It’s a family affair: Why the McLaren Port Huron Foundation’s sponsors return year after year

On Tuesday, July 12, golfers will tee off at the 43rd Annual Charity Golf Classic at the Port Huron Golf Club. The yearly golf outing acts as one of the core fundraising events for the McLaren Port Huron Foundation, the fundraising arm of McLaren Port Huron hospital.

Each year, the foundation identifies a new piece of medical equipment or hospital infrastructure upgrade and their fundraisers help generate the funds necessary to purchase it. This year, the money raised from the Charity Golf Classic will help purchase a Task Force Touch CARDIO machine, state-of-the-art technology that assists physicians and nurses in cardiology, physiology, neurology, and geriatrics to identify unexplained loss of consciousness and autonomic disorders. The non-invasive monitoring system provides continuous, synchronized blood pressure, EKG, and other important cardiac monitoring for early detection of rapid changes in a patient's condition.

Important stuff. It’s no wonder then that the foundation’s sponsors, many of them locally-owned small businesses, return to sponsor their events year after year. Chuck Warczinsky, who co-owns Allegra Marketing Print Mail locations in Fort Gratiot and Clinton Township, puts it plainly:

“It’s important to emphasize the appreciation we have for McLaren and their service to the community, not only through buying local from businesses like ours, but also the services that they provide — whether it be the cancer center or other areas that they've expanded into and increased their capabilities, making it more and more comfortable for people to go there without having to travel to the larger metropolitan areas.”

Do the right thing

Port Huron’s Zimmer Roofing & Construction has been sponsoring McLaren Port Huron Foundation events for well over a decade now, Stacy Zimmer says. That’s nearly one-third of the company’s existence, which was founded by St. Clair's Paul Zimmer in 1984. The family-owned business specializes in commercial, industrial, and residential roofing solutions, employing nearly 30 local residents.

Stacy and Paul Zimmer, with their daughter Rachel.Zimmer Roofing is a regular sponsor of the various McLaren Port Huron Foundation events, as well as other charitable acts throughout the Blue Water Area. For the Zimmer family, going above and beyond the duties of running a small business can be chalked up to the simple fact that they think it’s the right thing to do.

“We’ve been around for 37 years now in this area and we just feel it's a great community,” Stacy says. “We do what we can for different events and the schools and try to help as much as we can. Even if it’s just volunteering our time — whatever we can do to help build the community and keep it strong. We believe it’s a good thing to do.”

In addition to routinely sponsoring the foundation’s Charity Golf Classic, Zimmer Roofing also sponsors the Festival of Trees. The annual event debuts each Thanksgiving, showcasing Christmas trees designed by members of the community that are raffled off to raise money for the foundation’s work. Last year’s Festival of Trees raised funds to help purchase equipment to enhance breast imaging services in the Demashkieh Women’s Wellness Place at McLaren Port Huron.

“This is a close-knit community. It's a beautiful area to live. We appreciate the beauty of the lake and the people here,” Stacy says. “I think everybody seems to work together well and help each other out — whether it be financially or with your time or whatever else you can do, it's always a positive.”

Keeping things local

Another way in which the local business community has rallied to support the expansion and improvement of McLaren Port Huron is the Cornerstone Club, a foundation program that enlists members to make annual contributions of either $100, $250, or $500. Different from the annual fundraising events, the Cornerstone Club allows members to decide where their money is spent. Members can choose to contribute to the foundation’s current campaign, the Task Force Touch CARDIO machine, or other target areas, including the Betty Kearns Cancer Fund, nursing education, veterans affairs, and more.

Chris and Chuck Warczinsky, owners of Allegra Marketing Print Mail in Fort Gratiot.Chuck Warczinsky and his wife Chris opened the Fort Gratiot location of Allegra Marketing Print Mail more than 30 years ago; they later purchased a Clinton Township location, too. Regular sponsors of events like the Charity Golf Classic and Festival of Trees, the Warczinskys are also members of the Cornerstone Club. Whether it’s sponsoring the golf outing or making their annual contributions to the Cornerstone Club, Chuck sees it all adding up together to provide quality healthcare services in the Blue Water Area.

“It’s about keeping a strong community where local people can use local healthcare services,” Chuck says, adding, “The fact that McLaren buys local certainly helps small businesses like ours.”

That McLaren Port Huron hires Allegra for their marketing and printing needs goes a long way with the Warczinskys, demonstrating to Chuck that the hospital is committed to the Blue Water community, providing quality healthcare services while also supporting the local economy.

“We’re happy to see the building that's going on there. They’re always improving on the services that they can provide to the community so people don't have to travel a long way to get good health care,” Chuck says. “And they believe in buying local. That's a big thing for a small business like us. Everybody there has always been fantastic to work with, from healthcare to the marketing people to everybody else, from A to Z.”

A family affair

Chris Simon echoes Chuck’s sentiments about working with the McLaren team, even going so far as to say that they feel like family. Simon would know as much as anyone. His own business, the landscaping company Precision Care, provides landscaping and snow removal services for the hospital, and on snowy, winter days, his crew is out there clearing the lots and sidewalks almost every single day.
Chris Simon, owner of Precision Care.Like the Warczinskys and Zimmers, Simon is a regular sponsor of the foundation’s fundraisers, including the Festival of Trees, Charity Golf Classic, and Friday Fish Fry, as well as a member of the Cornerstone Club. But Simon knows how to have a little fun, too, and is a frequent participant in the yearly golf outing at the Port Huron Golf Club.

“I always invite my father to play along with me. It's something that I enjoy, and my father — who is 74 — he looks forward to it every year,” says Simon. “We've been in that for a number of years now.”

Simon also finds himself purchasing the decorated Christmas trees he sponsors, year after year — even if he’s running out of room to store them.

“It's about the memory that I've created with my family. We go to the Festival of Trees and buy the tree and then the tree is kind of a staple for my family. Bringing this tree home every year — it’s always, where do we put this one? There’s a tree in the kids’ room, in the hallway. There’s five or six trees stacked up in the basement and I tell my kids that when you guys move out of here, you're taking a couple of trees with you.”

There is, of course, something funny about the landscaping guy ending up with all these Christmas trees in his house.

Precision Care landscapers planting gladiolas on the grounds of McLaren Port Huron.
Based out of East China, Precision Care serves their commercial and residential clients all over St. Clair County and even Macomb and Oakland counties. Maybe you’ve seen them installing a softball field at your local school, or planting geraniums in front of McLaren Port Huron. You’ll definitely see Chris Simon at the Charity Golf Classic this summer, swinging away with his dad and all the while raising money for a good cause.

“Being part of some of the larger fundraisers, and especially allowing me to bring my family to participate, that's what hits home for me,” Simon says. “We've gotten more involved because it feels like we're part of a family event and we're part of a bigger cause. It feels like we’re more than just the company that provides the lawn mowing, the company that provides the snow removal. We've gotten to where it’s like our friends are there, from the administration on down. It feels like there's a family atmosphere there, and we like to be a part of that.”
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