By BETH ALTENA On August 21, 2006 Brian Belcher was in Afghanistan when his Humvee was ambushed and hit with a rocket. His legs and left arm were on fire, and he jumped out of his vehicle to try to put out the flames. He couldn’t pat the flames out and dropped to roll to try and stop the burning. When he stood again he was shot twice in the leg above his knee. His left index finger had been blown off in the bombing. Becker said the anniversary of a serious injury is known among veterans as their “live day.” “It’s one of those days you never forget,” he said. Post injury, Becker faced second-degree burns over his body, the loss of his finger, recuperation from the shooting. “I got blown up and shot within about two minutes,” he said. Those two minutes have lead to a a life where he has struggled to rebuild himself, struggled against Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome, night panics and daily reminders of the importance of helping other veterans achieve more and overcome their own struggles. “We were lucky that day, we didn’t lose anyone, just body parts, a finger and a foot.” Becker does, however, know a soldier who did not return from the war. However, he knew three who died from suicide since returning home. “The numbers themselves are alarming. Twenty-two veterans die by suicide every day,” he shared. Those statistics are part of why Becker is one of a national softball team that travels the country to interact with communities like Rockford and let veterans know there are resources available to them. Becker will be here with his teammates at VETSports for a triple header softball at the West Michigan Miracle Field on Ten Mile this Saturday, August 15 for three very special games. The cost is $5 with the money going to the Children’s Miracle Network but all veterans get in free. At 11 a.m. the VETSports team—all injured veterans who lost body part in Iraq and Afghanistan— will scrimmage with children from the Miracle League. At noon will be a celebrity game playing against such notables as Mitch Lyons, Mike Knuble, Jack Dole, Christian Frank, Jim Schipper, Curtis, Pet Wallner, Senator Dave Hildenbrand and […]
Rockford’s National Night Out Tuesday, August 4, couldn’t have been any better. The weather was perfect, the turnout was teriffic and everyone had a good time. This year for the first time, Rockford closed off Bridge Street and allowed local merchants and restaurants to put up booths offering free samples. Attendees enjoyed a delicious cupcake display with the National Night Out logo rendered beautifully by Denise Bradley. Rockford Department of Public Safety officers interacted with the public in a variety of ways, kids played in the Rockford Fire Truck mister, always a huge favorite, especially on hot nights. National Night Out is a community gathering in celebration of a safe environment. Law enforcement includes the Michigan State Police, including the drug dog, members of the Kent County Sheriff Department, including a marine patrol boat, and Rockford police and firefighters. Booths from Rockford Neighborhood Watch Association all offered crime prevention tips and giveaways, Rockford Lions offered free vision screening tests. Herman’s Boy offered delicious cookies and free iced coffee. Plainfield Township was present with a fire truck and firefighters. Cannon Township brought their amazing hovercraft and a newer rescue off road vehicle. Courtland Township brought a fire truck and the Smoke House which simulates the limited vision of a smoke-filled building and provides training in how to escape a home fire. The Rockford Chamber of Commerce made hundreds of snowcones, which were also very popular and had children lining up for a second or third. There was a bounce house and balloons from ReMax. Kudos to the City of Rockford and everyone else who contributed to such a special, family-friendly day of celebration.
Dianna Robach kindly sent us a blurb about the impressive display of cupcakes for National Night Out. It is great because the maker of the cupcake is someone who is quietly working behind the scenes for rockford in many ways for many, many years. Dianna wrote, “I thought you would be interested in this story. It refers to Rockford National Kids Night Out held this past Tuesday Night at the RFD. I am a Rockford Lion and we were testing vision on children. Our booth was in the Rockford Fire Garage and I noticed in the center of the garage was this hugh cupcake display (see attachments). I was so impressed with the work and the design that I walked over and talked to a lady who just happened to be the baker and the designer. Her name is Denise Bradley (her son is one of our Rockford Police officers) Denise has been baking these types of cakes since 2008. The cupcake display this year took her 11-12 hours just to decorate, which does not include the baking of the 320 cupcakes! As you can see from the pictures that every one of those cupcakes were eaten before 8pm. Kudos to Denise Bradley for her “giving spirit.” Thank you, we didn’t know Denise was the maker of our impressive National Night Out cupcakes. We do know her and her family as the main organizers of the Harvest Festival Make and Take It Scarecrow event, which has raised so much money over the years for the Rockford Community Services. Thanks to Denise and her family for all they do!
ChoiceOne Bank is providing a donation totaling $50,000 over two years to Cherry Health, an independent nonprofit and comprehensive primary health care provider. Jim Bosserd, Chief Executive Officer of ChoiceOne Bank, said the money is targeted to fund an overall project totaling $1.17 million, and will go toward two projects in Grand Rapids and Cedar Springs. “As the local community bank, it’s important for us to support our families and our communities,” said Bosserd. “Cherry Health provides services to all individuals, regardless of their ability to pay. A sliding fee payment scale based on income and family size is available to those with no insurance. Healthy families make for healthy communities. That’s important to us at ChoiceOne Bank.” The projects in Grand Rapids and Cedar Springs will develop facilities to expand services at these two sites. Innovation Central High School in Grand Rapids will move its medical facility from City High Middle School to Innovation Central, which serves approximately 800 students in Grand Rapids. The health center will care for all students ages 10 through 21. In the Red Hawk Building in Cedar Springs, services are provided to all 3,500 students and their siblings throughout the district ages 3 to 21. The facility offers a wide range of services from medical to behavioral, which allows for accessible care when and where students need it. Students and families are currently being served at the health center through the summer and into the 2015-2016 school year. Cherry Health has facilities in Kent, Barry, Montcalm and Wayne counties. Services provided by Cherry Health include primary care, women’s health, pediatrics, dental, vision, behavioral health, five school based health centers and employee assistance for employers. About ChoiceOne Bank ChoiceOne Bank is a full service financial institution with offices in Kent, Ottawa, Muskegon and Newaygo Counties. Member FDIC. ChoiceOne Bank offers insurance and investment products through its subsidiary, ChoiceOne Insurance Agencies, Inc. ChoiceOne Financial Services, Inc. is the holding company headquartered in Sparta, Michigan and the parent corporation of ChoiceOne Bank. The company is publicly traded and is available on the OTCQX under the symbol “COFS.” For more information on the bank, please visit ChoiceOne’s website at www.choiceone.com.