Despite fire tragedy, Hickey’s Bar steps up for 2013 Cheer Club

We have just experienced one of the coldest spells of weather that we have had in years. If you are looking for a way to warm up I have a suggestion. How about donating to the Mining Journal Cheer Club, which supports the Salvation Army in Marquette County?

Knowing that you are helping a family in need this Christmas season is sure to warm your heart. The Salvation Army has told us the need is very high this year. That is no surprise when you consider our current economy and unemployment rates. For many families the only celebration they will have this year will come from food and gifts provided by the Salvation Army.

The local Salvation Army is in a deep hole this year with a debt of over $500,000 locally. It scares me to think about what would happen to the local 776 families and 3,414 people that were helped through the Cheer Club last year if the Salvation Army was not here in the future. I know there are other agencies that serve the area, but I wonder if they could pick up the slack if for some reason the Salvation Army was not here to help people.

I know my family finds it harder and harder to try and buy gifts for me for Christmas each year. One gift that I have received the last several years, which I really have enjoyed is a certificate showing that a monetary donation had been made in my name to the Salvation Army.

This really warms my heart knowing that someone with a much greater need than me will receive a gift or food, so they can celebrate the season of Christmas.

I really do believe that giving is what can provide the greatest happiness and reward for a person. If you have someone that has been difficult to buy for how about making a donation in their name to the Cheer Club? If they are anything like me it may be the most heart warming gift that person receives this year.

A good example of understanding the importance of helping people in need, even after a local business experienced a major tragedy, was brought to our attention this year. Hickey’s Bar in Ishpeming burned down in November. This was a family-owned business with 72 years of history serving the community. Last year the owner of Hickey’s Bar, Brian Polkinghorne, had a fundraiser that brought in several thousand dollars, which he donated to the Cheer Club.

Even though his bar burned to the ground he still wanted to find a way to donate to the Cheer Club. He searched to find another business that would work with him and the new owners of the Venice Pub & Pizzeria agreed to hold the fund raising event at their location.

I can’t imagine how difficult it has been for Brian dealing with the loss of this long-standing family business, talking with the insurance company and deciding what to do in the future. In the midst of doing all that Brian still wanted to do something to help the people in need that the Salvation Army and the Cheer Club serve.

The way I see it is if Brian can find a way to give to The Cheer Club, considering what he has gone through, it means the rest of us probably won’t be able to come up with a better excuse to not participate. Please use Brian and the history of giving that Hickey’s Bar has shown over the years as an inspiration to find a way to donate to the Cheer Club this year.

Commemorative Bucks of Michigan came in again this week with truckloads of gifts. They have become one of the largest contributors each year to the Cheer Club.

They provide hundreds of gifts every year for people in need. Other businesses and individuals have also stepped up to donate this year and we very much appreciate their contributions. You will see a list running in the paper of the people and businesses that have donated.

Please join The Mining Journal Cheer Club this year with a donation of a toy or gift of money so we can all experience that warm feeling during this cold time of year that giving to the less fortunate offers.

Thank you to all the generous people that have supported The Cheer Club and Salvation Army for the past 35 years.

Editor’s note: Jim Reevs serves as publisher of The Mining Journal.