned my call and said that they would be happy to donate the machine to the family and that they did not seek any recognition for their donation. Curt said that if any recognition was to be given, give it to the Emergency Medical Technicians – they are the real heroes! Dan Grabill and Tim Guild even showed up to present the machine and offer training assistance (pictured). These are the types of things that make this community such a great place to live and work!

I thought this story was a great example of kindness, generosity and the power of networking; I hope it warmed your heart on this cold winter day. If you are ever in need of anything, please do not hesitate to ask – there is great power in working together!

In other news, Plans are currently underway for the Taste of Mecosta (March 4), The Community and Family Expo in conjunction with The Great Start Collaborative and Big Rapids Public Schools (April 26), The Pioneer Chamber Golf Outing (May 21) and The Dam Festival (July 19), if you are interested in joining one of these or any other of our other committees, volunteering, becoming a sponsor, reserving booth space or would like more information, please let us know.