Cass County Tractor Pullers raising funds for Cass County Cancer Service

CASSOPOLIS — Next month, a vintage green and yellow John Deere tractor will make its way around Diamond Lake. Trailing behind it will be a sign that reads “Cass County Tractor Pullers spreading the word about the Cass County Cancer Service.”

On Sept. 5, The Cass County Tractor Pullers will host a tractor ride around Diamond Lake to raise funds for Cass County Cancer Service. The ride will begin around 11 a.m. at the former Hayden Beardsley Ford on M-60 in Cassopolis. From there, a parade of tractors, including a shuttle wagon for those who want to participate but do not own a tractor, will ride around Diamond Lake. Event organizers said the ride would take around two hours.

Following the ride, participants will be served a meal of hotdogs, hamburgers, brats and corn.

The second annual event is free to attend and participate in, while all donations will support Cass County Cancer Service. The volunteer-run organization provides support for those undergoing cancer treatment. That support comes in many forms from helping patients pay for gas to get them to and from treatments to rides to doctor’s appointments and more. Each patient helped by Cass County Cancer Service receives $600 a year for three years.

“[Cass County Cancer Service] is a great organization, and all the money stays right here in Cass County,” said Tom Florea, a long-time member of the Cass County Tractor Pullers. “Many people in Cass County have been touched by cancer.”

Last year, the Cass County Tractor Pullers raised $6,500 for Cass County Cancer Service. This year, the group is aiming to raise $10,000 for the organization. Already this year, Florea has raised nearly $9,000 and is confident his group will reach the $10,000 goal if not exceed it.

Florea was inspired to help raise Cass County Cancer Service funds last year after his daughter, Ann, was diagnosed with cancer. Florea said he is driven by his daughter’s inspiration and a desire to help the people of Cass County.

“I just love to help people,” Florea said. “I think God put us on this earth to help one another.”

Cass County Cancer Service President Maxine Ownby said she was grateful for the Cass County Tractor Pullers’ continued support. She said the tractor ride’s donations would be especially useful this year as many of her organization’s fundraising events have been canceled due to COVID-19.

“We haven’t been able to have any fundraisers this year, except two weeks ago, we had a golf outing at Edwardsburg that raised $15,000,” Ownby said.

Florea said he would encourage any Cass County resident to attend the tractor ride on Sept. 5, so that as much money as possible can be raised for Cass County Cancer Service.

“Anyone who wants to come is more than welcome to show up. We won’t turn anyone away,” he said. “It’s for a good cause, and I’m sure everybody realizes that.”

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