The Rockford Lions continue their efforts to restore Pioneer Cemetery (in front of North Rockford Middle School by Ten Mile Road). According to accounts they have heard, the cemetery has been in poor repair for as long as the lifetimes of many of our long-term residents. It is hoped that someone may have an old photo or account of what the cemetery might have looked like when it was properly maintained. Email email@example.com or call at 616 866-9615 if you have any information. Heeding the good advice of the Rockford Garden Club’s Master Gardener Nancy Hoovler, the logging now ends and the Lions turn to converting the Garden Club’s master plan into a reality. Trees will be labeled to add to the property’s use as a nature study are for the use of area schools. Additional plantings are planned to accent the inherent beauty of the the slopes and valley. Finally, a formal, informative entry way will be opened off the west parking lot. Information and photographs of the Pioneer Cemetery would be of great help in brining this urban beauty spot back to its original status. Answers to today’s questions lie in yesterday’s family album. Please open yours and contact the Lions by calling Stan or calling (616) 866-4103.
by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL Answering an often-asked community request for an outdoors winter ice-skating rink, the Rockford Lions have again stepped to the plate. Squire readers will recall that in past years the City of Rockford flooded an area behind the Community Cabin, providing a place for children of all ages to ice-skate during the winter months. That practice was abandoned several years ago, because it became prohibitively expensive to maintain and, oftentimes yearly, replace the rink’s liner. The liner that was placed on the ground and banked by snow was necessary to prevent water absorption into the ground while flooding. Old timers in the community fondly remember days of yore when the frozen Rum Creek Mill Pond served as the neighborhood skating rink. Every winter it became a popular recreational gathering spot for hundreds of Rockford families. In ensuing years, the banks of the pond became inaccessible, being ringed by overgrown underbrush and fallen and dead trees. Also, in certain years of drought, the pond did not contain enough water to support a decent skating surface. Eventually the pond was abandoned as a skating rink and relegated to the history of the “good ol’ days.” Enter the Rockford Lions, who embrace the club’s common dedication to unselfish service without regard to recognition. Rockford Lion Bob Winegar well remembers the good times that were had on the Mill Pond skating pond and posed the question to the club, “Why can’t we recreate the skating rink on a bigger and grander scale than ever before?” Indeed, they have done just that. In the fall of 2009, Winegar and his good friend Bernie Armstrong, in particular, along with other Lions, spent countless hours clearing the banks and removing the fallen trees, resulting in a skating surface of approximately one acre. It was available for limited use after Christmas of last year and is somewhat the best-kept secret in town. This winter season, it gets even better. The City of Rockford Public Service Department has provided the use of a gasoline-powered pump to draw water from the adjacent Rum Creek to resurface the pond as needed, resulting in a skating surface, as Winegar says, “As smooth as a baby’s behind.” When your reporters […]
by BETH ALTENA Santa, police and plenty of smiles marked the seventh annual Shop with a Hero event at the Rockford Meijer Sunday, Dec. 12. All on volunteer time, Rockford police, usually with the help of a spouse or family member, enjoyed helping children choose items from a list of necessities and at least one treasured toy of their choice. Each Christmas season the officers, assisted by a spouse, friend or family member, help children from Rockford schools choose items such as boots, hats, snowpants, pajamas and more, working off a list of needed items provided by parents or guardians. The Rockford Lions Club, one of the service organizations that donate to Shop with a Hero, also turns out on the day of the event to assist. According to Lynda Nance, who joined the Rockford Lions in October, the event is just one of many causes the group supports. “My dad was a Lion for over 30 years. When Polly VonEschen invited me to join, I decided it was time,” she said. “All we do is raise money and do good things. It’s a great group and so much fun.” This year’s Shop with a Hero was the first for Officer Mike Thomas. “It’s fun to shop with other people’s money,” he said. “It’s fun getting things that people need.” Fifth-grader Zachary Smith said he felt lucky because his Shop with a Hero was Dave Jehnzen, who is Rockford’s D.A.R.E. officer. Smith said he believes the lessons he learned in D.A.R.E. will stay with him all his life. One of the techniques the program taught him is to “give the cold shoulder” when pressured in a bad situation. “You just turn and walk away. You don’t have to say a thing.” Meijer Store Director Phil Morrow said many Meijer stores hold similar events with police, ambulance and fire department personnel. The company annually donates tens of thousands of dollars for the program. “It’s the right thing to do,” Morrow said. “This is touching the community, giving back and helping these families out. These people probably shop here every day.” Morrow also pointed out that the kids invariably pick out items for someone else, a sibling or friend. “They aren’t just buying things for themselves, they […]
Working together, the Rockford Lions and Rockford Rotary clubs teamed up for their second annual free health screening on Saturday, March 27 to serve the clients of the North Kent Service Center. The Rockford Reformed Church once again provided the venue for this screening of hearing, vision, blood pressure, podiatry, dental and pharmaceutical. Volunteering their services beside club members were Dr. Michael Kelley, podiatrist, and Dr. David Fischer and Dr. Brian Wilson, dentists. Blood pressure screening was in the hands of RN Jill Erickson. The Rockford Lions Sightmobile housed the vision and hearing screening conducted under the direction of Dr. Chad Jackson, optometrist, and Dr. Karen Jacobs, audiologist. Available for use throughout Western Michigan, the Sightmobile is maintained by the Rockford Lions for the use of fellow clubs and area communities. Both the Rockford Lions and Rockford Rotary clubs exist to serve their communities and the needs of others. It is only through the generosity of neighbors supporting the clubs’ fundraisers that they are able to provide services such as this health screening—and they thank you.