by BETH ALTENA Future Eagle Scout Andrew Manning, 17, a senior at Rockford High School, thought of his former elementary school when it was time for his last Boy Scout project. The strides he’s made in his career with the organization are nothing short of amazing, as few Scouts ever make it to Eagle Scout, the organization’s greatest honor. For Manning, the real march for success has been even more personal—a series of grueling surgeries and recoveries to correct defects in his feet he suffered from his whole life. Manning has had pain in his feet his whole life, but his family never knew the extent of the problem. He said he didn’t know if it was just natural growing pains and, having suffered from it his entire life, he didn’t realize it wasn’t normal. When he sprained his ankle in gym class and went to see a doctor about it, the extent of his problem became clear. “I went from doctor to doctor to specialist to surgeon,” Manning said. A problem with his bones had been the cause of his pain, and the doctors couldn’t believe he’d been walking with the condition his whole life, much less waterskiing and tubing. The diagnosis: major, complicated surgeries involving months of rehabilitation and keeping off his feet. Then, more surgeries on the other foot with the same pain and rehabilitation afterward. He had surgery on his right foot in March 2010 and the second nearly a year later—sooner than his doctors would have liked, but the timing took advantage of time off school to miss as little as possible. Manning is philosophical about it. “You wouldn’t ever choose to go through it,” he said. “But if you have to go through it, this was the best time of my life to do it. If I was older and found out about the problem, I wouldn’t be as young and strong to recover. If I had been younger, I would have had to have more surgeries because my bones wouldn’t have been close to their full size.” Teachers at Lakes Elementary School had called The Rockford Squire to do a story on Manning, not because of his surgeries, but because of the impressive project and his thoughtful nature. […]
Local Girl Scouts, Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts gathered on Thursday, May 27 at Blythefield Memory Gardens for the annual decorating of the veterans’ graves for Memorial Day. The event opened with a memorial flag ceremony conducted by local veterans as “Taps” was played. The young people then gathered handfuls of flags and went row by row, ensuring all veterans were honored. “This is a great opportunity for our kids to connect the past with present by honoring the men and women who have fought for our country,” said Scout Coordinator Kelly McLellan. “Having the veterans join us this year is an added bonus.” Following the placement of the flags, everyone was treated to a cookout dinner by the Gardens’ staff.
A ceremony in Belmont for veterans on this Veterans Day, Wednesday, Nov. 11, was by far the largest held there, said Plainfield Township Supervisor George Meek. Meek read a description he found defining a veteran. He said a veteran is someone who has written a blank check in service of his country, payable up to his life. He then introduced State Representative Vern Ehlers. Ehlers spoke briefly to the crowd, recognizing that the country now mourns the loss of 13 people at Ft. Hood, an act of cowardice. “It is unthinkable to face the loss of loved ones in the safety of our own forts,” Ehlers stated. He reminded the crowd of the heavy cost of war, and said the holiday was created in 1919 to commemorate the end of World War I, the “war to end all wars.” “It was such a horrible war, it was vowed at the 11th hour of the 11th month that we would never have another. That’s why Veteran’s Day is always November 11,” Ehlers stated. Veterans now comprise 20 percent of our country’s population. He spoke on the heavy burden of making political decisions regarding military action in times of war. “The toughest votes I cast in Washington are military.” He said it is a time in our nation’s history where we are not safe on our own soil and have to fear attack. “Even in sweet Grand Rapids and our suburbs we are not safe,” he said. He told the crowd that of the six million Americans who will receive care from the Veterans Administration, 220,000 will have served in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ehlers said when the United States was attacked on September 11, we first responded with attacks in Afghanistan, since that was where the 9/11 attacks were initiated. “We should have stayed there longer instead of moving to Iraq too early and ended up fighting a major war there.” Ehlers challenged the crowd to thank veterans who have sacrificed so much to keep us safe. Meek further reminded all to remember those veterans who have never returned home or been accounted for in the wars through the years. He listed those who have been missing in action, and further mentioned Michigan military […]
Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts and Girl Scouts were honored by the West Michigan Whitecaps at their home game on Friday, August 28, for the service they give to our community. To begin the night’s festivities, leaders and kids joined together for a parade around the field. Various Scouts continued to assist with game-opening activities by throwing a ceremonial first pitch, escorting the players to the field and presenting the colors for the National Anthem. Following the game, the outfield became a field of tents as Scouts settled in for the annual Scout Campout and movie night on the stadium’s big screens.
GOOD CITIZEN—Jordyn Thompson, 11, a soon-to-be fifth-grade student at Chandler Woods Charter Academy is pictured with Rockford Fire Chief Mike Reus. Thompson attended the regular Rockford City Council meeting on Monday, August 10, as part of his requirements to earn a Boy Scout merit badge for citizenship. Reus was showing Thompson the City’s newest fire truck, which had been delivered that day and will be in service this week.