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Supporting the ‘Second Front Line’

By: Kristyne E. Demske | St. Clair Shores Sentinel | Published August 10, 2015

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ST. CLAIR SHORES — A “tribute to our armed forces and their families” is planned for Aug. 19 at Veterans Memorial Park.


Lac Ste Claire Kiwanis will host a Military Memorial Concert to raise money for several military support groups beginning at 7 p.m. at the park, located on Jefferson Avenue at Masonic Boulevard, with the Plymouth Fife & Drum Corps as well as honor guards representing each branch of service.


And during the event, which will culminate in a performance by the 338th Army Band, the Kiwanis will be collecting money, food and school supplies to donate to local military family relief groups.


Amanda McClusky, of Chesterfield Township, is a military spouse and a volunteer with the Family Readiness Group at Selfridge Air National Guard Base. She said they work to provide any support they can to those families with deployed spouses, because having a community in place makes it easier during that time.


Because Selfridge is not a fully active base, deployments can be even more difficult on families, since spouses are leaving behind full-time jobs to serve.


“It’s not a perfect system,” she said. “Sometimes their pay doesn’t come in right away from the active duty. The parent left behind, their work suffers. All of a sudden, they’re a single parent.”


McClusky said she has seen many instances where families in need fall through the cracks, and that’s why the help from Kiwanis is so appreciated. The school supply donations go to families on the base so they don’t have to struggle with back-to-school shopping if money is tight from a guard member’s deployment.


“It can be really tricky when the pay doesn’t catch up with what’s happening,” she said. “They contact us and say, ‘Hey, I wasn’t able to buy groceries this week.’ Crazy things happen when you’re deploying.”


Bryan Mazey, committee chair for Military Family Relief for Lac Ste Claire Kiwanis, said the group has supported various military family groups for nearly 10 years. The club collects back-to-school supplies and Christmas toys, collects donations for military family relief programs at Selfridge and TACOM, and adopts a family at Christmastime.


In the past, he said, Kiwanis would just be present at the last Music on the Lake concert to collect money for military relief. But this year, the St. Clair Shores Activities Committee provided an entire evening for the concert, simply to raise money for the efforts.

 

It will be a night of military honor and celebration as well, with the Vietnam Veterans Post 154 of Clinton Township bringing the Traveling Vietnam Memorial Wall, performing a 21-gun salute and playing taps before the 338th Army Band takes the stage.


Mazey said the night will also pay tribute to fallen soldiers from the area and will include various military and government dignitaries.


Money raised will be sent to Army Emergency Relief, the U.S. Army Garrison Detroit Arsenal, the Selfridge Military Family Support Group, the Air Force Aid Society, the U.S. Coast Guard Mutual Aid Society and the 127th Air Wing Family Support. Donations can also be sent via checks made out to “Kiwanis Military Family Relief Fund” to Kiwanis MFRF, P.O. Box 806125, St. Clair Shores, MI 48080.

For more information about the concert at 7 p.m. Aug. 19, check out the flyer at Facebook.com/StClairShoresSentinel.

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