Sacrifices of City employees appreciated

Dear Editor,

I was driving thru the city a few days ago after a snowstorm and saw a familiar sight: our city plows clearing my subdivision. It got me to thinking… all too often in the news we hear stories and complaints about city employees throughout the country. Overpaid. Lazy. (Insert stereotype here.) What rarely makes the headlines are the vast majority of public employees that thanklessly do their job, day in and day out, with little fanfare.

As a citizen of Rockford, I think I can speak for the majority of us that quite often take our public employees for granted. The City of Rockford has had financial hardships just like every other municipality throughout the area. While I don’t know the exact number, I’m quite sure there are far fewer public employees than even a few years ago. Yet… our streets are plowed. Police patrol just as before. Our parks are well maintained. Even our lights in downtown were put up and taken down during the Christmas season (quicker that even some of my neighbors!). I’ve had to e-mail Rockford city staff several times in the past few months. I have always had a prompt, courteous e-mail reply within a day. Impressive.

I read in the paper a few months back the Rockford Police Officers voluntarily gave up their pay increase for this year. So, not only are the officers patrolling the streets (same as before), they’re doing it while willingly giving part of their pay back to the City of Rockford to help balance the budget. I would also guess nearly every other public department has been “doing more with less,” whether it be less manpower or less in their paycheck. I think this says a lot about not only city staff but each and every city employee we have in Rockford.

As I said when I started this letter, when public employees do their job, and do it well, it often goes unnoticed. So, the next time you come home from a snowstorm and see the street plowed and a police officer driving around that same plowed area, realize the sacrifices they have made to make the city the wonderful place it is to live today.

Paul Smith
Rockford resident

Majerle family grateful for kindness and support

Dear Rockford Community,

My family and I want to personally thank you for a very special night at Rockford High School January 14. We are just “blown away” at the kindness and support you have shown us not only since I was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease in 2002 but since we moved here in 1997.

As I stated Saturday night, Rockford is a special place because it is a community that cares about its individuals. It is a community that will roll up its sleeves, put their money where their mouth is, and rally around a good cause. Rockford is a special place because it is a community that understands the importance of education and that the education inside the classroom is just as important as it is outside the classroom. It is a community that demands excellence from their students in all areas of life and is determined to produce leaders of the next generation that will create more communities similar to Rockford and thus making this place a better world to live in.

While I was humbled and honored by the proclamation of “Steve Majerle Appreciation Night,” I am truly grateful and fortunate to be a part of this community as an educator, coach, parent and community member. The people of Rockford understand that there is no “I” in “Rockford” or “team” and that the strength of a group united will always be greater than any individual. Over the last 14 years, I enjoyed using my strengths and playing my role on the team named “Rockford” and received a tremendous amount of help along the way.

I would like to thank everybody involved in putting this great night together and raising an unbelievable $16,000+ for the VanAndel Institute research for Parkinson’s. I would like to recognize a few people who played a significant part in organizing the event: Ryan and Rachel DeKuiper, Charlie and Pam Brickey, Jamie and Gerilyn May, Tom and Karen Carlson, Tracy and Shannon Ouellette, Brent Duel and The Ram Shack, Lisa Avram and RHS Student Council, the RHS boys and girls basketball programs, Tim Erickson, and everyone else who contributed to making Saturday night such a special night. Thank you!

Steve Majerle and family
Rockford residents

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