Ashley McClelland, Kim Anderson and Karen Buchta
When they saw soldiers working at their own Christmas party, the wives of the 127th Security Forces Squadron assigned to Selfridge Air National Guard Base decided to create Spouses of the Brave. This private, nonprofit organization is dedicated to raising money to give back to military members via events throughout the year.
The group presents its first fundraising event, a “Shop ‘Til You Drop Vendor Sale” from 2 to 9 p.m. July 14, at the American Legion Hall on Groesbeck in Mount Clemens.
If they are successful this year's Christmas party will be on them. "I want members of the unit to be able to get dressed up and enjoy themselves," said Karen Buchta, 49, of Troy, co-founder of Spouses of the Brave. "We would also like to be able to plan other events like a summer picnic or something else the families can enjoy together."
"We're excited and very optimistic," said co-founder Kimberly Anderson, 33, of Eaton Rapids, and former member of the 127 Security Forces. Like many men and women moved by the events of 9/11 she followed her heart. "I knew I needed to do something with my life," she said. So she joined the U.S. Air Force and became a military police officer. While serving her country as a member of the Security Forces Squadron at Selfridge, she met the love of her life TSGT Sergeant Christopher Anderson, 39, of Lansing, who is still active. They were comrades in arms and within three years, husband and wife.
The following year Christopher, who had already served several tours, was deployed to Iraq. "I was nine months pregnant when he left," said Kimberly. "So I was scared, and I don't have any family here."
One of Kimberly's goals for Spouses of the Brave is to provide support for spouses -- whether it means sending a new mom a note of congratulations and a bouquet of flowers or a home-cooked meal.
Karen said that while fundraising is a big part of their mission, Spouses of the Brave is also a social group where members can share information, help, advice and time. "(It’s) Like when someone's spouse is being deployed for the first time and they don’t know what to expect. We can lead them to people who can help," Karen said.
Tickets for the vendor event are $5 and include a ticket for an hourly door prize drawing. The sale features numerous vendors offering everything from fashion accessories and pedicures to massages and cooking demonstrations. To make the event even more fun there's a table the size of an aircraft carrier filled with auction items. Looking for tickets to a Tigers’ game? How about airfare or hotel accommodations? Does your child want to learn how to skate?
"I'm excited about them all and I'm sure I'll be broke by the end of the day," said Karen. "One of the vendors makes things out of old military apparel. I'm thinking I could take my husband's old fatigues and have a backpack made for my son."
"It's heartwarming to see the stuff that has rolled in," Kimberly said. "People do care."
For tickets to the event or to make a donation to Spouses of the Brave, email firstname.lastname@example.org. The American Legion Hall is located at 401 N. Groesbeck Highway, Mount Clemens.
It's shaping up to be a fantastic weekend. Check out our list of other family-friendly events going on in the Detroit area:
War of 1812 Bicentennial Cruise
The Great Lakes Marine Institute will present their next bicentennial cruise on the lower Detroit River on Aug. 5. The trip is inspired by our maritime heritage; the vessels, sailors and passengers who traveled the Great Lakes during turbulent times surrounding the War of 1812. Join members of the Institute as they cruise where the War of 1812 happened on the waterways of the western frontier.
"Cruising on the east side of Bob-Lo Island the group will travel in the same channel that Schooner Cuyahoga took on her voyage from the Rapids of the Maumee River on July 2, 1812. The Schooner Cuyahoga was captured by the British Forces, and this event will be reenacted with the aid of the Provincial Marine and the tall ship St. Lawrence II," according to a spokesperson for the Great Lakes Maritime Institute.
The 3-hour narrated cruise aboard the Friendship at the Portofino Restaurant dock at 3455 Biddle Avenue, Wyandotte, leaves at NOON. Seating is limited and includes lunch, beverages, and a cash bar for $60. For more information, visit www.glmi.org or call 586-777-8300 or 313-441-1155.
