A PARTICULARLY IMPRESSIVE response to Durand Union Station’s 40th annual Fall Raffle has generated more than $12,000 for the historic station and museum, as well as $7,500 in prize money for winners.
The raffle took place on Thursday, Oct. 15 in the Depot’s passenger lobby, with roughly 15 people in attendance and dozens watching the proceedings live online via Facebook. The winner of the grand prize was Wayne Ritter. 2020 Railroad Person of the Year Stan Dungerow continued his memorable year with a 2nd prize. Todd Acker, the 2019 Raffle winner, won 3rd prize. Further prizes ranging from $750 to $150 were awarded. More than 40 door prizes ranging from lottery tickets to gift certificates to local businesses were awarded throughout the night. In addition to the main raffle, two $100 drawings were done for members and those who purchased tickets earlier, won by David Harrell and Paulene Stephens.
“The Fall Raffle is our biggest single fundraiser each year,” said Mary Warner-Stone, executive director of Durand Union Station, Inc. “We are incredibly grateful to our community for turning out and buying more than 450 of our 500 available tickets. That would be an amazing number in normal years, so to do so during the pandemic blows us away.”
Museum Curator Michael Boudro commented on DUSI’s fundraising efforts:
“This was a much-needed financial boost for the organization. The raffle is our big fundraiser, but not our largest overall source of revenue. We make the majority of our operating funds from event rentals and donations throughout the year. Due to COVID, we have had less than ten events all year, which has put us at quite a disadvantage. We also didn’t have Railroad Days, which is another major fundraising event for us. The building doesn’t know that we’re in a pandemic and continues to need all sorts of routine maintenance, so this helps us keep the Depot in good shape despite what’s happening in the world around us. Our organization has survived for forty years due to the support of the community, and their ongoing dedication keeps us going today.”
Recently, the station required some maintenance work on its fire-suppressant system that totaled more than $4,000. In addition to this, the building’s utility bills are manageable but consistent regardless of building usage.
The Fall Raffle was generously sponsored by a variety of local businesses: Shaw’s Pharmacy, Dietrich’s Flower Shop, Union Station Smokehouse, Stomping Grounds Coffee Shop, Riverside Market, Mancino’s of Owosso, The Lodges of Durand, Jim’s Pizza, Happy Tails Pet Grooming, Miss Mallie’s Sweets & Treats, Ed’s Standard and Teaser’s Salon.
Durand Union Station was built in 1905 after a catastrophic fire destroyed the first structure built in 1903. It was the hub of the Grand Trunk Western Railroad in Michigan until 1974 when it was closed and slated for demolition. During the lead up to the American Bicentennial, a dedicated group of citizens led by Norma and John Ward, Dr. Jean and Peter Sloan, Margaret and Nic Zdunic, Paul and Bonnie Rearick, Owen Rood and many, many others fought to save it from the wrecking ball, ultimately succeeding in 1979. Since then, the building has undergone millions of dollars in renovations, restorations and upkeep.
The building continues to serve as the icon of the Durand community and a gathering point for citizens and rail enthusiasts alike. It is operated by Durand Union Station, Inc., a 501(c)3 nonprofit incorporated specifically for the task in 1985.