Custer VFW raises nearly $3,000 for renovations with silent auction and stew | News


CUSTER — Custer VFW Gold Bar Post 5096 raised nearly $3,000 at a silent auction and cooking stew held on Saturday.

The funds will be used to upgrade the VFW room at 2022 W. State St. The post is looking to install a new, larger kitchen and handicap-accessible bathrooms.

“The bathrooms are in a pretty deplorable state,” Auxiliary Bob Perrin said. “It’s barely big enough for a wheelchair to fit. The floors… need to be removed and redone.

They’ve been raising money for the project since before the pandemic with live auctions and performances by local band Cats ‘n’ Jammers, Perrin said. Approximately $14,000 was raised, with total costs estimated between $100,000 and $120,000.

“We are looking for people who are good to help us,” Perrin said. “We accept all donations for this cause. And we appeal in particular to our veterans.

All auction items were donated by local residents, businesses and organizations.

People were walking around the tables browsing the Carrom Company games; pet supplies from Wags to Whiskers; a cooler bag stuffed with trinkets from West Shore Bank; a Watson Ludington Jeep hat and shirt; wine from Northside Market and North Branch Winery; as well as gift cards and coupons for many local restaurants.

Near the front door was an entertainment center from Lundquist Furniture worth about $700.

Contributions from individuals included a knife forged by Mike Bailey, a blacksmith with a forge in Shelby who appeared on the “Forged in Fire” television show. Bob and Cyndy Anderson put together several handmade wooden decor pieces, including bird and bat houses.

“I never sell anything,” Bob said of his woodworking hobby. “I just like to think that I can help people out a bit. … It adds up.

Jim Rummer, who bid on some of Anderson’s items, drove from Harbor Springs to attend the auction. His family was deeply involved in the VFW room when he was growing up in Custer, he said, so it was important for him to come out and support her.

“I have so many memories in this place,” he said. “I don’t think we can ever do enough to give back to our veterans…so it’s nice to be able to support him.”

He encouraged people to donate what they can for the renovations.

“I hope people, even if they can’t be here today…may consider a donation of some kind,” he said.

As for the cooking stew, there were two starters: a turkey stew from Bob Nelson and a beef stew from Judi Perrin, Bob’s wife. Judi’s was ranked best, earning her $100, and Nelson won $75 for second place.

Judi donated her winnings to the renovation fund, and Nelson did the same by bidding on a jacket at auction, Bob said.

“It went well,” Bob said of the whole event. “We can change it a bit, but it’s gone quite well and I think we’ll do the same next year.”

He added that while they may not have hit $3,000 on Saturday, he intends to get there with a Cats ‘n’ Jammers performance from 5-9 p.m. Thursday.

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