Members of the Loveland American Legion Post 256 and Ladies Auxiliary hosted an All American Picnic on May 15 for individuals from the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities.
More than 140 adults and their families/providers attended and enjoyed an evening of food, games, and fellowship. Two checks were presented during the picnic, to assist CCDD with planning activities at the Legion throughout the summer and fall.
Bill Kern, a past member of the Loveland Legion, and his wife, Carol, were volunteers for the CCDD agency for many years. Affectionately known to everyone as “Momma and Papa” Kern, they helped organize two dances for CCDD participants each summer as well as cornhole and bingo nights in the fall. It was in 2010 that Papa Kern approached the Legion members about a donation to help cover costs associated with the activities. A $1,000 was initiated and given every year since then. This year, however, the donation was bittersweet.
Both the Kerns have now passed away; Momma Carol in 2009, and Papa Bill in January of this year.
The Kerns’ son and daughter-in-law, Mike and Emily, worked with Papa Kern last year to take over managing the events. It was their idea to host a spring picnic, so the Legion members could meet many of the individuals from CCDD and learn how their donations were being used.
“We thought a picnic would be a perfect fun way for our members to stop by after work and meet everyone,” said Emily Kern, who is also a member of the Loveland Legion Ladies Auxiliary. “That way, our membership could familiarize themselves with those who participate in CCDD events and know their donation is helping fund social activities for them.”
Post Commander Dave Casteel and other members were there as the $1,000 Legion check was presented to participants and staff of CCDD, greeting individuals and serving them dinner throughout the event.
Members of the Ladies Auxiliary also presented a $100 check in Momma Kern’s name, as a way of helping keep her memory alive as well.
“We are honored that the Legion has been so good to our Activity Program and the people who have attend the events for so many years,” said Lisa Davis, CCDD Director of Community Relations. “We are very thankful to have met Momma and Papa Kern all those years ago, and are excited that Mike and Emily are continuing their legacy of organizing social events for people with developmental disabilities in our community.”
Although the summer is just beginning and the CCDD events scheduled for August, September, and October, plans are already in process for next year’s spring picnic.
“Maybe we will call it the ‘Momma and Papa Kern’ All American Picnic next year,” said Emily Kern. “That way, their memory will live on forever.”