ALPENA - Ten years ago Mike Kendziorski, his wife Kim, and their children made a financial decision from which the local community has greatly benefited. The family anonymously donated the needed funds that paid for a majority of the cost of rink 2 at the Northern Lights Arena.
To avoid the notoriety the good deed surely would attract, the Kendziorskis took great steps to keep the origins of the money under wraps, but on Tuesday Mike Kendziorski shared why he chose to offer financial support to the arena expansion, as well as promote a special event he is involved in which will greatly benefit young ice skaters around the area.
Kendziorski, the former owner of Perch's IGA, said years ago when his children were playing hockey he would have to rent equipment from Tom Sommerfeld because he couldn't afford new equipment for the kids. He said after achieving success at the store he used those times as motivation to help the arena and families who face the same situation today. Kenziorski said he decided to go public now because of another goal he has set. One that will bring three important entities involved in the area together for the better of the arena and the families which utilize it moving forward.
"This has been a 10-year secret in the community, but we wanted to do something for the community and it wasn't for recognition, but because we wanted to give back to the community who had given us a successful business," Kendziorski said. "I'm coming out now, because it is a turning point at the Northern Lights Arena right now. The Park Foundation has taken over, Denny Dacey is now running the operations there and and it has been amazing what M-PAC has been able to do over the years. But what I like now is all of them are starting to work together and that is what we need to make this continue to grow. It is one of our jewels for the youth and the youth growth. The kids are the most important thing in the community."
Kendziorski said the need for money still exists at the arena. He said the money is needed most by those who use the area, or want to use the arena but can't afford it. As a result Kenziorski has helped pull together M-PAC, the Park Family Foundation and Dacey to plan an event he hopes will erase some of the financial burdens families endure.
"We are going to have a fundraiser in November and that is one of the biggest reasons I have revealed the donation. I'm hoping it will ignite a spark for others," Kendziorski said. "Fundraisers used to be set up to help with operations, but we could use a little more cash flow for the first time skaters program. You will see a lot of big things coming in the next month related to the event. We want to be able to build a big enough fund so we can take care of the first time skaters or help the families and keep the programs strong for the next five years."
The two sheets of ice at the arena have simply been known as rink 1 and rink 2 but at the event Kendziorski said new distinction for each will be unveiled.
"It is kind of exciting because we will be naming the two sheets of ice at the fundraiser," Kendziorski said. "It won't be sheet one and sheet two anymore longer. I think it is going to be tremendous and people will like the new names."
The event is scheduled to take place at the APlex on Nov. 3 and Kendziorski said it is the goal of The Park Family Foundation, M-PAC and him to fill the event to capacity. the proceeds will help the kids and the programs they participate in. He said more information and tickets to the event will be released soon.
Steve Schulwitz can be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5689.