By Rick Coates
Many people believe angels live among us. If that is true, two of them
have to be Marcie Newton and Margie Krussell of Petoskey.
Last year they formed Angel Ambassadors to assist veterans in Northern
Michigan with a variety of financial and personal needs. This weekend they
will host their first BBQ/Blues Golf Scramble at Dunmaglas Golf Course
near Charlevoix, featuring the Red, White & Blues Band.
It is amazing how many of our veterans and their families are in need --
it is a real travesty, said Newton. Recently we heard from a veterans
wife after her husband had died and because of a paperwork glitch she
received no assistance with the funeral. He was drafted and served in
Vietnam and was exposed to Agent Orange and had been battling health
issues his whole life; and to make matters worse he checked a wrong box on
some VA paperwork resulting in his family receiving no assistance with his
funeral expenses and now his wife is struggling to pay for all the funeral
The Angel Ambassadors organization was inspired by Krussells son Ed
Margies son Ed, a Marine, received the Purple Heart after he was injured
fighting in Iraq a few years ago; five soldiers from his platoon were
killed in that bombing. So we decided to organize a welcome home party and
what was supposed to be a small party turned into a community-wide
celebration with several thousand people coming out, said Newton. Well,
several veterans came out and they kept telling us how wonderful this felt
to have so many people supporting not just Ed but all the veterans
present. The whole community seemed to pitch in and the party was
completely paid for.
When Newton and Krussell gathered a few months later over drinks at the
Side Door Saloon to recap the celebration, a new idea came out of their
We saw how energized everyone was from this party and we started asking
what more we could do to help veterans in the area. The ideas just started
flowing and we were writing them down on a bar napkin and Angel
Ambassadors came to mind, said Newton. Before the night was over we had
a mission, an idea for a logo, and two annual fundraisers.
The next day the two angels started contacting their friends and before
the week was over they had their logo designed, stationery printed and a
website donated and set up.
BACK ON THEIR FEET
Last November they held their first fundraiser and were able to help
several veterans going into the holiday season.
One couple just simply got behind on their bills and we got them back on
their feet. And now they are helping us with the golf scramble and blues
concert, said Newton. What is so wonderful about this is everyone we
have helped wants to either pay us back or help us out; they have a pay it
forward mentality. None of them are looking for a handout -- they just
need a hand up.
On their website (angel-ambassadors.org) they have a Mission
Accomplished section where they have posted when and how they have
The Angel Ambassadors BBQ-Blues Scramble this Saturday, July 23 will
include a four-person scramble that starts at 12:30 p.m. and includes the
BBQ dinner and blues concert. Non-golfers are invited to attend the dinner
We are still looking for sponsors and donations for raffle items. We have
some great prizes already and several businesses have stepped up, said
Both Newton and Krussell are grateful for the outpouring of support.
Even the band has donated their services. I saw these guys play an event
in the U.P. and they are awesome, said Newton. These guys (Red, White &
Blues Band) are all veterans and they do a lot to help veteran groups.
They play all styles of blues and classic rock and roll.
Persons interested in helping out or making a donation should check out
We have something called a Need-Meter and we give certificates to
people and businesses who make donations to us, said Newton. Anyone may
make a donation online. It doesnt need to be just cash. We have had
people donate all sorts of items from wheelchairs to gift certificates.
Cash is helpful, as many times we need to buy groceries, pay utility bills
or a few months rent.
For additional information on the BBQ - Blues Golf Scramble at Dunmaglas
Golf Course near Charlevoix, featuring the Red, White & Blues Band on
Saturday, July 23 go to angel-ambassadors.org or contact Marcie Newton at