The 10th annual Michigan Lavender Festival is underway at Blake's Orchard and Cider Mill, 17985 Armada Center Road in Armada. Admission: $5; children 12 and under free. The popular festival, going on throughout the weekend from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., features a bumper crop of vendors, artisans and professionals who will be offering unique products, workshops, demonstrations and more. All of which, naturally, are inspired by the Grandmother of herbs, lavender. Get your purple on and head to Blake Farms. Free parking within walking distance. For further information visit: Michigan Lavender Festival
Park*it family fun nights under way in Macomb County at several parks. Activities start at 6 p.m., music 7:30, and movie at 9. For schedule, visit www.parkit4fun.com.
Boat4Vets program for military veterans includes boat rides, barbecue, prizes, 10 a.m., barbecue 3-4 p.m. July 14, at Idle Hour Yacht Club on Harsens Island. Call 810-742-0173.
Wolcott Mill Metropark Historic Center hosts "Sawdust Festival," 1-5 p.m. July 15, 63100 Kunstman Road, Ray Township. Event includes log cutting, candle dipping, pioneer stories; admission $4 per person, free ages 5 and younger, craft tickets $1 each. Call 586-749-5997 or visit www.metroparks.com.
Barbie visits Oakland Mall in Troy at 11 a.m., noon, 1, 4, 5 and 6 p.m. July 18; event includes face painting and meeting Barbie. Tickets, free for Giggle Gang members, $3 non-members, available at mall information center on lover level near escalators. For details, OaklandMall.com.
Assumption Cultural Center in St. Clair Shores hosts summer youth camp for ages 7-12, in conjunction with Detroit Institute of Arts, 9 a.m.-noon July 23-Aug. 23; full-day child care available 6:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Camp programs include art projects and discussions, field trip to the DIA, volleyball and basketball clinics. For fee and registration information, 586-772-4477 or www.assumptionnursery.org.
Free "Gaming 2nd Saturdays" program for teens only, 2-4 p.m. July 14, at Warren Civic Center Library, east of Van Dyke north of 12 Mile Road; game systems available. Upcoming free library programs there include: *"Full Traveling Farm" for all ages, 6:30 p.m. July 19; "Block Party" for ages 3 and up using Lego and MEGA Blocks, 2-3:30 p.m. July 21; *nocturnal animals, 6:30 p.m. July 26; *"Ming the Magnificent" evening of magic, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 2; *"R.E.P.T.I.L.E., Inc. visit with reptiles, 6:30 p.m. Aug. 9; *registration required by calling 586-751-0770.
After-hours 21 and older Summer Zoomance, 6-9 p.m. Aug. 23, at the Detroit Zoo, 10 Mile Road and Woodward Avenue, includes twilight strolls among animal habitats, rides ($5 each), carousel ($2). Zoomance admission $10 advance, $12 at the gate, parking $5 for non-zoo members, free for members. For reservations, www.detroitzoo.org.
Wet and Wild
Rochester Hills Museum at Van Hoosen Farm hosts Wed and Wile Wednesdays through Aug. 1, with musical entertainment noon-1 p.m., children's fun (fire truck sprays, creek wading, slip and slide) 1-2 p.m. Free for museum members, $3 non-members. Also, Children's Music Festival those 11 a.m.-2 p.m. those Wednesdays at the museum, 1005 Van Hoosen Road, east of Rochester Road off Tienken Road. For details, 248-656-4663 or www.rochesterhills.org.
Activities planned for ages 50 and older at Shelby Senior Center include free movies 12:30 p.m. July 19, Detroit River cruise July 20, and Red Cross Blood Drive 2-8 p.m. Aug. 7. For complete schedule information, call 586-739-7540.
Detroit Symphony Orchestra performs 7:30 p.m. July 14 on the lawn of the Edsel & Eleanor Ford House in Grosse Pointe Shores. Grounds open at 6 p.m. Concert opens with Detroit Children's Choir. For tickets, $12-$25, also $50 and $175 VIP, call 313-576-5111 or visit www.dso.org. Pre-paid parking $5.
The Mall at Partridge Creek and Motor City Co-op Credit Union present free daily outdoor concerts (weather permitting) at Center Court through Labor Day (Sept. 3) at the Clinton Township mall on Hall Road between Romeo Plank and Garfield roads. Performances are 5:30-8 p.m. Monday-Friday, 4-8 p.m. Saturdays, 1-5 p.m. Sundays and holidays. For details, visit www.shoppartridgecreek.com.
