Thank You Bedford Township, Michigan
From: "Denzil M. Bell" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Thu, 22 Jun 2006 09:25:07 -0400
Subject: Job Well Done
On behalf of the Executive Board of The Pass Relief Fund, I'd like to say "THANK YOU" to the entire group and to the entire community. There is no doubt in our minds that Bedford is a great place to live because of the wonderful people who live here.
The Pass Relief Fund has collected over $22,000 in cash for relief efforts, and an estimated $80,000 - $90,000 in food, clothing, equipment and supplies to support our Sister City of Pass Christian, Mississippi. This coming week's delivery will mark the seventh delivery of these goods and supplies.
We can be proud of our efforts as we are now concluding the "goods and supplies" phase of our relief effort. As Pass Christian recovers, their
need for the kind of supplies and materials we've been able to collect is coming to an end. This is a healthy sign of the continuing recovery of that community. As such, WE WILL NO LONGER BE ACCEPTING ANY SUPPLIES OR MATERIALS for the Pass. If you have materials you've already collected, please let us know ASAP in order that we might get them delivered on one of our next visits.
Please don't think that this signals the end of our relief efforts, as we will continue to collect cash in order to complete the delivery of materials
already on hand, and to allow for the purchase of unique items that will be identified as ongoing needs by the Pass. We will also continue our planning for additional "work trips" to the Pass to assist with the rebuilding of that community. We are tentatively planning another trip for Late August or September.
If you would like to make a monetary donation to "The Pass Relief Fund", you can do so by dropping your donation off at the Township Hall, The Bedford Library, or any branch of Monroe Bank and Trust.
We will also continue planning for cultural or social visits and exchanges with the Pass and will be planning for special events for Thanksgiving and Christmas. If you have any ideas, please let us know.
Don't forget tonight's presentation at the Library, or the opportunity to help at the Charity Cruise at Kroger Plaza.
Thanks again for all that you've done and for the caring you've expressed for our Sister City.
It's Great to Live in Bedford!
Bedford sends aid to Pass Christian - 09/24/2005
The township plans to continue bringing relief to the small Mississippi town.
By DEAN COUSINO
TEMPERANCE - Gail Keane can't imagine what Bedford Township would look like if a flood or a tornado destroyed the area like Hurricane Katrina did to the small town of Pass Christian, Miss.
"I can't imagine waking up one morning and finding your home gone and your town gone," Mrs. Keane said. "But that's what happened to them. Eighty percent of their town was wiped out and no one to support them."
No one until this week. While most of the post-hurricane aid is going to large cities such as New Orleans and Biloxi, smaller communities such as Pass Christian are being bypassed. But that should change as Bedford Township citizens, businesses and civic clubs have come to the town's rescue. They banded together Saturday to load a 35-foot white trailer with up to 8,000 pounds of food, hardware, backpacks and bottled water to be delivered Monday afternoon or Tuesday to Pass Christian, a town of about 6,500 people that is trying to rebuild after the hurricane's wind and water battered the town almost a month ago.
About three dozen volunteers from the Bedford community began loading a smaller trailer with relief supplies Saturday morning in front of the Lions Den Resale Shop in downtown Temperance.
The volunteers had the trailer almost loaded when it was determined the vehicle wasn't large enough. The load had to be moved into the larger trailer. Both trailers were donated by Andy Vebenstad, a past president of the Bedford Lions Club who left at noon today with his wife, Cindy, and Steve Herr, another Lions Club member.
The three expected to arrive Monday or Tuesday, depending on whether any further damage is inflicted on Pass Christian by Hurricane Rita.
Organizers were overwhelmed with relief goods and supplies donated by area residents.
"I'm just amazed at the outreach," Mr. Herr, 56, said. "When people open their hearts, it's amazing what can be done."
About $3,000 in cash from the club was used to buy specific supplies requested by disaster officials in Pass Christian.
The list includes about 1,500 pounds of 16-penny nails, 200 cases of heavy-duty garbage bags and eight cases of work gloves, all of which were loaded Saturday. Other cash donated by the community will be used to buy products requested by Pass Christian, Mr. Herr noted.
"We're in contact with them, so we know just what they want and need," Mr. Herr, a retired Roadway Express worker and ordinance enforcer for the township, said. "This is going to be an ongoing thing. We'll continue (supplying) them as long as they need us."
Connie Velliquette, a park commissioner and Bedford resident since 1963, said she has never seen such an outpouring of support from the community.
"That's the type of community we have here," Mrs. Velliquette, 54, said. "They rally together when there's a need. I love this community; they're caring."
Even outsiders such as the Joel and Mary Schultz family from Dundee are getting involved. They brought their son, Timothy Stamper, who turned 15 today, and daughter, Nesha, 11, to the resale shop along with Timothy's friend, Daniel Bettis, 15. The family brought 46 cases of non-perishable food gathered from Dundee Community Schools to be taken on the trip. There were diapers and baby formula collected, too.
