The Santa sleigh that marks the corner of Kercheval Avenue and St. Clair Street for the last several holiday seasons spurred the Friends of the Grosse Pointe Parade to continue building.
Last year the group presented the Toys for Tots Caboose, which held all of the toys donated by Grosse Pointers for children in the metro area. This year, the non-profit organization created the Grosse Pointe Wellness Express in partnership with several businesses and sponsors.
The train was unveiled this week to a large crowd at the Tompkins Center in , where one of the organization's directors, G. John Stevens, told everyone more than 2,000 toys were donated last year. He's hopeful Grosse Pointers will beat last year to grow the program he deemed a great success.
is one of the major sponsors of the train, hence the Wellness Express name. The hospital has partnered in the community on several projects--big and small. The idea behind the name is to keep the idea of wellness alive, according to a doctor who spoke to the group.
Other major sponsors included Mayor Palmer Heenan, City of Grosse Pointe Park Foundation, Northern Trust Bank Grosse Pointe, the City of Grosse Pointe Foundation and more.
Heenan briefly addressed the group, saying how appreciative he and the community are to G. John Stevens and his wife Betty--a couple who have tirelessly contributed to the Grosse Pointes positively.
Stevens just finished his second term as a councilman. After eight years, he decided not to seek re-election but says he'll remain active in the community. Stevens milled around the group before and after the presentation thanking them for attending and helping sponsor the train. His wife, meanwhile, milled around taking snapshots of everyone in attendance and her husband's encounters with attendees.
The train will make its debut at the the day after Thanksgiving, which begins at 10 a.m. It starts in Grosse Pointe Farms, travels through the Hill then through the Village along Kercheval Avenue.