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Friends Raising Funds for Local Woman’s Dental Work

Pam CowgillSchoolcraft native Pam Cowgill, 58, has touched the lives of many in the South County area. A group of friends is hoping the South County community will respond in kind.

The group, Bring Back Pam’s Smile, is raising money to help Cowgill undergo major dental work, including dentures. Quotes for the dental work range from $3,000 to $5,000. No state or local aid covers dental work.

A longtime friend and organizer of the fundraiser, Cheri Bales, said Cowgill has talked about trying to get a loan for the work. But because she has very little credit established, she would have to pay up to 18 percent interest to do so. “I’m hoping her friends can help make up some of the cost so she can take out a smaller loan,” said Bales.

Cowgill’s dental needs stem from a lifetime of no dental coverage and recently broken teeth. “She just doesn’t smile as much as she used to,” recalled Bales. “This seems like something we can do that will make a big difference in her life.”

Bales feels Cowgill deserves the help, noting that Cowgill has dedicated her life to spreading her Christian beliefs and asking nothing in return. She taught Sunday School in the Schoolcraft United Methodist Church (UMC) and served as Christian education director. In 2009, she spearheaded a new camp for Crystal Springs Camp in Dowagiac called “Faith, Fun, and Fine Arts” to bring Christian beliefs and the fine arts to area children. She raised enough money to provide scholarships to 14 children. Cowgill also spent seven years working with Family Christian Stores in both Battle Creek and Kalamazoo.

Cowgill launched the South County initiative to join actors from Schoolcraft, Vicksburg, and Kalamazoo to present “Godspell” last year. She also directed and produced “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” for Schoolcraft UMC.

“Pam is always the first one to step up and help, but she never asks for anything in return,” said friend Diane Vincent of Schoolcraft. “She deserves to have a beautiful smile.”

All money raised from the project will go toward Cowgill’s expenses. Bales would like to present a check to Cowgill by the end of July and will ensure every dollar raised goes directly to Cowgill’s dental costs. So far, the fund has raised $440. Bales is hopeful more will come in.

Online donations may be made at youcaring.com by searching “Bring Back Pam Cowgill’s Smile” or by check payable to Cheri Bales and mailed to Sauganash Golf Club, 61270 Lutz Rd., Three Rivers, Mich., 49093. Because the youcaring site takes a percentage of the money collected, cash or check donations will be worth more to Cowgill. For more details, call Bales at 269-341-3786, but she is trying to keep it a surprise for Pam.

As Bales noted in her online YouCaring fundraiser page, “Many of you have benefitted from Pam’s wonderfulness over the years; isn’t it time to return the favor?”

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