The A-1 Laser Relay Team not only spreads cheer through Christmas tree sales, they also donate proceeds to the American Cancer Society’s Relay for Life of Lowell. In it’s seventh year, the month long sale brings visitors from around the state to pick out a tree.
Rudy and Lori Smith, owners of A-1 Laser, Die and Engineering are the backbone of the event. In 2010 Lori questioned whether the idea to sell trees to benefit Relay For Life was a good idea. Hours were spent looking at and learning about various types of evergreen trees. The Smiths signed a guarantee stating they’d cover the cost of all 225 trees delivered to their business. “I remember not sleeping the night before opening day in 2010. I was sure we had bitten of more than we could chew. I soon realized we had nothing to worry about. The Lowell community came through.” she remembers. Only six trees remained that year after the completion of the sale. And every year since all trees have been sold as A-1 Laser Relay Team and the community continue coming through year after year.
A Group Effort
The Smith’s business donates the lot where trees are sold. The two work behind the scenes months in advance to prepare in addition to selling trees on the lot. Lori places an order with Korson’s Tree Farm in Sidney, Michigan in July. She manages paperwork, tags trees, and keeps records of sales. Rudy makes sure tree stands are ready, lighting is put up and in working order, puts up fences, prepares signs leading customers to the lot, and incorporates small improvements each year to make the process for volunteers and customers an even better experience.
A group of approximately 20 volunteers make up Team A-1 Laser. These volunteers help setting up trees when they are delivered in one shipment. This year rainy weather conditions made for a an interesting unload and set-up. Those who offer their time help throughout the month. A-1 Laser employees help customers during business hours throughout the week. Members of the Smith family as well as community residents work the lot in the evening and on busy weekends. Busy times require 4-6 volunteers at one time. Many of those who help work multiple shifts during the month of December.
Nannette Grim is team captain for A-1 Laser Relay Team. Through her involvement with Little Britches Rodeo she secures volunteers for the lot on the evening of the Lowell Santa Parade. Lori is happy to say, “Lowell community members have surprised us by having pizza or hot dogs delivered to our tree lot! Lowell, what a great place to be.” When people work together good things can happen.
It has also been a family affair since 2010. Part of the volunteer group includes Rudy and Lori’s two daughters, their husbands, and this year a third generation lent a helping hand. Jaimi and Tim Scrivener, along with their sons Henry who is six and Lukas who is four, travel an hour and a half from Swartz Creek, Michigan to participate with unloading and set-up. Hillary and Ryan Fisk donate transportation of the trees via Fisk Trucking as well as supply the portable office which remains on the lot. Hillary loves working on the lot so much not even a soft cast on her foot with a broken toe kept her away in the past.
Proceeds Donated to Relay for Life of Lowell
Relay for Life of Lowell has been the recipient of proceeds from the tree sale each year. Kathryn Atwood, Chairperson of the event in Lowell appreciates the donation and support. “Team A1 Laser and their captain Nanette Grim have been instrumental to the success of our event. They are consistently a top fundraiser and really do the work from their hearts.” states Atwood. “They, and so many others involved in the RFL cause, are a great example of the amazing people here in Lowell. I cannot thank A1 or the community enough for their amazing support.” The relay event is the biggest annual fundraiser for The American Cancer Society which has been raising awareness, supporting patients, and researching a cure for over more than a century.
The 2017 “Re-lei For Life” event in Lowell will take place at the Riverwalk on June 24 from 11am-11pm. Luau themed activities will include a limbo and hula contests. Hawaiian style entertainment will fill the air along with scents from a pig roast provided by Slims Backyard BBQ. The public is welcome to check out all the event, activities, and entertainment.
Still Time to Shop
Hours of operation are Monday, Thursday, and Friday from 9am-7pm, Tuesday and Wednesday from 9am-5pm, Saturday 9am-6pm and Sunday 11am-5pm. Over 100 trees have already been sold. But 430 trees were delivered this year with multiple varieties from which to select. In previous years between $9,000 and $13,000 has been raised and donated to Relay For Life of Lowell. Lori concludes, “The success of the tree sale has been made possible by the entire A-1 Laser Relay Team and a great community and for that we are grateful.” Trees will be available through December 21.