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Local Church Planning Warning Signs Along Pere Marquette Beach

Posted at 10:38 PM, Jul 23, 2013

MUSKEGON, Mich. –  High winds and rip current warnings made for a red flag day at beaches along Lake Michigan on Tuesday.

A recent drowning of 15-year-old Rochelle Jenkins at Pere Marquette highlights how dangerous water conditions can be in the area.

That tragedy sparked action from the pastors at Bluffton Church in Muskegon.

The blowing sands and white caps on the lake were the only signs of less than ideal swimming conditions at Pere Marquette in Michigan on Tuesday.

No flags and no signs warning of rip currents.

Hugh and Kathleen Kallen are husband and wife and pastors of Bluffton Church in Muskegon.  They also know how devastating the unknown can be for families.

Shortly after Rochelle was pulled under by a rip current and drowned at Pere Marquette, the Kallens came upon her family and offered to help.

“They looked like they had been weeping all night, they looked exhausted,” said Kathleen Kallen of the Jenkins family.

Her sorrow quickly turned to action.

“What can I do?” she asked herself.  “What can Bluffton Church do that could reach out in a compassionate way that we could just implement on short notice?  And this idea came to mind.”

Her answer was to create her own warning signs.  The signs she created will be similar to political signs often found in front yards around elections.  This one will likely read, “Swimming Danger, Red Flag Alert Day.  Rip currents can grab you and quickly pull you away from shore.  Be Safe! Stay on shore!”

Her husband Hugh said the plan is to “actually have individual neighbors or members of the church go and put theses signs near the water’s edge.”

Putting the responsibility of the community’s safety in the hands of the community.

“We hope people are made aware, and we don’t have to witness another drowning,” said Kathleen.

The pastors already have bids out for printing costs for the signs.  They are still looking for donations and volunteers.  More information on how you can get involved can be found at the Bluffton Church website.