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.
One entire chapter in my memoir “Greenwich Meridian” is dedicated to me living and working in Lowell. It is called Emma Palova, the journalist, because my daughter is also Emma Palova.
My husband Ludek Pala and I moved to Lowell in August 1995 after living in Kentwood suburb for two years. Today many people still ask me, “How did you end up in Lowell?”
“It’s a long story,” I answer as we sit down and talk.
That afternoon, long time ago, we drove down Main Street. I immediately fell in love with the charming town. There was no Riverwalk yet, and the Lowell chamber office was located in the tiny white building on the east end of town. I remember talking to director Liz about basic information on the town.
We walked into Reedy Realty looking for land or a house. The Flat River Antique Mall still existed with its soda fountain, and instead of Flat River Grill there was the Swan Café. I think Flat River Cottage was located inside what is today Main Street Inn.
I liked everything about the town including Springrove Variety and Larkin’s had their saloon door, way before the modern street façade. There was a Spartan grocery store Family Fare just big enough not to get lost in it.
We found land in Vergennes Township and built a house not far from the Franciscan Sisters. I think at the time the railroad track was to a certain point functional.
My son Jakub Pala went through the Lowell Area Schools system from Cherry Creek Elementary third grade to Lowell High School. He played soccer under coach Pala.
When my mother Ella first visited with us, she said Lowell looked like a “cowboy village” recalling her first years in the country in Hawkins, Texas in the seventies.
“This looks like Hawkins,” she said.
I liked the quaint atmosphere of the Lowell area mainly the Fallasburg Park with the Covered Bridge and the historic pioneer village. I visited the one-room school-house many times, most recently right before my trip to Europe.
My love for history led me to explore many area historical sites and museums. Compared to Europe, the museums and history here in North America are young. One of the oldest bridges in Prague made of stone, the Judita bridge, dates back to the sixth century.
I’ve seen and written about all the special exhibits at the Lowell Area Historical Museum including the most recent and my favorite one, “Real to Reel.” The town has a strong Lowell Arts! Organization that puts on many exhibits, concerts, and theatre plays by Thebes Players.
The Englehardt Library was constructed with monies from the Englehardt Foundation. Overall Lowell has been fortunate to have many philanthropists and community foundations that enable community projects such as farmland preservation.
I love the architecture of Main Street, its buildings with front and back door entrances. That differs a lot from European towns and villages. Most European towns and cities have squares with fountains or monuments in the middle. The buildings usually have one front entrance only.
However, there are some similarities such as many towns and cities in Czech Republic also sit on the banks of rivers. They do have promenades like Lowell has the Riverwalk. Prague even has several botels on the Moldau River, which are floating hotels on boats, but they don’t have a Showboat.
Today, as I took photos for my EW Emma’s Writings online journal blog to show my friends in Czech Republic how we live, I realized how fortunate we are.
From the artsy knit work on the trees in downtown to the Pink Arrow Pride t-shirts, the town has a lot to offer. We patronize all the businesses in Lowell. My future daughter-in-law Maranda will have a baby shower at the beautifully renovated Main Street Inn.
I love the Summer Sizzlin’ concerts, just as much as I love the Fallasburg Fall Festival, (FFF) for the Arts, FallFest Bluegrass, Harvest Celebration along with the chili cook-off. The annual chili-cook off held in mid October is sponsored by Larkin’s Pub, and it is held on Broadway Street in downtown Lowell. Larkin’s Other Place serves as a venue for plays by Thebes Players complete with a dinner theatre. For this year’s repertoire and schedule for FFF check out the Lowell Arts! website at http://www.lowellartsmi.org
Each year in September, the town decks its lampposts with posters and pink shirts commemorating cancer victims. The Pink Arrow Pride project in its sixth year raises money and forces against cancer. For the annual football game that takes place at the Red Arrow Stadium both the players and spectators dress in pink. This year the game will be held on Sept. 6.
It is the hottest game of the season.
Lowell is surrounded by two townships, Lowell Township and Vergennes Township. The high school along with the stadium is located in Vergennes Township.
Other area attractions include a charming bed & breakfast Witt’s Inn in Vergennes Township completely remodeled with a wedding barn. It is nestled among apple orchards.
Among the many interesting churches in the area is the Vergennes United Methodist Church constructed in 1864. It is a simple clapboard structure reminiscent of buildings on the East Coast.
The Franciscan Life Process Center holds their annual Harpfest in mid August. The center has many arts and music programs.
And then of course, there are the trail systems and Lowell is at their crossroads. I can’t wait to hit the Frederick Meijer Flat River Trail from our place to town or to Belding.
The trails have been in the making for the last six to 10 years due to hard work of many involved volunteers.
So, as the years roll by, I learn to appreciate more and more the rural area we live in with all that it has to offer.
American Midwest has its own magic with the changing seasons, and the changing colors. When I first found out that people do color tours here, I could not believe it. Now, I understand the beauty of the American fall.
Precincts 1&2 vote at the township hall and at the Methodist Church.
The Main Street Inn is the only hotel in Lowell with seven rooms and large meeting spaces. It has been totally remodeled in the space where a hotel used to stand.