Wilwin recently received a $16,000 grant from Home Depot. The Grant covered the cost of putting the finishing touches to the four new cabins and grounds area. Volunteers from Home Depot erected a gazebo by the lake adjacent to the Veterans Village; dug trenches and laid stones for walkways from the recreation hall to all the cabins; closing off the bottom portion of the cabins; planted grass seed for a lawn surrounding the cabins. They also erected playground equipment; and stained cabinets and doors inside the cabins. In addition, they furnished all the tools to do the work. The only stipulation was that Wilwin had to buy supplies from Home Depot.
All the work was done on the 27th of September. Spartannash Foods furnished all the food for lunch for the 45-60 volunteers.
Wilwin Board of Directors held its board meeting at the Fall Conference, Muskegon, MI. on September 21 and 22, 2018. Items presented included an overall master site plan; a five-year business plan; and a strategic long-term business plan. All these items will be reviewed at the Board’s November meeting at Wilwin.
All four cabins in the Veteran’s Village have been completed and being used. A special thanks to the generous donations from the American Legion, Sons of the American Legion, Auxiliary and Legion Riders; bedding, dishes, blankets, sheets, and all other items needed to make it comfortable for our veterans who utilize the Village. The AMVET Rider, Chapter 1988 of Baldwin purchased pots and pans for each of the cabins.
The recreation room has been completed for several months and is a “state of the art” building that provides a recreational area for our veterans.
Over the course of the past several years, “Operation Comfort Warriors” through our past National Commanders have donated a massage chair located in the main house, a pool table and most recently a shuffleboard table, both of which are in the rec hall.
Recently, National Commander Brett Reistad became the 5th National Commander to visit Wilwin spending several days resting and relaxing immediately after the National Convention.
The Board of Directors wants to give a special thank you to the Sons of the American Legion for donating $4,000 to cover the costs of the Richard Lynch fundraiser party held at Wilwin August 5th. The concert was a huge success with Richard Lynch’s “Love Tattoo” Foundation and the Waynesboro, Ohio American Legion purchasing a very nice golf cart for Wilwin.
The Sons of the American Legion also purchased four new golf carts for Wilwin (one for each cabin) plus the cabinetry that is installed in the cabins and rec hall.
There has been a tremendous increase in activity at Wilwin. PTSD and TBI Veterans, Reconnect Families, and Scout Groups have been using the facility in record numbers. With the four new cabins recently open, usage will increase even more in 2019 as we now have another way of grouping according to their needs. REMEMBER, THANKS TO YOUR CONTINUED DONATIONS AND SUPPORT, ALL OF THIS IS PROVIDED AT NO COST TO OUR VETERANS.
IMPORTANT NOTICE TO VISITORS: Effective immediately, due to the increase in veteran activity at Wilwin, Earl and Beverly, the caretakers, ask that you call them at 231-881-0844 and make an appointment to visit. This way, they will make time for your visit and assure that you visit is worth your trip.
Many of the Veterans write letters expressing their feelings about their experiences when visiting Wilwin, others write memories in a visitor’s book. The Board of Directors would like to share one special letter with all our fellow Legionnaires and Veterans.
“Dear American Legion:
I am writing in regards to Wilwin at Cygnet Cove.
For the last three years my family has been coming to Cygnet Cove. The first year, to us, was getting to know the place and the staff. It was an amazing experience. Beverly, Earl, and Garrett really listened to everything I had to say and respected it. You see my husband has PTSD with anxiety and (suicidal) tendencies. I was worried that someone would trigger him. The other worry I had was that my son…has autism and he too can be triggered easily. So, to insure the safety of everyone, I asked to have only the caretakers there, this request was fully fulfilled and never once questioned. Everything went so smooth that my husband and son both started planning to come up the following year. If you knew my family, you would understand that this is a huge deal. We literally never go anywhere because of the fear of them getting triggered.
The second year was even better! Beverly and Earl, once again, had everything set up for our family. This year I saw my family grow and become closer. My husband and son started having conversations with Beverly and Earl. (This is huge!! Both … and … are very reserved and do not usually talk to anyone. They were actually having conversations!). Beverly and Earl new exactly how to talk to them both and they also knew when not to talk to them. It was such a relief for me to be able to just sit on the porch swing and let my two guys wander without worry. Once again, our family started planning for our third year.
This year, as usual, Beverly and Earl had everything ready for us. They did warn us that there may be people coming to check out the Veteran’s Village and they would tell us when …. And… felt so comfortable, that they would initiate conversations and for the first time ever, they wanted to venture out to Ludington and Manistee. They have built up a solid trust in Beverly and Earl that they felt safe to leave. (son) even hugged Beverly!! If you know anything about children with autism, you know they do not like being touched. Yet another huge milestone for our family. … (Amazing Volunteers!) …..
I guess the whole point of this letter is to show you that this is an important, therapeutic place. Without it, my family would never have become closer, learned how to be a family, and accomplish major milestones. I am totally grateful to the American Legion, Beverly, Earl, and Garrett for making this a comfortable place for my family to grow. Without you, none of this would have ever been possible.”
Legionnaires. Sons, Auxiliary, Ladies and Gentlemen, this is what Wilwin is all about!
Thanks for your donations and keep the donations rolling in. The busier Wilwin gets, the more it costs Wilwin to maintain serving these veterans and their families without cost.
Bill Hafeman, PDC
Board of Directors, Finance Chairman