Nesha's sixth grade class wanted to help but wasn't sure how, Mrs. Schultz said. Nesha suggested the food idea and the district agreed. Dundee Elementary School was used as a staging area. Students from the middle school and the high school where Timothy and Daniel are freshmen all joined in. The food was stored at the Dundee Internet Service until Saturday.
"A lot of people can't afford to send money, so we thought this was a great idea," Mrs. Schultz said. "We have everything here and those poor people (in Pass Christian) have nothing."
She planned to buy pizza for the senior class, which raised the most food.
"I'm proud of the fact that all these students did this for people they don't even know," Mrs. Schultz said.
Mary Kay Thayer, first vice president of the Lions and a former Monroe County commissioner from 1986-90, ran errands to purchase black tape and markers and helped load the trailer along with her two grandchildren - Katherine Lucarelli, 14, and Victor Lucarelli, 12.
Bedford Township Supervisor Walt Wilburn said local organizations such as the Bedford Business Association, Temperance Action Committee and YMCA and businesses such as Lambertville Hardware, Bagel Bros. Deli and AIM Professional Services also contributed to the effort.
"A lot of people have called to help," Mr. Wilburn said. "Everyone is taking ownership."
Mr. Herr said he couldn't wait to reach Pass Christian and take photos of the damage and the distribution of the food and other aid. He plans to put the photos on posters in the community to show residents how their resources were used.
Mrs. Keane, 53, is chairwoman of Temperance Action Committee. She picked up litter with other committee volunteers along Lewis Ave. prior to the loading. She said the community supported the Bedford Football Stadium project a few years ago, but this was different.
"They're helping complete strangers," she said. People are donating cash or goods without knowing where the help is going. One individual donated an organ that will be given to a church that needs it.
"This puts a face on this disaster, this makes it more personal," she said about the aid pact the township made with Pass Christian. "By keeping in contact with them, they're going to know us and we'll get to know them."
She wore a lime green T-shirt that read "Beautiful Downtown Temperance." She said the community hopes Pass Christian can rebuild itself to make it beautiful again.
"We're there for the long haul and not just for one trip," she said.
Anyone still wanting to donate cash to the relief effort can do so by writing checks to "The Pass Relief Fund" and drop them off at any Monroe Bank & Trust branch.
Barren Pass Christian overwhelms driver - 09/28/2005
Three Bedford residents return from wreckage in Pass Christian, Miss.
By ADAM BENNETT
When Bedford Township resident Steve Heer pulled through a National Guard checkpoint and into the city of Pass Christian, Miss., Monday morning, the barren sight of the storm-ravaged town overwhelmed him.
He'd seen news reports of the destruction that Hurricane Katrina inflicted on the Gulf Coast city of nearly 6,000 and heard the bleak condition from officials there but nothing prepared him for what he saw.
"I never expected to see that much damage," he said. "When I say there was nothing, I mean nothing. It was totally devastated. I've never seen anything like it in my life."
Now, as the 56-year-old township ordinance enforcer returns from Mississippi to bring an account of the damage back to Bedford, where a movement has been set to adopt the city in its long-term rebuilding effort, he said the experience was a rousing encounter.
"It really motivated me to get more involved," he said. "Now that I see something like that - just totally destroyed. We don't realize how lucky we are."
He is addressing the local aid group at 7 tonight at St. Luke's Church Lutheran Church at Sterns and Jackman Rds. to discuss the efforts and what is needed in the area.
But the trip, which Mr. Heer took with fellow Lions Club member Andy Vebenstad and his wife, Cindy, became a galvanizing experience for the leaders of the relief.
Talking with leaders in "The Pass," Mr. Heer said that the town was hit by a 20-foot wall of water that surged into the city and uprooted many homes with its ebb tide.
The result: Homes were beaten off their foundations and scattered in disarray along the roads, the vegetation was stripped and the city took on the appearance of a ghost town, rather than a lively ocean front community.
Weeks after the storm, the Bedford volunteer said the sights remain nearly unchanged.
"It still looks like it happened yesterday," he said. "It's just so massive."
Mr. Heer said the city was filled with scores of volunteers, helping distribute food rations, cleanup supplies and other necessary items.
Their own truckload of food, clothing, garbage bags, gloves and other articles collected in local drives were well received in the shuffle of assistance. He said one city councilman told him the short supplies of food and unexpected needs, like the garbage bags, would be filled with the shipment.
However, the area now is mainly populated not by residents, but by volunteers, construction companies and electrical workers driving to rebuild the city, he said.
The efforts are making some headway; most of the area is restored with electricity, phone banks are set up for emergency contacts and houses are being marked for demolition.
Even city officials, who were displaced when the storm flatted the town hall, are set up temporarily in a fire station on the edge of town. The leaders, as well as police and fire officials, previously had made a makeshift headquarters in a nearby gas station.
But as the rebuilding process continues, Mr. Heer said the volunteerism will likely wane and would leave the devastated city without some of the necessary help to complete the undertaking.
"We're all human and that service wears off," he said. "It's 85 degrees there. It's hot, humid and very, very, very buggy. There's only so long you can stay in a camper and endure that."