Free music series "Sound of Music ... Past," 7 p.m. July 25 (Sentimental Journey Band) and Aug. 22 (Jean Bastian's Double Brass Quartet), at Beebe Street Park, Richmond, presented by Senior Helpers of Richmond. Call 586-430-1015.
Concerts/dancing at Lake St. Clair Metropark take place 6:30-10 p.m. Sundays through August; music free with Metropark vehicle annual entry permit, $25 season, $15 ages 62 and older, or $5 daily. Visit www.metroparks.com or call 586-463-4581.
Grosse Pointe Village Association's Music on The Plaza free outdoor jazz concert series presented by St. John Hospital & Medical Center, 7 p.m. Thursdays through Aug. 2, on Village Festival Plaza at Kercheval and St. Clair in downtown Grosse Pointe. Call 313-886-7474 or www.thevillagegp.com.
Concerts at Stony Creek Metropark in Washington Township feature Air Margaritaville, July 20; Justine Blazer, Aug. 3; Dr. Pocket, Aug. 10. Music begins 7:30 p.m. at Eastwood Beach. Free, but Metropark vehicle entry permit required. Call 586-781-4242 or www.metroparks.com.
Lexington Arts Council Music in the Park series, opening acts 6 p.m., main show 7:30 p.m. July 13, 20, 27, Aug. 3, 10, 17, at Patrick Tierney Memorial Park, Lexington. Free. Visit www.lexarts.com.
Wild Summer Nights concert series at Detroit Zoo, 6:30-8 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 29, in Main Picnic Grove; free with zoo admission. Guests can bring own picnics or purchase refreshments at concessions.
Summer Music Festival at Grosse Pointe War Memorial, 32 Lakeshore Road, 7:30 p.m. Wednesdays through Aug. 8; grounds open 6 p.m. Admission $8 per person; food available for purchase or guests can bring their own picnic. For details, 313-881-7511 ro www.WarMemorial.org.
Stagecrafters Youth Theatre performs "Bye Bye Birdie," 7 p.m. July 19-21, 3 p.m. July 21, and 1 p.m. July 22, at the Baldwin Theatre, 415 S. Lafayette in downtown Royal Oak. Advance tickets $6 youth, $10 adult, available at www.stagecrafters.org or 248-541-6430, or one hour prior to performances at additional $2 per ticket.
"Robocop: The Musical" 8 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, through Aug. 3, at Go Comedy! Improv Theater, 261 Nine Mile Road, Ferndale. Tickets $15. Visit www.gocomedy.net.
Benefit on the Bay
Capuchin Soup Kitchen fundraiser 19th Benefit on the Bay, 5:30 p.m. Aug. 24, at Mac&Ray's in Harrison Township. Tickets, $60, include dinner, dancing, beer, wine, three bands, auctions and drawings. To order, 313-579-2100 ext. 153 or 170, or www.BenefitOnTheBay.org.
Leaps & Bounds
Early childhood education training programs for caregivers and parents, 9:15-11 a.m. Wednesdays at Early Childhood Center, 24580 Cunningham, Center Line, and 10:30-11:30 a.m. Thursdays at Mt. Calvary Lutheran Church, 8129 Packard, Warren, sponsored by non-profit Leaps & Bounds Family Services. For complete schedule, 313-402-0802 or 586-675-0451.
Summer tours at Meadow Brook Hall on the Oakland University Campus in Rochester are under way at 11:30 a.m., 12:30, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m. A new architecture tour includes interior and exterior highlights of the design and construction process, 1 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; Behind-The-Scenes tours that include the staff wing are noon and 1:30 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays; each tour admission is $15 adults, $10 seniors, free ages 12 and younger. Twilight Tuesdays are 6-9 p.m. June 12, July 13 and Aug. 28, $10 adults, free ages 12 and younger. Call 248-364-6200 or go to www.meadowbrookhall.org.
Vanguard Trout Unlimited for fishing enthusiasts meets 7:30 p.m. second Thursday monthly at Rochester's Dinosaur Hill. Also, Fishing Buddies Fishing Club gathers 6:30 p.m. third Tuesdays at Rochester Hills OPC, 650 Leticia Drive. Call 248-375-1931.
Features editor Debbie Komar contributed to this report.