Wesley Village ice cream social draws large crowd despite scare

MACOMB — Friday at Wesley Village opened with a bad fright, but closed on a much lighter note with a party that drew at least 500 by one tally.
The retirement community held its 24th annual ice cream social Friday evening after a frightening incident earlier in the morning involving a trespasser and his backpack, which officials had suspected was carrying a homemade bomb. The suspect, Jamie Toland, was apprehended and the Secretary of State Bomb Squad determined there were no devices in the backpack or the facility.
Volunteers were seen earlier in the day getting ready for the evening event, undeterred by the shakeup. Their efforts paid off with a crowd estimated to be between 400 and 500 people.
Party-goers listened to live music from the Bullis Rutter Big Band, and ate ice cream, pie, cake and cookies beneath the large tent. Nearby, others played at an inflatable golf course and bounce houses, while still others rode a horse or noshed on cotton candy.
The event raised money for the Pearson Home memory care unit, one of the units in the Pursuit of Home project. The project involves renovating memory care residents’ living areas into home-like spaces, which may help residents feel more at ease.
When asked if the facility was operating with heightened security since the incident, Administrator Shelly Martin said they had been looking into a new security system since April.
“We pulled the trigger on it today,” she said
The new system would require people to scan a card or other clearance to enter the building, she said.

— Reach Michelle Langhout by email at mlanghout@mcdonoughvoice.com or find her on Facebook