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January 14, 2003

Christmas may be over, but holiday spirit is alive and thriving

Record-Eagle staff writer

      The carols have all been sung, the eggnog consumed and the gifts have all been unwrapped, but the holiday spirit is alive and thriving in Traverse City.
      Barbara Maddy of Traverse City called to thank John Aldrich in customer relations at Ace Hardware on Front Street for finding an antique diamond earring that she lost.
      Maddy had visited about five places, and Ace Hardware was the only business that she called to ask if they would look for her earring. She said that she truly never expected to see the family heirloom again.
      "It's a miracle that anyone found it," Maddy said. "There are really good and honest people in this world and Mr. Aldrich is one of them," Maddy said.
      Santa Claus, disguised as Ward Eaton Towing, took a break from his Christmas Eve rounds to help Helmi V. Courtade of Traverse City.
      Courtade had purchased an item from Sears as a surprise for her husband and arrived at the warehouse on Christmas Eve to pick the gift up. When she got there, she was told that what she had purchased wouldn't fit in her vehicle and that no deliveries were available at that time. Courtade panicked and started calling local hauling companies, but none were open.
      "Then I thought of Ward Eaton. They tow anything!" Courtade wrote.
      After explaining her holiday emergency, the man on the other end of the phone laughed and told her to come on down and he would loan her a trailer.
      "When I arrived, the guys were all smiling and proceeded to hook up this perfect trailer," Courtade wrote. "As I drove away, I realized (no one) had even asked for my name. All they said was Merry Christmas. The trailer was promptly returned with a small token of our gratitude and tremendous appreciation for their generosity. A big thank you to Ward Eaton from our family to yours!"
      Karen Culp of Traverse City was shopping at Meijer the day after Christmas and accidentally left her purse in the cart when she returned it to a cart corral after unloading her groceries.
      "It was a heart-stopping experience," Culp wrote. "A lady I do not know found it and returned it to the courtesy counter. Thank you only begins to convey my relief and gratitude to this honest person. At this time of giving and receiving, the greatest gift is the unexpected one."
      The Community Meals Program hosted Thanksgiving and Christmas Day dinners, both held at Trinity Lutheran Church.
      On Thanksgiving, volunteers delivered 573 meals and served 250 people at the church. The Christmas Day meal was delivered to 610 people and an additional 275 people were served dinner at the church. None of this could have been accomplished without the help of an army of volunteers and generous donors.
      Sandra Svec, meal coordinator, wrote to thank the following people who helped make the dinners a success:
      Northwestern Michigan College culinary arts program students and Lucy House, for baking 22 turkeys for the Thanksgiving Day meal.
      Cooks for both meals were Bill and Missy Ptak, Rick Ingersoll, Dick Daniels, Dick Hayes, Betty Maciejewski, Robert Claypool, Dick Hill, Chef's Pride and Larry Burdek, and Jim Super.
      Music was provided by Cheryl Burleson, Barbara Bryan, Colby Taylor, Dorothy Remington and Melody Remington, with help from Mr. Gig's Music Shop.
      Donations were received from Traverse City Print and Copy and Anthony Casciani, Dr. Douglas Wigton, Dr. Arnold Sarya, Cellular One and Christine Gruger, Village Press and Ken Kingsley, Ellen Johnstone, Tom's 14th Street Store and Andy and Ray Hasse, Sara Lee Bakery and Helen, Grand Traverse Rubber Supply and Dave, Cintas and Marilyn, Alpine Electric and Carol Peek, the 14th Street 7-Eleven, Cicero's Pizza and Peter Musselman, the Disabled American Veterans No. 38 Auxiliary, Colindres Financial Services, Old Mission Windows and James Cesario and Kris, Trinity Lutheran School students who decorated sacks for meal delivery, Buckley Community School, Smith Farms and Linda Milarch, The Wal-Mart Foundation of Traverse City, Sam's Club of Traverse City, J & S Dairy Distributors and Jim and Mary Johns, Meijer Inc., Penske Truck and Tom Hartgerink of Silver Lake Self-Storage, independent video producer George Meredith, Pepsi Cola and Chris McManus, Grand Traverse County Jail work crew and Robin O'Non and Ryan Kigar, Emmanuel United Methodist Church and Connie Linnerson and Pauline Mills, Lamar Advertising Co., Faith Reformed Church, Grand Traverse Radiologists, Plant Masters of Suttons Bay and Don and Tina Vanthomme for donating 300 poinsettia plants, Ann McDonough's fifth-grade class at Traverse Heights Elementary School for baking 40 pies at the Grand Traverse Pie Co., Baywinds Distributor Breads and Tom Fay and Jerry Lauzon, Big Apple Bagel, Grand Traverse Bagel Company, Muffin Tin, Potter's Bakery, Dunkin' Donuts, Great Harvest Bread Company, the Omelette Shoppes, Great Big Apple/Grand Traverse and Mancino's.
      Baked goods were picked up by Walt and Leslie Liebler, Doug and Sue Smith, Jill Beauchamp, Bill and Lynell Singer, Pete Dalley, Kathy Lundy, Tom and Mary Torbet, Diane Greswald, Dennis Sternburgh and Barb Winburne.
      Cards and gifts were donated by Kaitlin Moyer, Sharon Yahr and Ellen Merrillot of Bayview Wesleyan Church, Linda Karpinski and Cub Scout Pack 3, Immaculate Conception Middle School fifth-graders, Esther Send and Girl Scout Troop 112, Traverse Bay Christian School students, Sharon Ellison and Brownie Troop 5, Michele LePere, West Junior High School's National Honor Society, Willow Hill Elementary School's Junior Girl Scout Troop 4, Mary Mazure and Brownie Troop 3, Cadette and Senior Girl Scout Troops 19, 16 and 64, and Lorraine Jones and Senior Girl Scout Troop 1.
      Svec also sends sincere thanks to the following individuals - Sharon Panek, Debbie Sinner, Judy Platte, Pat Sutton, Bernd and Judith Hauser, Darlene Adam, Suzan Svec, Jerry McAtee, Jim Freeman, Paula Lyons, Bob and Donna Slocum, T.J. Scott, Michelle Baggett, Jan Haworth and Barb Bopry; and the following drivers who delivered meals - Bob Carstens, Chris and Susan Skellenger, Barb Fritz, Carol Hector, Kathy Reicha, Fran Kamp, Paul and Barb Weber, Christine Weber, Dick and Marge Wagner, Dale Cobb and daughter Carrie, Warren Lange, Rick Odell, Bud and Nancy Dockter, Jim and Jen McClellan, Tom and Dawn Johnson, Lisa Wamsley, Robert Elzer, Deb Vogel, Doug and Sue Smith, Wendy McWhorter, Don and Betty Winchell, Mark Green, Dick Dennett, Ken and Amber Daniels, George Meredith, Larry and Loretta Ludka, Ron Hedrich and Mary Stevens.
      Svec also sends a rose of thanks to any volunteers or donors she may have forgotten.
      To celebrate its 125th anniversary, Central Grade School in Traverse City will hold an open house from 6 to 8 p.m. on May 1 and organizers would like to display a variety of school memorabilia. For more information or to loan memorabilia for the open house, call Sharon Jennings or Cathy Griffin, 933-5600.
      Items for this column may be sent to Northern Notes, Record-Eagle, P.O. Box 632, Traverse City, MI 49685-0632; e-mail to

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