Cindy M. Cranmer

‘The Biggest Loser’ winner, Rockford’s Jeremy Britt offers tips to weight-loss success

June 7, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER Perseverance and “keeping at it” are keys to success with a weight-loss plan, according to a Rockford resident and “The Biggest Loser” Season 13 winner. Jeremy Britt, 23, lost 199 pounds during the 13th season, dropping his body weight to 190 pounds. His sister, 24-year-old Conda Britt, lost 115 pounds to drop from 294 pounds to 179 pounds and finish third. Britt said his weight loss of 51.16 percent during the show placed him in the top five contestants of all the show’s 13 seasons. Jeremy and Conda left Rockford, their jobs, families, friends and all the technologies that connect people to try and make a change to their lives. During a recent interview at MVP in Rockford, Jeremy spoke to The Rockford Squire about the things he gained in the process. “There are so many ways my life has changed,” he said. A tremendous weight loss, prize winnings of $250,000 and better health are some obvious things, Britt said. The friendships that he made and learning to change behaviors that were harmful to his health are things that may have been less obvious to the millions of television viewers who saw him win the live season finale in May. “There are definitely people I will always stay in touch with. I’m friends with the people on the show for the most part,” Jeremy said. “It was such a great experience.” Things have slowed down for him after a whirlwind of television and radio appearances, but Jeremy wants to continue to tell his story and let it serve as an inspiration for others. Jeremy said he eventually plans to return to college and finish pursuing an education such as the business and management degree he was working on. He currently wants to serve as a motivational speaker and help others as they struggle to overcome obstacles to weight loss and improved health. “I feel I have a story to be told right now,” Jeremy said. “It’s pretty amazing being among the top five contestants of all time.” Jeremy was the youngest winner in the 13 seasons at age 22, and one of the younger contestants on the show. While he could travel if he becomes a motivational speaker, Jeremy said he […]

Area residents pay tribute to military veterans and personnel

May 31, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER Area residents gathered for Memorial Day 2012 to show their respect for those who paid the ultimate price for freedom and those who have served our country. Activities occurred in several local areas, including Rockford, Belmont, Algoma Township and Cedar Springs. “We need to celebrate everyone who risks their lives for us,” said Schuyler VanStee, 8, of Hastings, who was at the Rockford Memorial parade on Monday, May 28 with family who live in Rockford. From thanking veterans and posting slogans on Facebook such as “All gave some and some gave all” and “Some gave up their tomorrows for our todays” to attending Memorial Day parades to visiting the cemetery, people showed their support for veterans and active duty military personnel in a variety of ways. Area activities in Rockford included a flag-raising ceremony, the Memorial Day parade, a ceremony at Rockford Cemetery and a wreath ceremony at the Rockford post of the American Legion. During a memorial ceremony that took place as part of the Memorial Day parade, Clyde Sinclair, commander of the American Legion Merritt Lamb Post 102, spoke after the Rockford High School marching band played the National Anthem. “We need to acknowledge their death because they chose to cherish freedom so much they sacrificed their own lives,” Sinclair said. “We fight because we believe not that war is good, but that it may be the price of freedom. The heart of America is freedom.” “The valor, dignity and courage of men and women remain the same,” Sinclair said of those who served from the earliest military to those currently serving. “We need to remember the past and look to the future. The cost of independence remains high,” Sinclair added. “Many brave soldiers have paid the ultimate sacrifice for their country and more will.” A Memorial Day address was given by Chaplain Cliff Owens, a retired corporal from the United States Army, at Rockford Cemetery. The cemetery service also included the National Anthem performed by the Rockford Middle School bands, a prayer of invocation and a 21-gun salute followed by “Taps.” Owens talked about the history of Memorial Day and the hundreds of thousands of men and women who died in the Revolutionary War, Civil War, World War […]

