Lowell woman makes Pink Arrow Pride happen along with husband and other volunteers
By EMMA PALOVA
LOWELL, MI-When Teresa Beachum received a phone call from varsity football coach Noel Dean, she stepped up to take action.
Dean was telling her about a wife of a football player who was sporting a pink jersey at an NFL game.
The pink symbolized breast cancer. An idea was born seven years ago that has grown into a phenomenon.
The two wondered if the Lowell Football team would be strong enough to carry some else’s name on the shoulder of their pink jerseys.
“We wanted to honor those on a cancer journey or in memory of,”she said.
Beachum lost her brother Jeff Timpson to cancer.
The Pink Arrow Pride symbolizes the pride the players have to have to represent someone else, she said.
The Pink Arrow VII game against Chicago Hubbard is scheduled this year for Sept.5.
The Survivor’s Lap precedes the game from the Lowell High School down to the stadium.
“Everybody comes together, the fire and the police department, the band and the churches,” Beachum said.
This is followed by a victory lap around the stadium.
“The view is a sea of pink, the field, the goal post and even the trash cans,” she said.
And something new is added every year like fireworks last year.
But, there is more to this than just the game in pink.
“It teaches students how to channel grief and their emotions,” she said.
The Pink Arrow Pride has so far raised one million dollars. This money goes toward programming at Gilda’s Club, medical student scholarships, assistance to cancer survivors and Lowell Community Wellness.
“It has grown into a new dimension of playing for a cause,” Beachum said.
The two scholarships are Dr. Donald Gerard’s and Kathy Talus.
Beachum stays involved year round with the Pink Arrow Pride. Together with Ethel Stears, she delivers gifts to cancer survivors.
“I wanted to support the cause because everyone knows someone who has walked the cancer journey,” Beachum said.
The t-shirt sales have brought in $8,000 alone during the last worst seven years in economy.
“Cancer does not discriminate,” she said. “It strikes the young, the old, retirees and students.”
In the weeks prior to the game, Perry and Teresa Beachum turn their house into a Pink Arrow Pride stronghold with brochures, logos and promotions everywhere.
“The logo is customized and every year we add new things, “she said.
For their efforts, the couple has been awarded as the Chamber People of the Year.
When I was in high school, I always loved befriending foreign exchange students. I never would have guessed that ten years after graduation, I would be the host mom of one of them.
Wandering around the Riverwalk Festival in July 2013, I stopped at a booth for an organization that sponsored exchange students coming to America. It turned out I was the minimum age for a host parent, and there was a girl that it looked like would be a good fit. I thought for a few days before deciding to go for it. In that time, the girl I had wanted found another family, but the program director had a profile of a Chinese girl she thought might work. I took a look at Xuan, not expecting to be impressed since I’m more interested in European culture than Asian.
Decisions like this should never be made lightly. You are committing to putting a lot of energy and countless hours into helping this student to experience America for almost ten months. After talking to friends and family at length about if Xuan was the right girl and if I was insane enough to do this, considering I was single with two jobs plus volunteer work, I went for it. There are a lot of things you take for granted that you never truly understand until you see your home through someone else’s eyes. For instance, living in a big city in China, Xuan had never been up close to horses, goats, or pigs. I thought she was crazy when she said you weren’t supposed to touch farm animals. We have petting zoos everywhere!
Holidays were another whole new experience. It’s hard for us to imagine meeting Santa for the first time as a 16 year old. Xuan didn’t know what to ask for, so she jokingly chose a unicorn. She left some excellent homemade cookies out for him, and Christmas morning, Santa brought her a toy unicorn. The look on her face was priceless. Old holiday traditions suddenly seem a lot less cheesy when you know this kid will only get one chance in her life to do them.
It was a lot of work, mostly because I wanted to be Supermom and do a thousand things with her. (She has the 107 page scrapbook to prove it!) Yes, we had our struggles (she hated American food), but overall I wouldn’t trade it for the world. Xuan cried all the way to the airport in June, and I cried the whole drive home. Despite saying I would take a year off, right now I’m cleaning up Xuan’s old room to welcome Eva from Austria this Sunday. It’s going to be another crazy year of hosting, but I’m looking forward to every minute of it.
