Consider Recognition Plaza tribute for holiday giving by BETH ALTENA Indisputably, the shops and service providers in downtown Rockford are among the best local sources when shopping for the perfect holiday gift. Shoppers can arrange that family photo that really needs to be taken while the kids are still young, pick out new carpeting before the family flies in for the holidays, and certainly find the perfect unique present for loved ones. There is another option in shopping available downtown that is sure to impress and also leaves a legacy for the future. Recognition Plaza, west of the Rogue River, is paved with bricks engraved with names—family names, business names, the names of individuals. Each brick represents an investment in the Rockford area. The Rockford Area Community Endowment (RACE) provides financial support for worthy projects in the City of Rockford and the townships of Algoma, Cannon, Courtland and Plainfield and for Rockford Public Schools. One of the organization’s first undertakings was the beautiful Recognition Plaza at the dam, a popular spot for wedding photos and enjoying the beauty of the Rogue River. The public can become part of Rockford’s history with the purchase of a brick for $100 and have a name engraved as a permanent tribute to a person, company or organization. The bricks are installed throughout recognition plaza and the purchase price goes to RACE’s fund for community projects. Those with names on the bricks are in good company. Part of the Recognition Plaza is an annual celebration adding names to the pillars in the park of people who have been nominated and chosen for having a significant positive impact on the member communities. Past inductees include the late WWII hero and philanthropist Clarence Blakeslee as well as Edna Haner, daughter of a civil war veteran and the towns first librarian, and Wendell and Donna Briggs. This year’s ceremony took place in April and included historian Homer Burch and community leader Paul Robe. And as you look toward celebrating the holiday season, consider helping RACE provide grants and gifts for charitable programs and organizations to encourage scientific, literary, recreational, educational and safety projects that add to the positive experience of living in the communities that RACE serves. Lifetime membership in RACE is also available […]
Glenn Rounds was born July 8, 1891. He lived his entire life on the family farm at 9225 Courtland Drive in Rockford. His grandfather built the farm house, and Wolverine Worldwide corporate offices occupy this site today. Rounds attended Rounds School, the little red restored school house located in front of the North Rockford Middle School on Division. His sister Stella taught in this building. Rounds continued his education in the Rockford school system. On June 26, 1918, he married Kate Elsie Salman. To this union was born a son, Glenn William, who was killed in an automobile accident in 1957. Rounds was an active member of the Rockford Rotary Club. Upon his passing in 1962, Rounds left his estate of $75,000 to the Rockford schools to fund a scholarship program for qualified students with financial need. Since the inception of this scholarship program, approximately $843,000 has been awarded to Rockford graduates. As a result of Rounds’ vision and generosity, since 1965, an average of 28 Rockford graduates per year have received Glenn Rounds scholarships. In fact, on the front page of the April 8, 2010, issue of The Rockford Squire, there is an article about Burt DeWilde, Rockford’s 2003 salutatorian, who is working in Switzerland on the Atlas detector, a machine that atomizes protons. DeWilde was a recipient of the Glenn Rounds scholarship, attending Kalamazoo College. Glenn Rounds has made a difference in the lives of young people from Rockford for 45 years, and he is very deserving to be commemorated by the Rockford community.
This spring, The Rockford Squire reported that five historic people in the Rockford area were honored at Recognition Plaza at Peppler Park. The event is a newer tradition in its second year and organized by the Rockford Area Community Endowment (RACE). Each year, RACE will honor people from the City of Rockford and the townships of Algoma, Cannon, Courtland and Plainfield. The Endowment was initially formed in the 1960s to finance a school pool and the Towers downtown. It fell dormant after those goals were accomplished and was revived just a few years ago. Among activities of the Endowment is honoring community heroes and leaders. Its purpose is to provide funding for projects in the greater Rockford area. This year the Endowment gave a $1,000 grant for National Night Out, $1,000 to the City of Rockford Police Department for a purchase, and each community in the Endowment received $1,000 for landscaping projects. The Endowment is funded by brick sales at Peppler Park, where the public is invited to purchase a brick either in their own name or business or in honor of a person. The Rockford Squire has a brick there and editor Beth Altena purchased one for Publisher Roger Allen for his 80th birthday last year. It is a wonderful, lasting gift and is appropriate for the person who “has everything.” As of this spring, 269 bricks had been sold. Bricks are just $125 each. To purchase bricks, call the City of Rockford at (616) 866-4465. Also contributing to the Endowment’s assets of $87,5000 (up from $65,000 a year ago) was a December 2008 gift from the Don Berg estate in the amount of $10,000. In addition to the gift of grants, recognizing the people who have contributed significantly to the history of the area is among the Endowment’s goals. When visiting the beautiful Peppler Park Recognition Plaza (on the west side of the dam), take the time to read the names on the bricks under your feet and in plaques on the columns in the park. The following are some of the stories of this year’s honorees, with others to follow in future issues of the Squire. Gerald Leon Kitson Gerald Leon Kitson was the son of Leon and Jenny Kitson, […]
They are the names you have seen and heard around Rockford as long as you’ve lived here: Kitson, Myers, Krause, Briggs, Blakeslee. On Tuesday, May 12, the people behind the names were recognized for their role in the history of this community. The Rockford Area Community Endowment had a public ceremony adding the names to the display at Peppler Park at the dam. Gerald Leon Kitson, William H. Myers Sr., Otto Krause, Wendall and Donna Briggs and Clarence Blakeslee were those chosen by member communities of the endowment. Honorees from the City of Rockford and the townships of Algoma, Cannon, Courtland and Plainfield were chosen for the lasting, historic difference they have made in the community, as well as for their character. The Endowment was initially formed in the 1960s to finance a school pool and the Towers downtown. It fell dormant after those goals were accomplished and was revived just a few years ago. Among activities of the endowment is honoring community heros and leaders. Read future issues of the Squire to find out more about each of the honorees.