The stage was set, the Sunday afternoon sun was warm and white pillars lined the driveway. Red, white and blue streamers and stars moved in the light wind. This was not just any driveway; it lead to the backyard of Tim and Cathy Staudt.
Now, many of us may think we know the Staudts: Tim is on the local news on WILX in the evenings and can be found on the radio on 730 AM by day, providing all the latest sports news. If it’s happening in the sports world, from high school to professional, Tim Staudt is who Mid-Michigan turns to. What many may not know is that Tim and Cathy are very involved in our community, opening their hearts and home to many
local charity events.
Not everyone can fit 150-plus Spartan Marching Band members and another 400 or so friends, family and community members in their backyards. But that is exactly what the Staudts did on that sunny Sunday afternoon. They opened their backyard to raise funds to support the Spartan Marching Band and the Sparrow Regional Children’s Center.
This was the seventh year for the event, which has grown each year. You know it’s a good event when everything is donated: the food, chairs, decorations, sound system, everything. That means that all the money raised goes directly to the two charities: half to the Spartan Marching Band and the other half to the Sparrow Regional Children’s Center.
When the word went out that Tim and Cathy were going to open their backyard for this one-of-a-kind event, both MSU and Sparrow Hospital got behind it. The presidents from both organizations, MSU’s Lou Anna K. Simon and Sparrow Health System’s Dennis Swan, not only attended the event but brought family, friends and colleagues. Oh, did I mention the MSU coaches Tom Izzo, Rick Comley and Mark Dantonio were all in attendance and added their support?
The Staudts are of course big sports fans, that just goes without saying. What many of us may not know is that they are also band people, especially Tim. Not just any band, though; they love the Spartan Marching Band! Tim is an honorary member of the band, an honor bestowed on only four other people in the band’s history.
One of the Staudts’ other community passions is Sparrow’s Regional Children’s Center and the Children’s Miracle Network (CMN). Tim has given hundreds of hours of his time to the CMN Telethon and raised not only money but also community awareness for Sparrow’s Children’s Services. The Staudts were an integral part of raising funds for Sparrow’s Pediatric Emergency Room that opened in 2008.
Even our own Miss Michigan, Nicole Blaszcyk, addressed the crowd. The Miss America Pageant has aligned itself with the Children’s Miracle Network. Prior to the pageant, each contestant has pledged to raise money to support CMN. Miss Michigan’s goal is to raise $30,000. Sparrow Hospital, one of three CMN hospitals in Michigan, will benefit from part of that money.
As the backyard filled, the band played the MSU fight song and many patriotic selections, and the event was in full swing. In honor of Tim’s father, a huge Spartan marching band fan and supporter, they played several Sousa marches, which are always a huge crowd pleaser. Tim told everyone in attendance, “This is my favorite day!”
I would encourage everyone to consider attending the event next year. I can’t think of a better way to spend a Sunday afternoon in the fall.