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Trim the Tree event raises funds for Special Olympics

December 4, 2012
By MATT KEISER - Journal Staff Writer ( , The Mining Journal

MARQUETTE - The 30th Annual Trim the Tree fundraiser for Special Olympics dinner social was held recently at the Holiday Inn in Marquette.

The annual event raises money to support and maintain the Special Olympics program in the Upper Peninsula.

Sean O'Donnell, coordinator and founder of the Trim the Tree event, said about about 300 people participate in the event each year, with about $5,000 to $7,000 raised.

Article Photos

The Bothwell Middle School Choir sings Christmas songs during the Trim the Tree for Special Olympics held recently at the Marquette Holiday Inn. The event was held to raise money for costs related to the Special Olympics in the Upper Peninsula. All food was donated by local businesses. (Journal photos by Matt Keiser)

The money will be used for rental fees, practice sessions, registration costs and other miscellaneous expenses throughout the year, O'Donnell said.

Each participate that attended received a festive handcrafted name tag made by a Special Olympian from the U.P.

At the conclusion of the social, the name tags were placed on a Christmas tree that will remain in the Holiday Inn lobby throughout the holiday season.

"The community has been so gracious to the Special Olympics" said Marie Martin, director of District 36 of the Special Olympics Michigan.

More than 20 local businesses supported the event, Martin said.

Following the dinner, two awards were presented.

The 2012 Millie Hager award was given to Olympian Bonnie Joosten. Joosten exemplified many attributes that made Millie Hager well known in the Special Olympics realm, O'Donnell said, adding Hager believed the No. 1 rule was to have fun and always have a positive attitude.

The inaugural John Dorais Community Service Award was presented to the Knights of Columbus for the organization's continued dedication to the Special Olympics.

"John Dorais passed away recently and played an active role in the Knights of Columbus and went to all of our Special Olympic events." O'Donnell said.

Knights of Columbus District Deputy Dave Guenther accepted the award.

Music for the evening was provided by the Bothwell Middle School Choral, with about 30 students singing Christmas songs.

Matt Keiser can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243.



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