It was a little boy named Michael who tugged local businessman Dan Crannie’s heart strings at Whaley Children’s Center many years ago. Dan, owner of Signs by Crannie, had done some work for the center for abused children. Although he had built signs for Whaley, Crannie had never seen its inner workings. That changed when Bill Weitzel, Whaley’s Director of Development at the time, asked him to come to Whaley to personally discuss some sign work. “He gave me a tour of the building and introduced me to the kids,” Dan remembers, “It was pretty moving.”
One boy, Michael, took a liking to Dan and grabbed him by the hand to show him his room and his most-prized possessions. Dan was humbled by what the boy considered to be treasures. “He showed me his bed and a notebook, very minimal possessions by the average standard,” says Dan. “I was hooked from that moment on.” Since then, Dan has done whatever the Center has asked of him. He provides signs for their events and helps with promoting Whaley’s fundraisers. He also hosted Whaley’s fundraiser at Back to the Bricks. Cruisers could get their pictures taken with the iconic 13-foot “waitress” statue from Flint’s Colonial Coney Island, which Crannie had rescued from demolition. “I couldn’t help but be involved, and I don’t do it for the recognition,” he says. But in August, Dan did receive some recognition when he was named Whaley Children’s Center Volunteer of the Year. “It really does mean a lot to be honored by such a worthy organization,” he said modestly.
“As a former Whaley board member, Dan has shown commitment to the center, its mission and the children they serve,” says Samantha Roth, Whaley Development Coordinator. “He also selflessly donates all of the beautiful signage for Whaley’s three major events as well as any other projects the Center may need. He truly is dedicated to transforming lives and creating futures for every child at Whaley Children’s Center.”
Founded in 1926, Whaley Children’s Center provides residential childcare services to children age 5-17 years old who have suffered chronic and profound abuse and neglect. The services provided to children and families include residential treatment, group homes, and family counseling and aftercare service. “Another reason I support Whaley is because you can walk through those doors and see how your money is helping the most deserving children in our society,” says Dan. “At Whaley Children’s Center, there’s always room for more funding, more volunteers, and more help.” ♦
Photography by Mike Naddeo