Muskegon on My Mind

Mike Lee

Mike Lee, a native of Chicago, graduated from Loyola Marymount University with a degree in Creative Writing. At LMU, Mike developed international and domestic volunteer trips and served as the Volunteer Coordinator for the Student Veterans Organization. Mike’s professional background is in advertising and marketing, and has experience in executing large print and digital campaigns for non-profit and tourism clients. He lives in Los Angeles where he thinks a lot about dogs, bourbon, and the Chicago Bears.

It’s funny how things come full circle.

In August of 2012, my new bride and I drove from our hometown, Chicago to Muskegon, Michigan where we chose to spend our honeymoon. We were looking for a place that wasn’t too touristy and within five hours by car. My wife Eraina found a gem of a bed and breakfast called the Port City Victorian Inn.

TR Senior Training and Excercise Associate Jason Ferguson and his wife, Eraina, traveled to Muskegon, MI for their honeymoon in 2012.
TR Senior Training and Excercise Associate Jason Ferguson and his wife, Eraina, traveled to Muskegon, MI for their honeymoon in 2012.

Our entire honeymoon experience was amazing! At the onset of our road trip, we joked and laughed as we blasted our favorite tunes with the windows down. When we arrived and entered the immaculately kept house, we were greeted by innkeeper, Barbara Schossou, whose smile lit up the room. Our introductory conversation was easy. Eraina and I felt relaxed and right at home.

Later that evening, we also met Barb’s husband, Fred. The four of us sat around their living room chatting about family, careers, and how they came into the B&B business. We flipped through tons of old photos as they shared the historic significance of their house to the city of Muskegon. Our entire stay was more than pleasant. When it was time for us to check out, we hugged and vowed to keep in touch.

Fast forward to April 2014.

Team Rubicon launched Operation: Silversides in Muskegon in response to storm damage and flooding. I immediately thought about my new Muskegon family and wondered if they were ok. Once we had boots on the ground, I shared my story with Incident Commander Kyle Doyon.

The following morning, he sent a crew by the Port City Victorian Inn to check on Barb and Fred and show them some TR love. I later received an email from Barb expressing her heartfelt gratitude. Turns out, they hadn’t incurred any storm or water damage but their 85-year-old neighbor had a fallen tree in his back yard and was seeking assistance. Team Rubicon was right there to help.

Volunteers conducting assessments on Operation: Silversides dropped in to check and see if Barb and Fred needed any assistance after the storm.
Volunteers conducting assessments on Operation: Silversides dropped in to check and see if Barb and Fred needed any assistance after the storm.

Not that I needed any validation, but I was clearer of the invaluable impact our work has on the communities we serve. For the first time, our response touched a community that is near and dear to my heart.

Written by Senior Training and Exercise Associate Jason Ferguson