Coach Jeremy Ferman presents $25,000 check to Steve Hoffa at Monday's school board meeting. Others shown are: John Brzozowski, Nancy Boxey, Steve Manko, Jonathan Owens, Jamey Wade, Joe Candela and Shelly Fasse. photo by Tom Wearing.
June 26, 2013ALMONT — When it became apparent last year that school budget cuts could result in the elimination of freshman sports programs, a number of high school coaches, staff and community members rallied to the cause.
Their shared concerns led to the formation of the Almont Athletic Council, whose purpose was to raise $25,000 to maintain freshman sports programming.
With that financial goal as the objective, the Almont Athletic Council created a 52-week "Ace of Spades Progressive Raffle" to take place on Tuesday evenings at 7 p.m. at the Huddle Bar & Grill.
The Council held its first drawing on October, 16, 2012, with a winning jackpot of just $120. In the 38 weeks that have elapsed, the progressive jackpot has risen to about $25,500.
On Monday, June 25, Raffle Coordinator Shelly Fasse, high school football coach/AAC Chairman Jeremy Ferman, and other AAC members presented a check for $25,000 to the Almont Board of Education.
The money will be used to purchase sports equipment and help pay coach's salaries.
Schools Supt. Joe Candela credited the Athletic Council for stepping in and filling the financial void when it was most needed.
"There has been a lot of excitement generated in the community through this effort," said Candela. "The budget deficit ended up creating an opportunity for our coaches and the community to band together on behalf of student athletes.
"Being able to sustain our freshman sports programs benefits the future success of our JV and varsity programs," Candela noted. "This effort required a lot of hard work and dedication on the part of Athletic Council and the community, and that effort has now paid off for our kids."
As of Monday, Fasse said the total amount raised by the Almont Athletic Council has risen to $26,988. In addition, the Almont Booster Club has donated nearly $8,000 to the cause; bringing the total amount to $34,990.
Raffle continues on
Fasse encourages supporters of high school athletics to continue participating in the ongoing Progressive Raffle at the Huddle.
She noted that the current Progressive Raffle ends on October 16, 2013, allowing supporters of Almont sports programs more time to participate.
She said raffle tickets can be purchased at the Huddle or from any coach for $2. One need not be present to win.
Each Tuesday, one ticket is pulled and if your ticket is drawn, you can choose an available envelope.
If the envelope contains the Ace of Spades, you win the amount in the jackpot.
If the envelope contains any other card, you are awarded a $25 consolation prize and the jackpot rolls over to the following week.
In addition to the weekly raffle, Almont Athletic Council members have regularly worked the concessions during events at The Palace and DTE Energy and Meadowbrook theatres.
"We're hoping that in October, other Almont coaches will get involved to help keep the program going," said Fasse.
For questions or more details about the Ace of Spades Progressive Raffle, visit:www.facebook.com/AlmontCoachesCouncil or call Shelly Fasse at 810-338-0271.
Tom Wearing started at the Tri-City Times in 1989, covering the Village of Capac as a beat reporter. He later served stints as assistant editor and editor. Today, he covers Imlay City and Almont as a staff writer. He enjoys music and plays drums and sings with various musical groups in the Detroit Metropolitan area.