When I was young, I would ask mom for permission for, oh let’s say I wanted some ice cream. She had two standard replies… “I suppose” and “I don’t care”. So I would scoop up a meager heaping helping of about a half-gallon and top it with whatever was in the fridge, usually strawberry jam and/ or chocolate syrup. “Whoa there buckaroo” (she never called me buckaroo, but it sounds good here!) “how come so much?” “This is how much I wanted” I replied, “besides, you said you didn’t care”. Well, mom DID care, even though she said she didn’t. Grown-ups get very confusing to a 10-year-old boy. 50 years later I still don’t have them figured out; but now I don’t understand my 10-year-old grandson either. People (generally) don’t say what they mean, or do what they say! All my life people have said that they don’t care about this or that, but it ends up, they really DO care. On the flip side, some say they will take care of some problem or other, but never lift a finger to do anything about it.
I’m really not very mystified about this trait of human behavior, we are ALL human and this is how we behave. I try to associate with those that DO care. For some strange reason I still get a feeling of great satisfaction when I finish a project, whether it be fixing a dripping faucet or replacing a diesel turbocharger. I have been a fixer all my life. Sometimes it just takes me a while to warm up to a project, study it from all angles, calculate the possible outcomes, and probable success rate. Other times I just jump into the project and figure out the problems as I go along. Typically, you will find me using the strategy of the latter. It usually gets done quicker that way if done at all.
A long term project I embarked on in 2002, was serving on the board of directors for the Rudyard Area Community Foundation, of which now I am vice president. What? You didn’t know that Rudyard has a Community Foundation? Shame on us! I guess we keep kind of a low profile. Let me bring you up to speed. The short version of RACF’s mission statement goes; “to provide scholarships for our graduating seniors and to enhance the school curriculum and educational programs by attracting private funds.” Now let me be clear that the RACF is not affiliated with nor is it governed by the Rudyard Area School board. The RACF board distributes and reviews all scholarship applications and grant requests, which have strict guidelines and monetary caps. The board decides where the money goes. We are managing funds from several individuals, families and organizations and have developed endowed accounts where the principal is invested and only the interest is used for scholarships. These accounts are perpetual and in theory will outlast you and I. Sometimes the investment vehicles do not perform as expected and the available funds for scholarships is less than expected. We are still able to award scholarships, but just not as many or maybe for a lower monetary amount. The board has held fundraisers to help offset these shortfalls, such as the annual golf scramble and the “Yoopers Have Talent” show in February.
We are now seeking “50 People Who Care”. Golf scrambles, talent shows and bake sales only go so far in a perpetual project like this. Credit goes to Tom Spencer for presenting this idea to our board. We are looking for 50 People Who Care. If you are one of the people who think that Rudyard is a pretty special place to grow up in, if you think that our young people are the future of our community and our nation, and if you think that you can afford $20.00 a month to help perpetuate these ideas, then you are probably one of the People Who Care. We thought long and hard about this project and came up with this; you can give more, but in 6 months it may be a hardship. Twenty dollars a month should be affordable for most established households. $20.00 a month is easier to part with than $240.00 a year, but yet, it is the same amount! If you are like me, I can think of ways I squander (well maybe not squander, let me use the phrase “spend frivolously”) money every week; lunch for two at the café, dinner for one, a bottle of wine, gas for a day trip to Tahquamenon Falls… You get my point. Most people will not miss $20.00 from their monthly budget, but yet, will make a HUGE impact to the RACF goals. If we can get 50 people to come together and help fund this project we can help our young adults get a foothold in the world of higher education.
I think Rudyard is a pretty special place to grow up. If you grew up here in the 60’s, you might remember catching suckers in the Pine River, playing on tractors at McDowell Equipment, sliding down the old fire escape at the old brick school building, hanging a rope swing under the train bridge, scavenging through the sawdust pile at the ‘Toy Factory”, spending your $.25 allowance (yes, twenty-five cents) on a bottle of pop AND a candy bar. Many of you remember drinking a Coke while sitting on the pop cooler at Malaski’s gas station. Sadly, I gave that old cooler away years ago, and it has moved to points unknown since then. My point is that we often made our own entertainment, and we knew how to do it. In Rudyard we are not distracted by big city entertainment; theaters, arcades and malls, and we don’t have the gangs, thugs and crime or pollution that goes along with it. I think that Rudyard is still pretty special, but is facing some modern challenges. I am positive that I can help find 50 People Who Care, who want to help the youth of our community, the future of our community. I am pretty sure that Rudyard will never be the sprawling metropolis of Detroit, but I don’t think anyone who lives here wants that. I think that Rudyard is successful in what it does best; support a thriving community of caring people who value this quality of life. If you want to be one of the 50 People Who Care, give me a call. I’ll get you set up.
If you have stopped in at Tri-County Motors in the last few months, you may have been greeted by a new smile from behind the counter. Jacques DeMolen has joined our team as Service Advisor. He is the man who will listen to your automotive concerns, make appointments, write estimates, and convey the messages to the technical crew. Jacques is a quick learner and a leader at the same time. I never could figure out how to use NAPA’s on line scheduler, (it’s been available since 2001) so I just used a large desk blotter. For 38 years I have kept track of schedules, appointments, and phone numbers on that big old blotter. Now it’s gone. Jacques is forcing this old dog to ‘go-to’ the computer to see the schedule. I guess it’s better, but the service counter just looks naked without it!
Jacques grew up in the Soo, but now lives in Brimley with his wife and twin 3-year-old sons. Like most Yoopers he enjoys anything that gets him outside and in the woods or on the water; snowmobiles, 4 wheelers, hunting and fishing. Jacques last worked for Schwans Home Delivery as manager of the Rudyard depot. His work schedule started at 3:00AM in the deep freezer (-28*F) sorting product and loading the delivery trucks for the drivers’ daily route. He says he really enjoys sleeping in until 5:30 or 6:00 for his new job. Jacques really enjoys talking to people and taking care of their needs. If you are in the area, stop by and introduce yourself, and remember the ‘s’ in Jacques is silent.