Local man hosts fundraiser for troops, veterans

Published 9:47 am Thursday, July 16, 2015

Submitted photo.

Submitted photo.

BARODA, Mich. — When Carle Post tried to join the military, his father, who served in the Navy for more than 38 years, said no.

Post’s father had enlisted with eight other men from Bridgman, and he was the only one who returned. Years later, Post’s two brothers were both killed as well.

Carle was the only one left, and his father did not want to lose another son.

“I grew up in an atmosphere that loved the military and service people,” Carle said. “And I kept feeling terrible about not being able to join. So I thought, ‘What can I do to pay back to our veterans?’”

Carle wanted people to come to an event, have a good time, hear music, eat food and see fireworks — all while raising money for nonprofits to help soldiers and veterans with special needs.

So, he did.

In 2010, the Support Our Troops Festival was born in Baroda.

“This year will be our fifth annual,” Carle said. “I’m very proud to say that.”

The festival, which drew around 6,000 people last year, will be held at the Baroda American Legion and will feature a day packed with events — most covered by the $10 admission.

The day starts at 7 a.m. and will feature a car show, vendor booths, a motorcycle run, helicopter rides, a children’s play area and a parade — and that’s just before 1 p.m.

The afternoon will begin with a POW/MIA ceremony put on by the Notre Dame ROTC and will continue with dog shows, tribute artists, a dance and a seven-gun raffle. The night will conclude with a fireworks show starting at 10:30 p.m.

Through all the festivities, last year the festival raised more than $29,000 for charities that include Rolling Thunder, Lest We Forget, Blue Star Mothers, Paws with a Cause, Culver Military Academy’s Supporting Our Troops Program and more.

Carle said he hopes that number will grow this year.

“If more people come, then we’ll be able to give more,” he said. “We are all 100 percent volunteers. We have no paycheck of any kind — not even for gas reimbursement.”

Of the more than 200 volunteers, Post said that a great majority are veterans.

“Everybody enjoys helping our veterans and our soldiers,” he said.

The Support Our Troops Festival will be from 7 a.m. to 12:30 a.m. Saturday, July 25 Admission is $10 for adults and $25 for families that show up all at once. The Baroda American Legion is located at 9214 First Street in Baroda.


Support Our Troops Festival Schedule of Events

7 a.m. — Day begins

All day — Supervised kids play area, helicopter rides, beer tent & mixed drinks

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. — Car/tractor show

9 a.m. to 10 p.m. — Vendor booths

10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. — Motorcycle run

10:30 a.m. — Kids pedal pull contest

12:15 p.m. — Main parade

12:30 p.m. — Bikes follow in parade

1 p.m. — Notre Dame ROTC POW/MIA ceremony

1:45 p.m. — SOTF/State of Military honor awards ceremony

2:30 and 4:30 p.m. — Bill Camp’s Famous Flying Dogs Show

6 p.m. — Tribute artists perform

7:30 p.m. to 8:15 p.m. — Flag folding and flag returning ceremony

8:30 p.m. — Dance, music by Dowagiac band “Rebel Pride”

9:30 p.m. — 7-gun raffle drawing

10:30 p.m. — Fireworks

12:30 a.m. — Day ends