Editor’s note: Due to the circumstances of the past year and the nature of this heartfelt thank you to the Flushing community, the View is allowing extra space for the Chamber’s letter.
In a year where few things have felt normal, we spent months planning and preparing to deliver at least one of our town’s annual festivals this month. The Flushing Area Chamber of Commerce is a small group that relies heavily on willing volunteers to make events like Candlewalk happen each year, and in that way, 2020 was no different. We were so overwhelmed by the support we received from so many members of our community that we wanted to thank a few that we felt went above and beyond and deserved public recognition for their efforts.
Sigma Chi Fraternity — These Kettering University students have been helping with Candlewalk for many years, but this year they all stepped up in a huge way. From building the jugs to lighting the candles and even helping clean up on Saturday morning, this event simply could not have happened without their service.
Rick Bigelow — Much like the Sigma Chi brothers, Rick has been helping with our events for years, but became an indispensable cog in our Candlewalk machine when we needed him the most. Rick does everything for the good of his community and we probably could not even properly list all the ways he contributed this year.
Jay Moldenhauer — Jay gave a lot of his time to help coordinate the candles/jugs and provide valuable on-the-job training for many of our new volunteers. If you appreciate the ambiance that all the beautiful candles provide, you have Jay to thank first and foremost.
Flushing Community Schools — Even though their classes were virtual and the normal lure of skipping class to assist with preparations was missing, many of our local high school and middle school students gave their time and energy to light candles and help clean up on Saturday morning. The fact that so many of our youth were willing to help when they had every excuse to sit this one out should make their parents immensely proud. The district also donated the use of two school buses to shuttle between parking areas. And with social distancing guidelines enforced, the drivers most likely made at least twice as many trips around their route as normal. We are extremely grateful for the service they provided.
And in an attempt to mention a few more important volunteers in a limited amount of space – Dan Anderson, Pamela Anderson, Michael Breznau, Bill Burgess, Emily Cobleigh, Mary Ann Cobleigh, Dale Emery, Lesly Foreman, Ben Gagnon, Lucy Ham, Joe Karlichek, Susan Little, JJ Mannschreck, Theresa Matthews, Seth Reel, Amber Schlemmer, Mary E. Smith, Ed Sullivan, Brett Teran, Judy Walling, Scott Webster, Tobi Williams.
Special thanks should also be directed to our Flushing Police Department and the DPW, two entities that assist every year behind the scenes in making this event happen. We would also like to thank Tractor Supply Co., Flushing Lions Club, and MTA-Flint for donations/volunteers that they supplied. And of course, as a non-profit, any event would be a non-starter without financial support from local businesses. Please make every effort to patronize those businesses to thank them for their support in a year when many of them were struggling. A complete list of our sponsors can be found on our Facebook page.
No matter how extensive the list, we inevitably forget to thank someone. So, to everyone else that had even the smallest part in making our event a success, we do thank you from the bottom of our hearts.
The difficulty associated with pulling off Candlewalk 2020 as safely as possible was unlike anything we have tried to do before. It simply could not have been done without each and every one of you. We live in an amazing community and we are looking forward to the biggest and best Candlewalk EVER in 2021! — Jacob Smith, Committee Co-Chair; LeeAlan Weddel, Committee Co-Chair