The Loveland American Legion just doesn’t seem the same without the smiling faces of Bill and Carol Kern.
Both have passed away, but their memory is alive and well as far as the Clermont County Board of Developmental Disabilities (CCDD) is concerned. The second annual “CCDD All American Picnic” was recently held and was full of all-things Kern: fun, fellowship, and fond memories.
More than 15 years ago, Bill and Carol (affectionately known to many as Momma and Poppa Kern) convinced the Legion and Ladies Auxiliary to host two summer dances for the individuals involved in the Community Activity Program at CCDD. These two evening activities have since expanded; the Legion now hosts two dances, plus game nights, and cornhole tournaments for individuals from CCDD. The Kerns became friends to anyone who attended these events and supported the CCDD agency as a whole in many ways.
“With the rising costs of activity materials, we would often charge participants for the activities at the Legion,” said Angie Stanton, CCDD Activity Coordinator. “Bill didn’t like the thought of someone missing out on the event because they might not have the money, so he and Carol approached the Legion and Auxiliary for help.”
The result came in a $1,000 donation for all of the activities that were held at the Legion. Any leftover funds were used to purchase new trophies for the Spring and Fall Bowling Leagues at CCDD.
With the passing of the Kerns, the Legion didn’t want to stop the activities or their donation. Mike Kern, Bill and Carol’s son, and wife Emily are keeping up with the tradition of hosting the activities. In 2013, they organized the first All American Picnic. It was such a success they decided to make this an annual event in honor of Momma and Poppa Kern.
This spring, over 175 people RSVP’d for the picnic; unfortunately, pop-up showers made it impossible to be outside, so the event was moved indoors. Before the end of the night, members of the Loveland Legion, Sons of the Legion, and Ladies Auxiliary gathered for a special presentation.
“We’re glad you are here,” said Dave Casteel, Post 256 Commander. “We enjoy hosting this picnic and other events for you each year, and hope you will continue to come back to see us.”
A check presentation followed the Commander’s address. The check, in true “Kern” fashion, was another $1,000 donation. CCDD’s Community Activity Program is very humbled by any donation that is made and will see that the funds are used as wisely and efficiently as possible.
“The people we have met at the Loveland Legion have made such a difference in so many lives at CCDD,” said Lisa Davis, Community Relations Director. “They make us feel like family.”