Cass County Tractor Pullers raise $20,000 for Cass County Cancer Service

Published 9:49 am Monday, October 11, 2021

DOWAGIAC — Saturday was host to an Under the Harvest Moon Festival Tom Florea and Maxine Ownby will not soon forget.

On behalf of Cass County Tractor Pullers, Florea presented Ownby, president of the Cass County Cancer Service, with a $20,000 check Saturday afternoon in downtown Dowagiac.

“It’s gonna take care of a lot of people,” Ownby said. “It all stays right here in the community and Cass County. The people are excited.”

A volunteer-run organization, CCCS offers assistance in the form of gas cards for patients and helps with paying utility bills to prevent the service from ending or just emotional support. The service also provides hospital equipment including beds, wheelchairs, walkers and more. The only qualification for cancer patients to receive assistance from the service is they must live in Cass County. Each patient helped by Cass County Cancer Service receives $600 a year for three years.

The organization serves more than 160 patients in the county, according to Ownby.

CCCS vice president Ray Klomes was grateful for the donation as awareness of the organization and its mission continues to grow.

“We’re lucky enough to be able to do a couple things on our own,” he said. “Organizations like the CCTPs are raising the money for us to be able to dedicate ourselves to helping out the people that need it. Instead of being out there, raising the money, we’re actually able to help the people out while these other organizations are raising the money for us.”

Florea, who began raising funds after his daughter was diagnosed with cancer, was holding back tears at the thought of the generosity shown both by his fellow club members and the community at large.

“I want to thank all the club members for helping me and all the people that helped me donate,” Florea said. “I believe people are very generous if you treat them right and thank them. People are more than willing to help you.”

The Cass County Tractor Pullers have been raising funds for the CCCS for three years by hosting tractor rides in the area. The organization raised $6,500 in 2019 and $15,000 in 2020.

“Every time we have a ride, I stayed back,” Florea said. “I feed everybody when they get back. Everybody gets fed as a thank you for going on the rides and donating money.”

Florea said he is hoping the Cass County Tractor Pullers will surpass this year’s goal next year.

“You’ve gotta think big,” he said. “That’s what I did this year.”