Flag sponsorship underway by BETH ALTENA “We all have a 9/11 story,” said Sue Bodenner, one of the organizers of the West Michigan Healing Fields, which will remember and honor those lost 10 years ago in the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks. Bodenner, along with chiefs of local fire departments, members of the Kent County Sheriff’s Department, Rockford Police and local Boy Scouts, unveiled plans for West Michigan Healing Fields tribute and memorial. Bodenner heard of the Colonial Flag Foundation’s Healing Fields projects and brought the idea to members of the Rockford Area Community Endowment (RACE), who took on the project as a good fit for the organization and for West Michigan. On Wednesday, May 11, before television cameras and news reporters, the West Michigan Healing Fields plan was officially presented. Cannonsburg Ski Area, 6800 Cannonsburg Road, Belmont, will be the site of 3,200 American Flags representing each one of the people whose lives were lost on September 11. “The memorial we are here to talk about began as a simple way for one person to visualize and comprehend the sheer enormity of human loss that occurred in the terrorist attacks,” said Art Spaulding, honorary chair for the West Michigan Healing Fields, chairman and CEO of United Bank and former chairman of the American Bankers Association. Spaulding said, to him, the Healing Fields bring to memory the bank’s legal team, who were located in the twin trade towers and who all perished that day. Area resident Jack Vander Baan described the loss of his daughter, Barbara Edwards, who was on the flight which terrorists crashed into the Pentagon. The memorials will be open 24 hours a day and include several planned events, including a Salute to Heroes to honor rescue personnel and first responders, a memorial service held by the American Legion, moments of silence in commemoration of the crashes of the American Airlines and United Airlines flights at 8:46, 9:03, 9:43 and 10 a.m. on September 11 and a “Lessons Learned” expression of tribute by West Michigan students, including poems, essays, visual arts and music composition. Individuals, businesses and groups are invited to participate by sponsoring a flag—which can be dedicated to an individual—for just $75. After the memorial events, the flags can be […]
May 19 2011
Event is this Friday and Saturday; every Relayer has a story by BETH ALTENA Impressive numbers—$2.46 million raised and last year over 400 cancer survivors honored in the survivor’s lap of Rockford Relay for Life—prove the event is incredibly successful, but misses the point of the real impact of Relay. Carol Delp-Korzeja said the event is about cancer survivors and the money raised is for research to fight cancer for more survivors celebrating more birthdays in the future. “It’s not about the money,” Delp-Korzeja said. “Every person has been touched by cancer, has had someone in their family fight cancer, has known someone who was lost to cancer.” Every relayer has their own story to tell and reason to Relay. Rockford’s Relay for Life is an American Cancer Society fundraiser, a 24-hour event, which kicks off at North Rockford Middle School at 3 p.m. Friday, May 19 with the Rockford Fire Department leading the first lap around the track. Events take place all evening and night, with popular favorites such as the Miss Relay event (the man dressed as Miss Relay receiving the most tips wins) with the theme of Miss Birthday Princess, and the silent Luminaria lap with luminarias dedicated in the memory of a loved one, which takes place as dusk falls over campsites and booths. Cancer survivors are the guests at Relay for Life and Delp-Korzeja hopes even more will take the survivor’s lap—one of the most emotional moments of an already inspiring event. A brunch for survivors begins Saturday, May 20 at 10 a.m. followed by the survivor’s lap at noon. “We don’t really have set goals, but if we did, I would like to see more survivors,” said Delp-Korzeja. “If we have 425 survivors, that would be wonderful.” For Delp-Korzeja teammate Karole Murphy of the Desperate Housewives team, Relay is also about survivors. She calls the event “the most gratifying, tiring and emotional 24 hours of the year. In my profession as an oncology nurse, I am witness to hundreds of people every year that have been told ‘You have cancer,’ “ Murphy described. “Many are present in my care during their battle because they need help in the fight. Some victoriously leave cancer behind, but not forgotten. They are […]
Rockford High School graduate Alex Quinn was recognized for his outstanding achievements by receiving a Congressional Medal of Merit Saturday, May 7 by U.S. Representative Justin Amash. Amash presented the Congressional Award and the Congressional Medal of Merit to student recipients during an awards ceremony beginning at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 7, at the Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum. “I am honored to recognize these deserving students for their outstanding achievements. I wish these students the best of luck and success in the future,” said Amash. Quinn received the Congressional Medal of Merit for his outstanding high school achievements. Among Quinn’s achievements are his strong academics. He was valedictorian of his class, first to take an AP class as a freshman and was top in that class and received the top AP score for that test. He received one of the highest GPAs in Rockford’s history, 35 on ACT test, was a Michigan Math Prize state finalist AP scholar with honors, a four-year academic letter and student of the month twice. Quinn had broad participation in activities at school and in the community. He participated in cross country and earned a varsity letter. He was involved in ski, Youth Initiative, National Honor Society, and on Student Council as vice president in his junior class. He was a Junior State of America nonpartisan political club founder and president and as well as in the regional offices. Quinn served as an intern for state senator Mark Jansen, was in Our Lady of Consolation Church youth group and Peer Ministry. He was a volunteer for Special Olympics as a ski coach, also volunteering as a Special Olympics track and field coach, and was a Cannonsburg Challenged Ski Association coach. He participated in Boys State, and was chosen by Rockford Rotary Club to attend the Life Leadership conference. He attended the JSA Future Leaders conference, was a wind ensemble first chair in the euphonium, a marching band section leader in baritone, and an honor caddy at Blythefield Congregational Church. Quinn was also an Example of Excellence for the Rockford High School.
Despite dire weather predictions, the 18th annual Bear Creek Waterfest was held under absolutely perfect spring conditions. Breakfast, free giveaways, live music by the Hawks and Owls band, and plenty of critters in the creek were on hand for those who stopped by. Free native white pine trees were offered by the Kent County Parks Foundation booth volunteers Pam and Eileen. Kids pulled on waders and splashed in the chilly water of Bear Creek to find the underwater creatures. The ever-popular duck race continued to charm children. Other outdoor activities in the Rockford area are the free kids fishing days at the nearby Izaak Walton League conservation center, located at 5641 Myers Lake Road; all equipment supplied. The event is held every Saturday in May from 9 a.m. to noon.
Chandler Woods Charter Academy students recently had their very own “Art Prize” at the school. Students were encouraged to make and enter a piece of art, which were voted on to determine “winners.” There were so many good choices to pick from, but these ended up being the top three winners: the first-place winner was Joe Stuart for the pencil drawing of the flag raising WWII, second place was Carter Smith with the “Robot Ate His Homework,” and there was a tie for third place with two horse drawings, Emma Jane Andrew with a close-up in magic marker and Violet Kagey with a colored-pencil drawing.