It's time to start thinking about the meat sweats.  Yep, we're talking ribs as far as the eye can see and more smokey good flavor, fall off the bone tenderness....I could go on and on, but it's honestly making me hungry...so, let's just say...if you like ribs, beer, music and a great cause, you need to save the dates for the Grand Haven VFW Rib Fest.  It's going on May 25th and 26th and all the proceeds go to benefit our local veterans on a number of levels.  It's an awesome and rapidly growing event.  Rib Fest 2018 Poster with AddressRib Fest 2018 On Facebook

It's been going on 14 years now and you know when an event gets to the point where it takes up the whole street, things are going in the right direction.  There is an interactive tent for the kids sponsored by the USS Silversides Museum where they will have some underwater robot building going on.  They will like that.  There will be food form Big Moe's, Famous Dave's, Daddy Pete's BBQ, Stable Inn, Old Iron Bar and Grill, Up in Smoke, Paisley Pig Pub and Porkensteins!  Bands??  Foundation and Perfect Storm play on Friday night and Saturday it's Bill Ellingboe, Three's a Crowd and Mr. Whoo Ha.  

But you know, it's really all about so much more than that.  Sure, it's all packaged up as a good time and all, but the proceeds to go help those who were willing to make the ultimate sacrifice for all of us at one point or another.  Our local veterans.  Men and women who served in our military need our support and it's provided at places like the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans, The area Department of Veterans Affairs branch offices and more.  They host a multitude of things for them.  Everything from support groups to pantry needs.  There are services specializing for women veterans with WINC which we've featured here on The Muskegon Channel and there is help for all vets to navigate the system to get the benefits they so truly deserve.  

Locally, Mike Baauw is the guy in the Muskegon County Dept of Veterans Services.  If memory serves me correct, Mike is retired US Navy and he makes sure that our area's vets best interests and needs are all met and then he goes on to help organize things like this to help even more. Take a listen to our talk about the Rib Fest and lick your chops!

If you're just in need of an early season outdoor festival or you want to enjoy some of the best ribs around with a couple of cold ones and some friends, or maybe you'd like your dining dollar to benefit some true American hero's...it's pretty clear you need to be at the Grand Haven VFW 2326 VFW on May 25th and 26th.  Out thanks to Mike and his staff for their dedication and hard work and our thanks too, to the men and women who served.  We hope it's a great weekend for the festival!  

 

I first met Sandy Baker through No More Sidelines of Muskegon.  Her son Eric, or as he was known by all of his classmates "Big E", participated in No More Sidelines and he made quite a splash in his days at Reeths-Puffer Schools as the prom king, announcement reader and all around source of awesomeness.  They are avid fans of the Muskegon Lumberjacks and no matter where they go, they seem to collect amazing people to help them further what has become a truly remarkable nonprofit that is growing by leaps and bounds.  Sandy has crafted a model by which young adults can find their way to as much independence as they can handle.  Eric has Downs Syndrome, but he's really never been any different than the other kids.  And like any other kid, there comes a time that they need to spread their wings a little. gg logo with roots 002Gracious Grounds on Facebook

Yes, kids with Downs grow up and where they might need a hand from time to time, they are like anyone.  Funny, smart.....there are the "teen years" who doesn't love those...but as young adults, how do you keep them from wanting to continue with life like anyone else?  Simply put you don't.  Now the question becomes...where do they go to get that taste of "adulting".  Sandy got to work, and in a matter of a few years of research, hunting, non profit forming and again, surrounding herself with all the right people.. Gracious Grounds was born.

A former Hospice residence was found to plant the first Gracious Grounds flag, nestled away on a quiet street in Grand Haven.  The house has 6 bedrooms, 6.5 bathrooms, common areas, a kitchen, office, a really awesome home theater in the basement and every resident has their own personal room.  They can decorate in their theme... Big E happens to love the Dukes of Hazzard so as you can imagine...there's plenty of that.  Some like Star Wars, some like sports...it's really no different than any other you.  They have their own televisions, fridges, bathrooms...personal care items....you name it.  It's a remarkable facility...and a remarkable mission.  

I had a chance to stop in and see Sandy at Gracious Grounds, take a listen to our chat.

 

 

 

 

 

There are people in this world who create miracles.  As Gracious Grounds grows, both in and outside of Grand Haven, you're watching one happen.  It's amazing what a mothers love..and a pretty good background in her field..young people with unique abilities will know what it's like to be a grown up.  Some of the residents there have shown "remarkable progress" in life as well as independence.  We all understand what it feels like to accomplish something on our own...it's really amazing.    Be the good!  If you'd like to know more, make a donation or maybe get tickets to the gala...click on the photo below!

 

gg treeGracious Grounds Online