Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Those 'doing work on the front line' are recognized

More than 1,000 turn out for 32nd annual event

Every day should be caregiver appreciation day for those who devote their lives to caring for people with disabilities and mental illness.
Shantrice Holmes of Southfifield models with caregiver Kathy Alcorn of Waterford in the MORC Kohl’s Caregiver Fashion Show
It was just such a day when more than 1,000 caregivers, families and community leaders attended the Macomb- Oakland Regional Center’s Kohl’s Caregiver Fashion Show at the Palazzo Grande Banquet & Event Center on Thursday to honor the caregivers.
It was the 32nd Caregiver Appreciation Day and attendees included Macomb County Executive Mark Hackel, who turned 52 on the day. The crowd sang the former sheriffff “Happy Birthday” as he stood on the runway.
“I’m honored to be in your presence,” Hackel said. “You are doing God’s work. You are the people doing the work on the front line. Today is your day, a day of celebration. This is all about the care you give others.”
Kohl’s Department Store provided money for new outfifits for some 86 people with disabilities as well as their individual caregivers who then walked a 75- foot long elevated runway to the sounds of music in front of an audience that fifilled the large Shelby Township facility.
Cory Guynn, manager of Rochester Hills’ Kohl’s on Auburn Road, spoke of how proud Kohl’s was to be involved in the Appreciation Day.
Some 15 workers from Kohl’s volunteered at the event and an additional 20 before that to help select the perfect outfifits for the participants.
Gerald Provencal, the executive director of MORC, said it was Detroit’s version of the great fashion shows that take place in Paris.
“Our models aren’t as expensive but they are just as beautiful and elegant as they strolled the runway, wearing the latest and coolest styles of the year,” he said.
Sue Cuddington of Utica, who has been a caregiver for two men with disabilities for 33 years, said it was a “fantastic event to honor the caregivers.” She noted being a caregiver is hard work, but “I’ve enjoyed it.”
During the past seven years alone, Kohl’s has donated $ 105,000 worth of high- fashion clothes to caregivers and people with disabilities. Jerry Wolffe is the writer- inresidence and advocate- atlarge at MORC. He can be reached at 586 263- 8950.

Wolffe speaks at "Walk a Mile in My Shoes" rally in Lansing