For a minute there we got to thinking that we might have gotten out grown. After all, the Heykoop Veteran Memorial Car show is coming up July 2nd at Hot Rod Harley in Downtown Muskegon and Natasha Heykoop had not been in touch just yet. Sure, the show has grown in the 6 years that it's been around, that's the idea of anything that benefits those who could use a hand, grow, serve more and spread the message. Low and behold though, up popped a message and down we plopped down to talk about this event coming up at it's new location in Downtown! Let's go back quick!
6 years ago, a field on Getty Street was mowed down and the first Heykoop Memorial Car show got underway. It was in remembrance of Natasha's brother in law who lost his battle with PTSD post his duty serving in IRAQ. This is where the story repeats what we've seen in Muskegon so often. The tragic loss of Jeremy Heykoop was turned into a powerful way to help assure that others don't endure the same tragedy. A loss lie this should be suffered by no family and taking the power back in the face of the hurt is how they answered the call. Year one, they shared the funds raised with another organization. Year 2, they had the Lighthouse for Veterans Nonprofit set up and now, the work is directly run through them to help those suffering the scars left behind from war.
The July 2nd car show is the big event, but Lighthouse does plenty more to raise a few bucks through out the year. Volunteers are always needed, sponsors and partners too. The funding raised goes to help prevent veteran suicide. Lighthouse for Veterans also offers retreats 2-3 times a year to provide a way for veterans to connect and see that they are not alone in their fight. Community education about the struggles and warning signs of veteran suicide are a key piece of their work and helping provide for funeral expenses are too....for those who they can't reach.
Back to the ploppin' down part. Right out in front of Pal's Diner at Hot Rod is where you'll find us talking all about the big day coming up Saturday! Take a listen.
Let's go back to the very beginning of this and the notion that "we might have gotten outgrown". Like anything else we work to be a part of, success is the first thing we have in mind. We are a great place for seedlings and when the Heykoop Veteran Memorial Car Show came along all those years ago, we knew that the day would come that it would be big. We're proud to have grown together. The ground floor is where it begins and it's the efforts of the one who amplify over time and take things like the loss of a relative and bring monumental change to the lives of those who they may never even meet. There is NO PLACE in the world better at it than Muskegon Michigan and the story told here by Natasha and the Heykoop family and friends, is one that can be yours too. It's only that idea or "if it's going to be, it's up to me." that begins the workings of a better world for all of us. Is it a car show or is it a lasting legacy? It's both and it's roots are right here in Muskegon. Saturday is the day! Be at Hot Rod.