May 26 2011

Rockford Relay for life 2011 ‘profoundly moving’

May 26, 2011 // 0 Comments

The weather was wonderful for Rockford’s ninth annual Relay for Life American Cancer Society event. Beginning at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 20 with a first lap by Rockford fire fighters and the Young Marines Color Guard, the 24-hour event wrapped up another amazing year of fundraising with the goal of curing and preventing cancer. According to organizer Carol Delp-Korzeja, this year’s Relay raised more than $340,000 and had over 300 cancer survivors.   She said that dollar amount is about $2,000 more than at the event close last year and teams were still turning in money after the cut off time at 2:00 p.m. Saturday. The event does not officially close until August 1. The top money raising  teams were Terminatin’ Cancer at $23,701, Desperate Housewives had just $601 less than Terminatin’ Cancer. Desperate Housewives earned twice what they earned last year, so they were awarded a Momentum award. The Wolverine World Wide team was third with a total of $17,099 The top individual money earner was Cathy Winterhalter from Pigeon and Clay with $3,471. Ed Beck of Independent Bank was a close second at $2,500 and the Desperate Housewives team was top for online donations at $10,520. The top student money earner: Carson Banfield with an amazing $1,075 and the top school earner was Easty Rockford Middle School. “Rockford Schools earned over $40 thousand dollars for Rockford Relay this year! We could not be nearly as successful at Relay without the ongoing support from the Rockford Publ;ic Schools.  They donate the building, the track, the premises, the parking lot, the bathrooms and showers, ect.  You name it, RPS offers it,” said Korzeja. “We also couldn’t be nearly as successful without the help from the city of Rockford.  From garbage and handwash stations, to signage and  police/ fire support, we couldn’t do it without the city.” Kozeja also said there were many had positive comments regarding the request for complete silence at 9:30 p.m. for the luminaria lap.  “In the past, we have had ceremonies of instrumental music, reading of poems, compassionate performances from singers and moving words from survivors and caretakers. This year, we decided to try simple silence.  It was profoundly moving. We thank all those who stopped their conversations, turned off their […]

Local family man risked all, lives on as national hero

May 26, 2011 // 0 Comments

Major John C. Sjogren helped win key battle in WWII, awarded Medal of Honor by MATT MARN Memorial Day, a time to commemorate U.S. soldiers who died while in service of their country, began after the Civil War as a day of remembrance and reconciliation. Memorial Day has now evolved into a general day of memory, in which families and loved ones visit the graves of deceased relatives who may or may not have served. This Memorial Day, Julie Sjogren, administrative assistant with the Algoma Planning and Building Department and president of the Algoma Historical Society, will remember a national hometown hero in her husband’s family. John Carleton Sjogren, or “Uncle Carleton” to his family, went to family gatherings with his wife Jean, and Julie remembers her relative’s warmth toward his family. “John and his wife were always on the go,” Julie said. “But when he did come, it was a real treat. He was a very friendly, nice man; such a gentleman. One Christmas party, he took my daughter up on his knee. He took a lapel pin off of his suit coat, and pinned it on her dress. To me, that was a big deal.” But in addition to love for family, she will remember the courage and devotion to country he showed to the entire nation. The following is derived from an article published in the January issue of the Algoma Township Historical Society’s quarterly newsletter, based on “A Grenade and A Prayer,” an article written by Lt. George H. Larson, written with excerpts from a piece by Judy Helsel. Sjogren was born and raised in Algoma to parents Carl and Anna on a farm full of corn, beans and potatoes in 1916. John had an older brother, Elmer, and a younger brother, Norman, and his sisters, Lillian, Edith and Esther. From an early age, he worked in Chicago as a bricklayer and came home on weekends. In 1929—the year he graduated eighth grade and the year the Great Depression began—he once more showed his dedication when he spent eight years working on his family’s farm as well as another family farm nearby to see himself and his family through. In 1938 he went to work for Wolverine Shoe and Tanning Corporation […]

Rockford man runs 35th straight Riverbank Run despite injuries

May 26, 2011 // 0 Comments

by ANA OLVERA For the past 34 years, thousands of runners have participated in the annual Fifth Third River Bank Run, some only once and others continue coming back every year. Dennis Schultz, an affiliate faculty member at the College of Education at Grand Valley State University, has participated in the River Bank Run’s 25k race every year since its start in 1978. Schultz decided to run in the first River Bank Run while working at Forest Hills Northern Middle School after betting the physical education teacher he could finish the race in three hours. He showed up to the run wearing Adidas shoes and expecting to win the bet. Schultz only ran in high school to get in shape for basketball, football and baseball and never participated in track or cross country. “They were just a bunch of boys in underwear, trying to find their pants. That was my mentality,” Schultz said. However, he ended up finishing the race in two hours and 31 minutes, describing his first experience with the run as a “tremendous sense of accomplishment.” “I felt like my body was broken. But the support from other runners and the cooperation made it enjoyable,” Shultz said. He even recalls being asked if he had been in an accident after walking quite gingerly a couple days after the run. Schultz says no real training goes into preparing for the River Bank Run besides running with the North Kent Running Club in Rockford and their track workouts. “They are definitely my support group. They’re very encouraging and they’re probably more proud of the fact that I’ve run the Fifth Third Riverbank Run every year more than I am. There is just phenomenal camaraderie involved,” Schultz said. Another source of support for Schultz is his family, especially his daughters Kelly and Lindsay, who both ran in high school and continue to stay active. Schultz has participated in other marathons throughout the years, but now primarily sticks to the River Bank Run. He also recently postponed a visit to an orthopedic doctor for what may be a torn ligament in his left knee. After being reassured by doctors that running did not contribute to his knee injury, Schultz knew he had to keep his consecutive […]

Westrates celebrate 50 years, thanking the Lord

May 26, 2011 // 0 Comments

Rev. Ken and Ruth (Frens) Westrate will celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary on June 9, 2011. The couple was joined in matrimony on June 9, 1961, at 16th Street Christian Reformed Church in Holland, Mich. The Westrates’ parents are Gare and Alberta Westrate and Ben and Gertrude Frens. The couple’s children are Keith and Val Westrate of Connecticut, Eric and Amy Westrate of Michigan, and Bill and Shela Westrate of Wisconsin. Their grandchildren are Crystal and Gabrielle of Connecticut, Emma and Abby of Michigan, and Ellie and Grace of Wisconsin. The Westrates celebrated with a family vacation to Disney in November 2010, and will be taking a trip to Cap Cod in June 2011. Rev. Ken served five R.C.A. congregations in Sheldon, Iowa, Lennox, S.D., Maurice, Iowa, Wyoming, Mich., and Gary, Ind. He retired in October 2008, and he and Ruth moved to Rockford. Ruth graduated from Blodgett School of Nursing and was employed by Holland, Blodgett, Bronson, Pine Rest, U of M Hospital, and Sioux County Health Department Center in South Dakota. She also was a volunteer counselor at Crisis Pregnancy Center in South Dakota. She has served in churches in various ministries. Rev. Ken is presently involved with Rockford Reformed Church, and he and Ruth are enjoying their beautiful home and town.  

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