Letter to the Editor: God bless Ludington Fire Dept.

March 6, 2015

photoDear Editor,

We are truly blessed to have such a outstanding Fire Department serving our community, and I’d like to thank everyone of them for their quick response to a potential electrical fire that occurred at Sandcastles Children’s Museum on Thursday, Feb 5 at noon.
This winter at Sandcastles many people have been working really hard on new exhibits and continued improvements and in the midst of another busy work day, we noticed a strong burning smell. After searching the building for the source with no success, we feared that there was a fire smoldering between the floors or in the old walls.  On calling 911 the Ludington Fire Department quickly turned out in force. They efficiently did a thorough check of this old building, including a really small crawl space that I was afraid Andy Larr would not be able to get out of, and they isolated the smell to the basement and an old ballast.  After taking it apart, we found that it was indeed the source. The old tar based ballast had caught fire inside, and it was emitting the terrible smell.  While contained, a potential catastrophic event was averted.
Our community is so very lucky to still have this landmark 120 year old building still in our community.  None of us can imagine it gone.  Built as the original Lumberman’s Lodge in the 1890’s, during the height of the lumbering days, it was then entrusted to the Elk’s for many decades.  Today this great historic brick building still greets people as they arrive in Ludington with its tall flag flying.  Recognizing its importance, Sandcastles purchased it in late 2010 and we take our stewardship of this Ludington landmark seriously.  We have a strong volunteer base and have been efficiently upgrading the older systems as funds allow.  We have come a long way in the last eight years with much community support.
 In 2014 Sandcastles is proud it drew over 22,000 people to our downtown area and businesses, and in 2013 Sandcastles paid off its mortgage and is creating the systems to keep Sandcastles Children’s Museum around for the coming generations.  With a little under $200,000 to go to finish the job of repairs and upgrades, and a $50,000 matching grant in place, I know our community can accomplish this goal.  This potential loss of a Ludington landmark and our beautiful hands on children’s museum, would have been truly tragic and is a wake up call for me, Sandcastles and our community,  While making great strides we can not risk waiting any longer.  We need your help today.  Please, all businesses, foundations, individuals, big or small,  please consider donating to this historic landmark that houses a place for children to learn and flourish in creativity.  Your donation is fully tax deductible and can be earmarked for capital improvements.  I can not think of a more worthy cause that brings so much joy to so many people.  Please contact me with any questions or ideas today.
This museum would not have grown and flourished without the wonderful support of our community, and I just kept thinking of how hard so many have worked to provide a this really special place for kids. The thought of a fire was really upsetting, and the response of the firefighters was very reassuring.
Before they left, another Ludington jewel, Jerry Funk, gave me a big hug and said, “Don’t worry honey, we got it.” How many Fire Chiefs do that?  We are so blessed in this community to have each and every one of them.  Thank you all.

Kristin Korendyke
Executive Director
Sandcastles Children’s Museum