Red Wings, celebrities hit a home run for charity


Detroit Red Wings players, Wings Alumni and local celebrities faced off on the softball fields at Duck Lake Pines Park in Highland on Saturday August 27. The big winner was the Joe Kocur foundation and the families in need that it supports through eight charities.

“Holding the event in Highland is about roots for me,” said Joe Kocur. “I’ve lived here in Highland for 26 years and enjoy the great people and support. This all started when I was trying to raise money in honor a friend, Shannon Silverthorn, who passed away. I never imagined all this would happen.”

The star-studded teams for the eighth annual Charity Softball Series included Dylan Larkin, Darren McCarty, Kris Draper, Luke Glendening, Danny Dekeyser, Darren Helm, Steven Avery, Darren Elliot, Ted Lindsay, Steve Ott, Dave Coulier (“Full House”), Amy Andrews (Fox 2), Karen Drew (WDIV) and many others. They played in three softball games, which were squeezed in between thunderstorms that rumbled through the afternoon, sending everyone running for shelter. The heavy rain delayed play for an hour-and-a-half and sent hundreds scurrying to their cars.

Despite the storms, the 2016 goal of $100,000 was achieved and then some. Although driving rain soaked most supporters, the hearty ones who remained placed generous bids on auction items including a birthday party, jewelry and sport memorabilia. A signed Miguel Cabrera hat earned $405.

Many of the families that scattered during the storm later returned to watch the action. Amy Koenig of Highland arrived after the storm with her two sons and their friend.

“We are here to support the cause and to see actor Dave Coulier from the TV show ‘Full House’,” said Koenig. “He is my son Gavin’s favorite.”

Thirteen-year-old Laura Figliulol performed the “Star Spangled Banner” to cheers and applause. Laura was born with autism and with the help of music therapy through FAR Therapeutic, discovered has perfect pitch.

“I gave it may all,” said Figliuol. “The feeling when I finished was amazing.”

Three thousand hockey fans from as far Toledo and Flint gathered to watch their favorite Red Wings and celebrities battle through the softball games. Actress Erin Cummings (“Sparticus”, “Madoff”, “Astronaut Wife’s Club” and “Feed the Beast”, to name a few) flew in from California to play in the event. Cummings started the nonprofit Mittens for Detroit while starring in ABC’s crime show, “Detroit 1-8-7,” which was filmed in Detroit.

“We only succeed when we work together,” said Cummings. “Joey asked me to play again this year and I know that by supporting what he does, we all succeed. I’m pleased to be here.”

New to the foundation this year is Jackets 4 Jackson, a nonprofit created this year after David Lyons and his four-year-old son fell through the ice last February, while ice fishing on Alderman Lake.

“We are thrilled to be part of the Kocur Foundation,” said Jenny Zamiara, director of the Jackets 4 Jackson nonprofit. “The funds we receive will be used to buy and distribute life jackets, provide safety education about ice hazards and provide swimming lessons. The first life jacket we donate will be to the Highland Fire Department.”

Pam Ayres, president of FAR Therapeutic Arts, helped organize the softball fundraiser. Her nonprofit is also under the Kocur Foundation umbrella and explained that all eight nonprofits were selected because they “help families and kids with an emphasis on kids.”

As the foundation continues to wrap up the financial details of the 2016 Charity Softball Series, Kocur proudly states that every penny raised will be given to the eight charities. Volunteers handle every aspect of the fundraiser. Kocur adds that planning for the 2017 Charity Softball Series “began one week after the 2016 event took place.”

Source: Spinal Column

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