Watch for a full story on the Pink Arrow Pride phenomenon and the woman behind it-Teresa Beachum of Lowell, MIchigan. Teresa became involved with the Pink Arrow project seven years ago after she received a phone call from varsity football coach Noel Dean.
“We didn’t know our goals then,” she said, “but we raised $98,000 the first year.”
The project has raised over one million dollars in six years to benefit cancer patients, students and programming at Gilda’s Club.
“Because everyone knows someone with cancer,” said Beachum. “Cancer does not discriminate. It strikes the young, the old, the students and retirees.”
Meet the people who make the Kent County Youth Fair happen
Bruce Doll is one of many people who make the Kent County Youth Fair happen along with fair manager Jessica Marks
Name: Bruce Doll
Position: Vice President
Residence: beautiful Vergennes township
Education: Studied Computers and computer graphix at the New York Institute of Technology ( not Oral Roberts University )
Experience: 16 years at the Computer Graphix Research Lab at New York Institute of Technology, 24 years IT Manager at Alternate Postal Direct
Family: My son Tom and his wife Nicole, and son Justin
Hobbies: Photography, woodworking
How did you get started in the fair business?
I visited the Kent County Youth Fair 15 years ago while living in Kentwood and fell in love with it. I sent then a bunch of pictures I took to the board and was asked to attend a board meeting and the rest is history.
What were some of the early challenges, and how did you overcome them?
My level of knowledge was about the same as the level of technology in use at the fair, very low. However, the folks at fair, both the board and exhibitors are always willing to share their knowledge about agriculture and animals. It was a bit harder for me to explain the technology side, when I talked about having a website I did get some blank stares.
What were some of your early accomplishments?
We updated the computers and software and did some training. The first website was created.
What goals do you set for yourself?
I always try to make things better and provide a better experience for the general public and our exhibitors. Programs such as Reading-for-Rides and the Handi-Capable day are always being tweaked.
How do you accomplish them?
Lists — I am a list person. I make lists and check off items as I get them done. This is especially true during fair where I have a list of what needs to be done on each day. This year the list was about 5 pages long.
What motivates you?
When I hear people say the week of fair is the best week of the year. When I see hundreds of kids showcasing their projects. When I see the smiles of the kids. When the general public visits the fair, I hope that they realize how much work goes into the projects that the exhibitors do. They learn what hard work is, and it shows in the quality of the projects.
How do you want your peers/customers to view you?
I believe that you have to be passionate about what you do. Yes, you can do something if you are not passionate about it, but the difference between doing something and doing something amazing comes when you are passionate about what you do.
What gives the fair competitive advantage?
We provide a safe family friendly fair. We have hardworking people who are great at what they do all coming together into what is fair. We provide a great experience for folks and it keeps them coming back year after year, generation after generation.
How do you integrate technology and innovations into the fair?
We use a fair management software package that helps us with the exhibitor and livestock sale. Our website, www.kcyf.org has all of the information about the fair for the general public and for exhibitors. We use eventbrite.com to register people for various events, constant contact for our email blasts and of course, facebook.
How has the fair changed over the years?
It has changed significantly behind the scenes, but we try to keep our “look and feel” close what we have been doing for years.
How do you make big projects happen? How long does it take ready for the fair?
When a project arises, there is almost always someone to take charge of it, otherwise we will volunteer someone. We have a wrap-up meeting 2 weeks after fair and then we begin working on the next years fair.
How do you make the fair thrive in hard economic times?
We try to keep our prices down on rides and fair food. We provide a good value. Our parking is one of the few ways that we make money to support our operating budget. Without our parking revenue, there probably would not be a fair.
How do you feel you have most contributed to the fair?
I have this problem with the word “No” in that I don’t use it much. I currently manage the technology. I also am the sponsorship and entertainment coördinator.
What do you like most about it?
It just makes me happy.
What makes you successful?
Again being passionate about what you do and also having great people who share the passion.
What does a good/bad day at the fair look like?
There is no bad day at fair.
What was new at the fair this year?
We had a dodge ball tournament, princess tea, and scavenger hunt, disc golf, Audacious Hoops, Alpacas! We had a new educational area that will be growing every year. We added a book exchange to the Reading-for-Rides program that was a great success.
Where do you see yourself and the fair in five years?
