Rockford Lions Club member Rock Wood was recently elected to become the district governor for Lions of West Michigan District 11C-1. The district governor is the highest-ranking Lions district position, and provides policy and program oversight and administrative support for clubs in 42 towns and cities throughout West Michigan. Wood is a 12-year member of the Rockford Lions, and is the first district governor in the 50-plus-year history of the Rockford Lions Club. He is a Melvin Jones Fellowship Award recipient, the highest form of recognition for exceptional service to the district. Wood also was recently awarded the Lions International President’s Award for outstanding global service for outstanding humanitarian service coordinating, among other projects, a local tree-planting campaign in which over 12,000 trees were planted at more than 50 locations by 35 Lions clubs, working with youth groups throughout West Michigan. Wood noted that the Lions International is the largest service organization in the world, dedicated to serving the community, with an emphasis on serving the needs of the visually and hearing impaired. In addition, the Rockford Lions Club (established in 1954) is one of the largest and most active Lions clubs in West Michigan, with more than 70 members who raise funds to support more than 15 groups/programs, such as Rockford Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts, D.A.R.E., Leader Dogs for the Blind, Michigan Eye Bank, North Kent Community Services, Shop With a Cop, Sight Seer Radio, and many others. Not only does Wood serve the local community through the Rockford Lions Club, he currently serves as a member of Optimist International (Greenville club), the Courtland Township Planning Commission, and the President Gerald R. Ford Boy Scout Council Board of Directors, which oversees the administration and activities of the Boy Scout troops and Cub Scout packs of West Michigan. Wood has also organized or volunteered for over 200 state-licensed charity events and serves many other charitable and nonprofit organizations. Wood’s professional accomplishments as an attorney for the law firm of Dickinson Wright in Grand Rapids include being listed among the Best Lawyers in America and by Michigan Super Lawyers for multiple years. This past year, he was honored as the 2012 Best Lawyers, Lawyer of the Year: Grand Rapids Litigation-Banking and Finance. When asked what […]
Rockford Lions Club
Executive Director Joy Petroelje of Widowed Persons Service (WPS) was a recent guest speaker for the Rockford Lions Club to get the word out about her organization. WPS was established in the Grand Rapids area in 1978 and is one of a few support organizations for widowed persons in the country. Their service model of peer-to-peer support has resulted in healing and renewed hope for thousands of widowed men and women through what Petroelje said is “one of the most difficult transitions in life.” WPS provides a variety of opportunities and services based on the belief that widowed individuals are best helped along their grief journey by other people who have had similar experiences. The vision of WPS is to provide grieving widowed men and women of all ages with a safe and healthy environment in which to process their grief and begin to build an enriching life as a single person. Petroelje stated, “Widowed persons tend to focus on the grief of other family members and friends and never really deal with their own road to recovery.” Petroelje would like anyone that has been recently widowed, or knows someone who has been, to visit WPS’s website at www.wpsgr.com for more information, or to learn more about their approach to service, and to find their location in Wyoming, Mich.
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Lions Clubs International is the world’s largest community service organization, with 1.3 million members. Today there are more than 45,000 Lions clubs in approximately 200 countries and geographic areas. Regardless of the language Lions speak, religion they practice or politics they support, they all share a common dedication to service. The extremely active and successful Rockford Lions club is the envy of every Lions club in the State of Michigan. Nowhere is the dedication to service more apparent than right here in the Rockford Lions club. Lions get things done and are always ready to help where they see a need. The services they provide oftentimes “fly under the radar.” In other words, they go quietly about their tasks with no greater reward than the self-satisfaction that comes from helping others. Locally, the Rockford Lions have been clearing Rockford’s oldest cemetery—Pioneer Cemetery, along with reclaiming the old Rum Creek Mill Pond skating rink in order to provide a new generation an old-fashioned Rockford wintertime tradition. Most recently, the Rockford Lions have been spearheading efforts to assist the Rockford Historical Society in a fundraising campaign to raise monies to relocate the antiquated and overcrowded Rockford Area Museum (RAM) to the larger and vacant 63rd District Court Building adjacent to Rockford City Hall. However, the Rockford Lions may be best known by acting for many years as Market Masters of the Rockford Farm Market—“America’s Favorite Farm Market.” The Lions volunteered to relieve the City of the responsibility of overseeing the Saturday morning operations of the Farm Market at no cost to the City. So it was with great pleasure that Michigan 73rd District State Representative Peter “Pete” MacGregor showed up at the January Lions Club meeting in order to surprise Lion Bob Winegar and the Rockford Lions with a framed Special Tribute from the Michigan Legislature honoring the Club for their unselfish service to the Rockford Farm Market. The Tribute, in part, reads: “Many people understand that without the Lions valuable service and volunteer hours the Rockford Farmers Market would not be what it is today.” Perhaps there is no State Legislator more interactively involved with his constituents than Pete MacGregor. Sponsoring this Tribute and having it read on the floor of […]
Although the five days of honoring the memory of those killed in the 9/11 terrorist attacks, the West Michigan Healing Field, is over, opportunities to share in remembering the individuals killed remain. Flags that have not yet been purchased each represent one of the people who died that day. “We don’t want these to just go and be in a closet somewhere,” said organizer Sue Bodenner of the flags and the biographies of the people they represent. The Rockford Lions Club purchased some of the flags, one representing Terrance Aiken, who was 30 years old when he was killed September 11, 2001. Each flag purchased includes a certificate recognizing the sponsorship and a biography of the individual it honors, whether they were a civilian working in the towers that day or a rescue personnel, and what family they left behind. The flags can be purchased at Bishop Hills Elder Care Community, Herman’s Boy or United Bank in Rockford.
On Friday evening, Aug. 19, Rockford Garden Club President Kathy Healy and members master gardener Nancy Hoovler, Dave Hoovler and Tom Healy assessed the progress of the Rockford Lions Club renovation of the old Pioneer Cemetery next to North Rockford Middle School on Division. To assure a proper landscaping of this historical site, the Garden Club graciously accepted the Lions’ request for their expertise in converting an eyesore into a treasure. Perfectly, the result would be the cemetery as it was originally. Unfortunately, there are missing records, pictures and memories. Comments of longtime Rockford residents Helen Hessler, Bob Gunnell and Lois Gunnell confirm that even in their childhood it was a neglected place with broken and scattered gravestones. Photos or illustrations of the cemetery in its original condition would be of great help in its restoration. Please dig out your old family albums, find great-grandpa’s gravesite and help us restore this treasure to its original beauty. The Rockford Lions have presently opened up a pleasant wooded hillside and valley. Taking this, the Garden Club is marking trees to keep or cut, identifying invasive species to remove, assuring the present carpet of myrtle is protected and developing a site plan that enhances the cemetery’s natural beauty. In the meantime, cutting continues, and free firewood is stacked in the west parking lot. Bring your own saw and join us between 8:00 and 10:00 a.m. on Saturdays.