This spring, The Rockford Squire reported that five historic people in the Rockford area were honored at Recognition Plaza at Peppler Park. The event is a newer tradition in its second year and organized by the Rockford Area Community Endowment (RACE). Each year, RACE will honor people from the City of Rockford and the townships of Algoma, Cannon, Courtland and Plainfield.
In addition to the gift of grants, recognizing the people who have contributed significantly to the history of the area is among the Endowment’s goals. When visiting the beautiful Peppler Park Recognition Plaza (on the west side of the dam), take the time to read the names on the bricks under your feet and in plaques on the columns in the park. The following is one more of the stories of this year’s honorees, with others to follow in future issues of the Squire.
Wendell and Donna Briggs
At six years old, Wendell Briggs was taught to play the saxophone at Hager’s Music on the corner of Jefferson and Wealthy streets in Grand Rapids. He was later taught by Roy Middleton to play other instruments. He then joined a band, which played for both dances and weddings.
It was at a Plainfield Township Fire fundraiser that Wendell met Donna. He and Donna were married on April 15, 1950, at the old Assumption Church in Belmont, Mich. They have three daughters and three sons, as well as 18 grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.
Wendell and Donna have participated in and been appointed or elected to various positions among clubs and organizations throughout the community.
Among his many achievements, Wendell was elected president of the Rockford Sportsman’s Club, appointed to the Plainfield Township Planning Commission, involved with the Michigan State University Public Policy Institute, elected to the Michigan United Conservation Clubs board of directors and served as president, elected as master of the Rockford Masonic Lodge, chosen as president of the Comstock Park Rotary, elected as trustee for Plainfield Charter Township for a number of years, and served on the Plainfield Township Recreation Committee.
Donna was active in the Rockford Eastern Star and Rockford Sportsman’s Club, and was alternate director of the Michigan United Conservation Clubs.
Today, Wendell and Donna are both members of the Plainfield Charter Township Historical Hyser House Committee.
The Hyser House was originally built in 1852 and is one of the original buildings in Plainfield Township. The land for the Hyser Rivers Museum was donated by the Briggs family.