I see the same culture of our fair in a new location that will provide us with the venue to improve what we do now and add more and more fun and educational aspects to the fair.
Copyright (c) 2014 All rights reserved by Emma Palova
I will soon be opening a brand new virtual storefront on all Emma Blogs. I will feature Czech-inspired products such as the Palinka (r) line of canned products.
The products such as the sweet and sour dill pickles are all home-made from an old family pickling recipe. The secret recipe has been handed down from generation to generation.
My mother Ella Konecny pictured in the featured photo started canning in the USA during her second immigration in the late 1970s. She didn’t like the sour taste of American pickles or the color.
She would stand up and imitate our grandpa Joseph making a grimace from the sour taste.
“See they twist your mouth,” she said. “We have to start making our own.”
Ella most likely learned how to can from her own mother Anna.
Mom and dad still grow their own cucumbers for pickling. But the weather hasn’t been great for pickles. Ella is also the woman behind the brand name “Palinka.”
My husband Ludek and I are the third generation canning these goodies in our outdoors kitchen.designed for this purpose. Because as the Czech saying goes, “Be prepared to answer when winter asks you what you did in the summer.”
We use only fresh pickling cucumbers sorted by size and cut to the favorite spears, slices or whole. We can other vegetables like red beets and gardiniera mix.
We also make salsa and marinara sauces with either Merlot and basil or Cabernet-Sauvignon with garlic, as well as barrel-aged sauerkraut.
We plan to add more products in the future.
I will also present my blog design and writing services in an app Emma Blogs format coming soon.
Let me know what you would like to see in this big marketplace by emailing me at email@example.com
Or you can comment on any of the sites of Emma Blogs. These are:
If you’re a country boy or country girl, the first week of August in Lowell, Michigan is a little slice of heaven. For the past eighty years, the Kent County Youth Fair has been serving up some of the best free entertainment on this side of the state. The barns are always filled with dozens of cows, pigs, goats, horses, chickens, and rabbits, but this fair is about a lot more than checking out the animals from local farms. The kids and teens involved learn valuable lessons from the months they spend preparing: getting up at 4am to feed their calf, training their animals to behave properly, and putting together presentations for judges. All we often see is a barn full of critters, but what the Kent County Youth Fair staff see is a group of kids who will become hard-working, talented, and confident adults.
Not a big animal lover? No matter your age, they’ve got something perfect for you. Ionia County may have a circus, but Kent County has Audacious Hoops! After watching one of this group’s energetic performances, you will never look at a hula hoop the same way again. The best part is that Audacious Hoops offers classes in two Grand Rapids locations, so you have the opportunity to learn their techniques for next year’s fair.
Kids are running to the library to prepare for Tuesday August 5. In a brilliant collaboration with KDL, the KCYF is once again offering Reading for Rides where kids who read five books can go on all the rides free noon to 4pm. After all that reading, don’t worry if your child complains about having no new, interesting books in the house. This year, as part of Reading for Rides, there will be a free book exchange where they can drop off old books and pick up some new ones.
Between the talent shows, Bingo, karaoke, and tractor pulls, it’s remarkable just how much they can squeeze into one week at the fair. Every day is different, so you can bring the family to Non-profit Wednesday then come back for a whole new experience on Handi-Capable Friday. However, if you can only make it once, Saturday is the time to go. The day’s events include an artist creating sidewalk art, dollar rides, and disc golf. You won’t regret a day or more at the Kent County Youth Fair, but if you miss out, you’ve got a whole year to wait for your next chance.
Here are some of the fair highlights:
Monday Aug. 4th Carnival rides open $14 mega pass specials
Tuesday Aug. 5th Reading for rides, kids read and ride for free
Wednesday Aug. 6th Wristband special $18 mega pass, community day
Thursday Aug. 7th Agricultural day, livestock auction, small animal and large animal sales
Friday Aug. 8th handi-capable day, family line dance with Lia’s line dancing and dance
Saturday Aug. 9th Kids day, sidewalk chalk fun, princess tea party, puff the dragon pedal pull
Tractor pulls are on Monday with weigh in at 6 p.m. and open event at 7 p.m.
Team tractor pull is on Tuesday at 6 p.m. and draft horse demonstration at 7 p.m.