Volunteers are needed for the West Michigan Healing Field memorial, part of a national community program that will bring 3,200 American flags to Cannonsburg Ski Area for a September 11 tribute this year. West Michigan Healing Field hopes to have a few hundred volunteers in order to successfully support the event. “We will commemorate the 10th anniversary of the September 11, 2011 attack on our country and those who lost their lives that day with the West Michigan Healing Field,” said Steve Gerencer, volunteer chair of West Michigan Healing Field. “These 3,200 American flags will be an incredible visual memorial, making sure we never forget those victims or the support of our local safety personnel and military that put our safety ahead of their own every day.” Beginning September 9 and ending September 13, 2011, the flags will be displayed on a three-acre site at Cannonsburg Ski Area. Special programs are planned for each day, with dignitaries paying tribute and reading the names of those who lost their lives on 9/11, including the 21 victims from Michigan. West Michigan will be one of only a few cities in the country with a display of this magnitude. Volunteers are needed for a variety of activities, including the setup of the flags on September 9, flag takedown on September 13, as well as information booth volunteers and other positions throughout the five-day event. “This event is an opportunity for you and your family to become involved together and honor the victims of September 11,” said Gerencer, a 26-year Air Force veteran and Post Finance Officer for the Rockford American Legion. “These days, everyone has numerous commitments, and spare time is hard to come by. However, if you’re looking for a noble and appropriate way to memorialize the events of September 11, there are many opportunities available with West Michigan Healing Field and we appreciate any amount of time you can give.” The Rockford American Legion is hosting a Volunteer Rush on Tuesday, July 19, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 6 to 8 p.m., for anyone interested in volunteering. Volunteers are encouraged to contact Steve Gerencer at (616) 293-9194 or e-mail him at email@example.com for more information. The Rockford American Legion is located at 330 Rockford […]
July 7 2011
First responders drill for worst-case scenario by BETH ALTENA No one ever hopes to use the skills they develop under federal guidelines by the Local Emergency Planning Committee (LEPC), but if the worst happens, they will be ready. Area first responders—police, fire, paramedics and more—fight explosions, toxic disasters, potentially fatal injuries and other potential catastrophes to be ready for anything. Sue Barthels arranges the volunteers and rescue personnel who have been rotating through potentially dangerous industry locations for years. She said it is a chance to practice skills and review protocols in potentially hazardous materials situations. “It is the equivalent of running a drill,” she described. This year’s spring practice was held at Reisters Grower Services in Sparta. Emergency responders included Rockford Ambulance. Barthels said the practices are required by federal mandate and are taken very seriously. She said every site in Kent County that houses potentially hazardous materials has been evaluated and has an emergency plan in place should a disaster occur. Reisters provides farm chemicals and so qualifies as a potential hazardous material site. LEPC conducts the drills once a year and has been since 1989. This spring’s took place in May and included 110 people including 10 volunteer “victims.” The victims are coached prior to the incident, and include make-up and “injuries” consistent with the disaster scenario. Barthels said the training has come in use in the county for several hazardous materials incidents, including issues with refrigeration ammonia that resulted in no injuries. In Kent County there are 243 locations that have extremely hazardous materials, and LEPC has a plan for every one. The Hazardous Materials Response Team operates out of Grand Rapids, but different groups participate in the scene to hone protocol. Depending on location, local agencies participate as they would should a real incident occur. Incident training has taken place at Ten Mile Road and Alpine Avenue, and the Sparta Airport. Volunteer emergency personnel, such as members of the Civil Emergency Response Team (CERTS), the Radio Amateur Civil Emergency Services (RACES) and others have also participated, as they would in a real emergency. “What is important here is a rural fire department got a chance to practice,” said Tom Boyle, assistant director of engineering for Kent County, who was present […]
Power of Education Foundation promotes literacy Jen Masternak took her local paper along on a trip to Haiti with another resident, Trillium Hibbeln. Trillium is the co-founder and president of a non-profit organization called The Power of Education Foundation (PEF). PEF is dedicated to improving literacy rates in vulnerable parts of the world and has opened its first school with 90 students in Port-au-Prince, Haiti last October. “We traveled to the school to bring supplies, provide some teacher training, do arts projects with students,” said Masternak. “For most students it was their first time painting.” Pictured are some of the students with the Rockford Squire newspaper. “The students loved looking through the paper and passed it through each of the classrooms.” Masternak said there are many Rockford residents who have been very supportive of the program.
Kathleen E. Bell, MSN, RN, OCN, of Belmont is the recipient of the Oncology Nursing Society (ONS) Excellence in Radiation Therapy Nursing Award. Bell is an RN nursing manager at Holland Home-Faith Hospice in Grand Rapids. This award recognizes her as an expert oncology nurse in the field of radiation oncology, who made significant contributions to the field through outstanding patient care. “The Radiation Therapy Nurse Excellence Award acknowledges that my peers have witnessed my passion for the care of the radiation oncology patient,” said Bell. “It also recognizes my work toward the education and the role development of the radiation oncology nurse.” Bell received her bachelor of science in nursing degree from Grand Valley State College in Allendale, Mich., and her master of science in nursing degree from Grand Valley State University in Allendale. She is programming chair of the Greater Grand Rapids Chapter of ONS and a member of Sigma Theta Tau International Honor Society of Nursing. ONS is a professional organization of more than 35,000 registered nurses and other healthcare professionals committed to excellence in oncology nursing and to leading the transformation of cancer care by initiating and actively supporting educational, legislative and public awareness efforts to improve the care of people with cancer. ONS provides nurses and healthcare professionals with access to the highest quality educational programs, cancer care resources, research opportunities, and networks for peer support. Learn more at www.ons.org.
The Cadillac Area Community Foundation is pleased to announce that Ian Neerken of Rockford is among the 2011 recipients of the James Frisbie Civil Engineering Scholarship. He will receive $1,000 to assist with his studies. Neerken is a third-year engineering student at Michigan State University. He is also majoring in civil engineering. He has been the ASCE Student Engineering Council (SEC) student chapter representative since September 2008. The James Frisbie Civil Engineering Scholarship Fund was established in January 2010 by the US-131 Area Development Association in honor of James Frisbie. The scholarships are awarded on an annual basis to students studying in the field of civil engineering. To be eligible for this scholarship award, a student must be a currently enrolled full-time sophomore, junior or senior civil engineering student in an accredited civil engineering program; have a GPA of at least 3.0; must have graduated from a Michigan high school located in a county along the US-131 corridor (St. Joseph, Kalamazoo, Allegan, Kent, Montcalm, Mecosta, Osceola, Wexford, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Antrim, Charlevoix, or Emmet); and be a member of an ABET-accredited civil and/or environmental engineering program and be in good standing at the time of application and award. The scholarship may be awarded only to a student who will employ it to continue his/her formal undergraduate education at a recognized ABET-accredited educational institution. For specific information about this scholarship program, visit www.cadillacfoundation.org.