And that is where Bedford leaders hope the aid group can step in, for a long-term support source. Officials said previously that it not only would give Pass Christian reliable assistance by focusing on one area, but it would give local donors a chance to see where their contributions were going.
Mr. Heer said he took photos of the wreckage to post around the area in promoting the effort.
Meanwhile, he said support thus far has poured in from Bedford residents as well as surrounding areas.
Group focus turns to cash - 09/29/2005
Township residents got their first look at pictures of devastated Pass Christian, Miss., after a load of goods was taken there earlier this week.
By ADAM BENNETT
BEDFORD TOWNSHIP -- A local aid group pledging to adopt a coastal Mississippi city in its rebuilding process after Hurricane Katrina moved forward Wednesday in its drive, stepping up fundraising and collection efforts throughout the township.
The Pass Relief Fund, as leaders dubbed the community group, aims at providing long-term financial and supply assistance to the city of Pass Christian, Miss. The area was one of many coastal towns that were destroyed during the intense storm.
Leaders said Wednesday a collection point for food and other needed supplies will be set at the Temperance Food Town, while canisters for monetary donations continue to spread around area businesses.
Meanwhile, the group is looking to boost financial contributions in the coming weeks to replenish reserves after an initial trip that several members took to deliver supplies to Pass Christian earlier this week.
Steve Heer, a Bedford Lions Club member who made the trip with Andy and Cindy Vebenstad, said he met with community leaders during the one-day drop off and saw first-hand the devastation that the storm inflicted.
"It was total devastation," he said.
In a photo presentation he gave at the meeting, the 56-year-old showed slide after slide of decimated houses, uprooted trees and roads that were torn from foundations.
Many of the pictures also showed the extensive debris that was left behind as cleanup efforts in the city are under way by federal, state and local groups.
He said volunteers and workers recently restored electricity, installed above ground water pipes and installed a telephone bank to make calls.
But much of the work still needs to be done.
The local police and fire departments are working from a makeshift office, while the National Guard has set up a security checkpoint outside the city to keep out looters and unneeded groups.
Mr. Heer said the group is in contact with Pass Christian officials to identify the emerging needs in the community in order to provide the required assistance.
The initial load that the group drove to Mississippi contained scores of nails, work gloves and garbage bags, which the leaders there requested.
However, as reconstruction continues in the storm-ravaged city, the needs will change.
"It will be an ongoing thing that we need to keep up with," he said.
Locally, the focus temporarily is shifting from collecting clothing, food and other supplies to collecting cash to build a reserve fund.
Denzil Bell, who was named the group's treasurer, said collections before the trip had totaled more than $4,000. But much of the cash was used up in buying supplies and paying for the more than $600 in fuel to make the trip.
The group's account sits under $900.
He said cash donations would allow the group to buy items for Pass Christian, where emergency supplies are nearly impossibly to buy.
"We can turn that cash into things that they need," Mr. Bell said. "As we talk with them next week, we will see what specific needs they have and what things they cannot get locally. It makes more sense to do that than sending money when they can't buy those things or sending things they don't need."
The group tentatively is planning a follow-up meeting at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at St. Luke's Lutheran Church at Jackman and Sterns Rd.
My name is Megan Ashenfelter I am 15, I thought I’d let everyone know that my school, Bedford High School, in Temperance, Michigan has adopted your high school, Pass Christan High School.
Our community has been raising money for Pass Christan for the last couple of weeks and this Friday (Oct. 21), we are having a school dance after our final home football game to raise money. I really like the website and I hope to find more updates and photos soon.
God Bless You All.
The Bedford Press
Oct. 29, 2005
We have scheduled our next trip to Pass Christian, Mississippi. The trucks will leave early in the AM of Thursday, November 3. Making the trip are Tom and Jane Eisenmann (We'll be using the Eisenmann's truck), Denzil Bell, Mike Murphy and either Becky Buckingham or Stacy Kess of the Bedford Now.
Our plans are to load the Eisenmann's truck with the food from Dundee (in Dundee Wednesday morning) and then finish loading that truck and Mike Murphy's truck Wednesday afternoon at about 3:30 pm at the garage behind the Bagel Bros. in Temperance. Anyone wishing to help is welcome.
A call from the Alderman in "The Pass" has asked for food, sleeping bags and bleach as the most essential needs at this time (it seems the weather has turned cooler in Mississippi and the volunteers need the sleeping gear to keep warm.) We will also be taking down at least one donated organ for a church in the Pass, and about twenty boxes of books donated by the Bedford Library for the Library in the Pass.
If any of you have usable sleeping bags that you'd be willing to donate, we'll need them delivered to the garage by 4:00 pm on Wednesday, as they will be loaded at the top of the truck due to their lighter weight.
We expect to unload in the Pass Friday about mid-day and then start the trip back Friday afternoon, arriving back in Bedford late on Saturday.
If you'd like to make a donation to help with the purchase of fuel for the two vehicles, you can do so at the Township Hall, the BBA Office or Directly to "The Pass Relief Fund" at any Monroe Bank and Trust bank.