River House, Inc. stands united with new flags

Leaders at the River House, Inc. showed a united front and highlighted the resources it has to serve battered women and families to kick off April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
The staff for the women’s resource shelter raised a flag, which was flown over the Michigan Capitol in Lansing, at the shelter on Thursday, April 5. Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, presented the flag to shelter staff.
“It’s really incredible and it’s really a great honor for us,” said Aimee Sandula, the executive director for the River House, Inc.
James Mueller, a retired commander from the Houghton Lake Post of the Michigan State Police, recently donated a U.S. Flag to the shelter to fly on its flagpole to replace a tattered flag. A former member of the shelter’s board of directors, Mueller still handles maintenance duties at the shelter to help keep operating costs down.
In that light, Carla Ott, the development director for the shelter, and Chris Huntington, the office manager, contacted Rendon’s office in hopes of getting a new State of Michigan flag to display.
“We run on a very limited budget and we run on a deficit every year, so every donation that we get helps,” Sandula said. “We don’t have the funds to purchase new flags and things like that, but we’re honored to fly the flag and want to be part of the state and the country. We’re very grateful for the support.”
Before the new state flag  was raised with the shelter staff on hand, Rendon said  the shelter is an oasis for women and children, and is a place of hope.
“So many people need new beginnings and you do a great job of getting people started on the right track,” she said. 
River House, Inc. is a non-profit agency that serves victims and survivors of domestic and sexual abuse in Crawford, Ogemaw, Oscoda and Roscommon counties.
During her visit, Rendon learned about the resources the shelter provides.
“I’m really impressed by everything they have to offer here to women and families who are in crisis,” she said. “It’s a very homey atmosphere. They have gone above and beyond to make it that way. It’s welcoming.”
River House, Inc. was founded in 1986 and was first located by the hospital overlooking the AuSable River.
Rendon praised the shelter staff for being agents of change for women and families and seeking assistance. 
“When women have to make a decision to change their lives in such a dramatic fashion, they need all the support they can get, and I can see that they have it here,” Rendon said. “They have a beautiful facility. The security here is very comprehensive.”
Rendon toured the shelter with Sandula.
“There is all kinds of playground equipment for children, so they don’t have to feel like they are so displaced. They have a kitchen that allows them to cook,” Rendon said. “There are places to learn how to do things and to contemplate their future in an area where  they can take the time and make the right kind  of decisions. I think that is so very important for women today.”
Dude looks like a lady? 5280 Walk slated for Friday
Grayling men are urged to walk a mile in her shoes this Friday – or more specifically – the high heels of a woman who has been the victim of domestic violence and sexual assault.
The River House, Inc. is holding the 5280 Walk starting at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, April 13.
The aim for the fundraiser is for the man to walk the 5,280 feet (one mile) to earn pledges benefiting the women’s resource shelter.
Walkers can wear their own heels or heels provided by River House, Inc. The event is part of promoting April as Sexual Assault Awareness Month.
This year, the walk is being dubbed as “Hops and Heels.” The American Legion, Spike’s Keg O’ Nails, Paddle Hard Brewing, and Rolling Oak Brewing are sponsoring drink specials with a share of proceeds going to the shelter.
“This year, we’re kind of partnering with the community and they’re going to raise funds on their end,” said Rachel Robbins, an outreach client advocate for River House, Inc.
There is a $25 donation charged as an entry fee, which will be donated to support shelter operations. Participants are encouraged to seek financial pledges for taking part in the walk.
The walk will begin and end at the American Legion. 
Awards will  be given for “Best Dressed” and “Most Money Raised.”
“We’re hoping to get a lot of people involved,”  Robbins “Mostly, it’s just going to be a fun way to raise awareness for sexual assault and raise funds for victims of sexual assault.”
For more information, call Robbins or Carla Ott at (989) 348-3619.


Crawford County Avalanche

Mailing Address
Box 490
Grayling, MI 49738

Phone: 989-348-6811
FAX: 989-348-6806
E-Mail: information@crawfordcountyavalanche.com

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