Elks accept Army of Hope challenge

By By BEN RAYMOND LODE / Niles Daily Star
NILES -- Sometimes cleaning up around the house after a long and hard winter can take weeks.
And it would have taken Barbie Bertschy weeks to spiff things up around her house on Huntly Road in Niles this spring if the Niles Elks hadn't been challenged by their Michigan Grand Lodge to take part in the "Army of Hope."
The "Army of Hope" challenge basically means as long as U.S troops are deployed in the Middle East, Elks around the country will be challenged by their Grand Lodges and encouraged to help families while a family member is deployed.
In Barbie's case, it's her husband, Leon Bertschy, a major in the Marine Corps, Engineer Company B., based in South Bend, Ind., who is currently deployed somewhere in the Middle East.
Tom Smith, a Niles Elks Royal Knight and "Army of Hope" spring clean-up organizer, said the Elks are just trying to give something back for the sacrifices the Bertschy family has already made while Leon is away.
Saturday, several Niles Elks members cleaned up Barbie's yard, fixed her fence, trimmed her fruit trees and mowed the lawn on the family's two-acre property.
Barbie, who has lived on Huntly Road with her husband and two sons for three and a half years, said she realizes the family lives in a great community.
She was surprised to learn the Niles Elks had chosen her as their first subject for the "Army of Hope" challenge.
But at the same time she is very appreciative.
She said if it hadn't been for the help from the Niles Elks, it would have taken her and her two boys many weekends this spring to fix things up around the house.
Among the clean-up volunteers were David Fish, a St. Joseph High School student.
But Barbie wasn't the only one appreciative of the help they received.
Her son, Alex Bertshcy, a Ring Lardner Middle School student, was just as happy to have someone come and help pick up sticks and clean up around his house.

Edwardsburg

Facebook matching offers ESC new opportunity on Giving Tuesday

Business

Sister Lakes Brewing Company to open Town Hall event space

Cassopolis

Cassopolis set to take a Christmas Cruise

Cassopolis

Village of Cassopolis approves resolution to co-sign EDA Grant for MEC

Business

Cassopolis manufacturer donates to ACTION Ministries

Cass County

Woodlands receives grant to provide support to inmates facing addiction

Education

Niles fine arts teacher awarded grant

Dowagiac

Dowagiac nonprofit donates Thanksgiving baskets to families in need

Giving

Drive-up Thanksgiving event serves 300

Cass County

Police investigating suspicious death of 29-year-old found in vehicle

Berrien County

Berrien County Farm Bureau donates turkeys to families in need

Berrien County

LMC continues remote delivery options for spring semester

Berrien County

23 animals adopted during Honor Credit Union’s Adoption Days at Berrien County Animal Control

Berrien County

Holidays, COVID-19 pose mental health stresses, experts say

News

Hometown Christmas at Amtrak Deport canceled

Berrien County

Niles MSP Post welcomes new commander

DEVELOPING NEWS

Niles native shot during altercation with New Mexico police

Dowagiac

Pokagon Band, Four Winds Casinos donate food to families in need

Berrien County

COVID-19 UPDATE: Berrien, Van Buren counties report additional COVID-19 deaths

News

City finalizing plans on outdoor dining district

Cass County

Cass County Chief Judge receives lifetime achievement award from the Michigan Supreme Court

Business

Dowagiac restaurants rely on alternative service options to make ends meet

Cassopolis

Cass County Medical Care Facility staff boost spirits amid COVID-19

Business

Small business Saturday on for Niles