Rockford schools rally around Relay—Part III

May 31, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER This is a continued summary of what each school in Rockford Public Schools has come up with to contribute to the Rockford Relay for Life. Encouraging each school to organize their own fundraiser has been a goal of Relay organizers from year one. May 18-19 was the town’s 10th Relay for Life event. Mike Ramm, principal for East Rockford Middle School (ERMS), said the school is always actively involved with a team and works hard at raising donations especially through a mini walk-a-thon. The ERMS mini walk-a-thon raised $7,732 by the approximately 270 students who participated, according to staff members Deb Pomarius and Kelly Darling, ERMS Relay for Life captains. The ERMS “East Defeets Cancer” Relay for Life team decorated foot decals either in memory of someone or in honor of survivors during the walk-a-thon. Other fundraising activities included a hula contest during the walk-a-thon. Pomarius said this is a way for students to be involved as it can be hard for students to participate in the Rockford Relay for Life with weekend sporting event conflicts. “The ERMS walk-a-thon event has been our most successful and most profitable in funds raised to fight cancer and has allowed more middle school students to be a part of Relay for Life in a meaningful way,” Pomarius said. “One benefit of the walk-a-thon is that if the students enjoy this activity enough, it motivates many of them to attend the actual Relay for Life event in Rockford.” Sixteen ERMS students have registered as 24-hour walkers, which is a feat that is challenging even as an adult. Other fundraisers include creating and selling duct tape accessories and crazy critters, which are similar to Ugly Dolls, at the ERMS tent during the event. A used book sale and henna tattoos are two other items that ERMS will have for sale during the Relay for Life. Bob Siegel, Valley View Elementary principal, said their biggest event is a 24-minute relay where students walk one minute per every hour for the Relay for Life. “The kids’ version has raised over $5,000,” he said. Other events include a staff luncheon and jean days where staff pay $20 to wear jeans for the month of May. “Most staff members pay […]

Rockford schools rally around Relay—Part II

May 24, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER This is a continued summary of what each school in Rockford Public Schools has come up with to contribute to the Rockford Relay for Life. Encouraging each school to organize their own fundraiser has been a goal of Relay organizers from year one. Last Friday through Saturday, May 18-19, from 3 p.m. to 3 p.m. was the town’s 10th Relay for Life event. “We actually lost a couple staff members to cancer, so it hits close to home for us,” said Doug VanderJagt, Rockford Freshman Center principal. “Knowing people gives you another reason to want to be involved with Relay for Life,” said Deb Gibson, a co-captain of the freshman center’s team and a counselor there. Events include a Buffalo Wild Wings dinner, jeans days, luminary sales, bake sales, putting feet around the building and T-shirt sales. “Our goal is to get as many people involved and just make as much as we can,” Gibson said. “Some years that may be $3,000 and others $5,000. This just pulls us together as a staff. It’s been a unifying experience to have a team. It’s about the spirit of Relay for us.” Losing former principal Ron Faurot and teacher Bev Finch has made the school extremely supportive. The team is named after the staff members and the first team was pulled together in memory of Finch as she passed away shortly before the Relay for Life in 2008. “It was almost a grief project the first year for staff to help us get through the loss,” Gibson said. Faurot, who had moved on from Rockford but was remembered by staff, passed away in September 2009. “Relay for Life has been a good way for us to focus some of that grief and hope and anger and celebration,” Gibson said. “It’s also a time for remembering. It’s been a very significant experience for us.” Frank Schiller, a high school teacher, who lost a battle to leukemia, also had taught at the freshman center before moving on to the high school. Schiller also had taught at the middle school. Dan Zang, Rockford High School principal, said a big goal at the high school is to encourage involvement. “Students are involved in a myriad of capacities,” […]

Rockford schools rally around Relay—Part I

May 17, 2012 // 0 Comments

by CINDY M. CRANMER This article is a summary of what each school in Rockford Public Schools has come up with to contribute to the Rockford Relay for Life. Encouraging each school to organize their own fundraiser has been a goal of Relay organizers from year one. This Friday through Saturday, May 18-19, from 3 p.m. to 3 p.m. is the town’s 10th Relay for Life event. Rockford plans to celebrate a decade of having a Relay for Life event to raise money to fight cancer this weekend, and a key segment involved is the Rockford school district. According to Shannon Ouellette—who served as committee chair for the first nine years and currently is on the committee as well as the City of Rockford and Rockford Public Schools (RPS) liaison—the school district raises between $60,000 and $80,000 of the total raised yearly. The goal of the Relay for Life this year is to again raise between $340,000 and $360,000. “Our financial goal in these economic times is to stay consistent with monies raised the past few years,” Ouellette said. “Most relays will peak at year five or so and then show a decline. We have been able to maintain consistently in the mid threes, so we are happy with that.” “In the past nine years we have raised nearly 2.9 million so we will top the three million mark this year,” she added. Ouellette was on the committee for a few years for the Ada Park Relay for Life before helping to start the Relay for Life in Rockford in 2002. “Participation from schools range from administration, bus garage, sports teams, clubs and every year almost every school is represented with a team from elementary through high school,” Ouellette said. “Our school teams are key to our success for sure.” Besides being involved while in school, many Rockford graduates then go on to participate at Relay for Life events on their college campuses. Bringing in new members to the Relay for Life is important to the future, Ouellette said. “The youth have been such a strong and positive aspect of our event. They volunteer at the event, such as help with parking and entertainment, as well as be a part of teams.” Ouellette said RPS […]

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