Hall Of Fame: 2006 Inductees

    • Larry Dorgelo has been a tremendous asset to Holland Township.  His professionalism, work ethic, and responsible attitude have made Larry more than just a “pretty face.”  Larry is a mainstay for Holland Township Recreation.  He is as recognized by community members on and off the field or court as anyone on our staff.  Whether its softball, basketball, or volleyball, we get the same question every year from many team mangers…”Is Larry coming back?”  And most of the time it’s meant in a positive manner!  Larry originally played a lot of softball in his day but as he got older, he started to play less and took up umpiring to remain involved and to get his softball “fix”. He started working for the City of Holland and then moved over to Holland Township because it was more convenient since he lived on the north side of town. He has been umpiring softball for over 30 years.  He enjoys umpiring more than he lets on but if you ask him he’ll tell you that his umpiring pays for his habits such as collecting die-cast trucks, glassware, antiques, and NASCAR stuff.  Larry has officiated for Women’s Volleyball and kept score for Men’s Basketball for over 20 years.   Larry has said that his favorite things about officiating and scorekeeping are the physical activity, the people involved, and the opportunity for him to be the boss!  When asked about being honored as a Hall of fame inductee he said he is very surprised and finds himself wondering why him.  He said that he just does the job and has never thought that he has exceeded others in doing that.  So why are we honoring him?  First of all, when you hire Larry, you get the “Dorgelo” package, as well.  His sons, Jim & Joe, have worked for us as scorekeepers in both softball and basketball for over 15 years.  The apple does not fall far from the tree since these two guys are just as reliable and committed to working with us as their father.  Secondly…Larry is a very good official and umpire, but we never knew how much he was appreciated until he had a heart attack several years ago.  It occurred several years back before our fall/winter season was about to start.  The number of calls we received was mind boggling.  So many softball and volleyball players had heard what had happened and wanted an update.  Sometimes we as fans and players get a little carried away with our opinions on officials and we forget they are people, too.  The response we received from concerned individuals for Larry was a great reminder of how appreciated Larry was and is for his efforts on the recreation stage.  Finally…watching Larry umpire is witnessing how an umpire is supposed to act during a game.  He looks the part…has complete control of the game…and teams have fun knowing their umpire was giving them his best.  His professionalism is very evident, yet players know him and call him by his first name with respect.  However, it’s that rare combination of conduct and courtesy that can make an individual a great umpire or official.  Larry is still a great example of that combination.  That is why Larry Dorgelo is a worthy recipient of the Individual Award of Excellence for the 2006 Holland Township Parks & Recreation Hall of Fame. 

    • For those that are involved as players in a recreational activity such as softball, basketball, or volleyball it’s common knowledge that fees need to be paid to play in any local league.  It’s safe to say that for those who have played in one of our local leagues, you may have run into a team that was sponsored by Mervenne Bevearge.  Certainly when a business sponsors a team or teams, marketing and advertising are big reasons why.  But in the case of Mervenne Beverage it’s more than just that.  Mervenne Beverage has been a part of the business community for over 50 years.  To Mervenne Beverage, sponsoring teams puts money back into the community and gives people the opportunity to enjoy some of the great recreational options this area has to offer.  When asked about the importance of parks and recreation the answer given was about how parks & recreation offers people the chance to enjoy a little camaraderie.  That is certainly a very true and valid statement.  In fact, several years ago Holland Township had a Women’s softball team that had been sponsored by their local church.  This team had been playing together for a long time.  We were surprised that their church was not going to sponsor them.  They went ahead and registered and we’d figure out what to do later about sponsorships.  They were given a short list of potential sponsors and told to just go out and ask these businesses about sponsoring them.  The first game of the season was then upon us.  Their manager had a big smile on her face.  When asked if she had found a sponsor, she proudly said “yes” and pulled one of their new shirts out of a bag.  The shirt was neon pink and it was brighter than the sun, but in big blue letters across the front were the words “Bud Light”.  To this day we have never seen a team more proud of their sponsor, but so very thankful, as well.  Mervenne Beverage has been sponsoring teams for over 30 years.  For several years Mervenne Beverage was sponsoring as many as 30 teams in team sports such as volleyball, basketball, football, pool, softball, and bowling in a single year.  Mervenne Beverage is also involved with events involving the MDA, Hospice, and local Latino festivities.  For Holland Township, we are most appreciative of Mervenne Beverage for their sponsorship of the Lake Macatawa Triathlon.  From making start & finish banners to donating significant dollars, Mervenne Beverage has been the major sponsor for the last several years.  Each time we go and ask for financial assistance from them we are constantly amazed at how little recognition they want in return.  With all that they do for us it would be justified to recognize them in a big way, but they don’t ask for it nor do they want it.  For Mervenne Beverage, it’s more than just advertising and marketing, it’s also about giving back to a community that has been supportive to them as well.  That is why Mervenne Beverage is such a worthy inductee.  For their financial support and commitment to this community, we recognize Mervenne Beverage as our 2006 Business Leadership Award inductee for the Holland Township Parks & Recreation Hall of Fame.

    • The relationship between Holland Township and West Ottawa is based on respect, appreciation, and a sense of commitment and purpose to the residents of this community.  To see a partnership like this between a local unit of government and the local school district is not the norm.  In some cases, it’s the exact opposite.  Over the years West Ottawa has built numerous facilities that have enhanced the overall educational opportunity for its students.  This includes some of the finest athletic facilities around, as well.  For over 30 years West Ottawa has helped facilitate Holland Township programs while Holland Township has worked towards improving several West Ottawa programs with the aid of Holland Township’s resources.  From scoreboards and bases to volleyball systems and basketball equipment, it was and is second nature for these two entities to help one another.  Today, that spirit of cooperation has not changed.  It’s not just about the facility use.  Did you know how many groups we work with for our programming needs?  For example, did you know that the West Ottawa Competitive Cheer team coordinates our Rocket Cheer program?  Did you know that the Water Polo teams help with our Lake Macatawa Triathlon?  Did you know that members of the Varsity football team help officiate our Rocket Football games?  Did you know that the varsity softball team has done a fielding and hitting camp for the last several years during the winter months?  We have had nothing but success when dealing with West Ottawa coaches and student-athletes.  As I stated earlier, West Ottawa’s facilities are some of the best in the state.  Thanks to their willingness, Holland Township has helped facilitate state championship caliber tournaments for several years utilizing West Ottawa facilities.  Events such as the MASA Junior Olympic Girls State Fast Pitch Championships, the Skirts in The Dirt Girls Fast Pitch tournament, the MRPA Adult Men’s & Women’s Basketball championships,  and the Blaze Sports Wheelchair Basketball tournament.  In each of these cases, players, coaches, parents, and fans all confessed to a common thought…West Ottawa has some of the best facilities around and they should be applauded and appreciated for allowing them to be used.  Throw in other events such as Hershey Track & Field and the Relay for Life and one should get the impression that West Ottawa is truly the heart of this community.  More importantly, West Ottawa is a great friend and community partner to Holland Township.  Holland Township would like to thank West Ottawa Public Schools for their help, guidance, and commitment to the development of recreational opportunities for this community.  Holland Township is proud to honor a true friend to Parks & Recreation with the 2006 Community Partnership Award. 

    • In 1974 Donny asked Wally Hasty if he could umpire and started when Holland Township was playing at West Ottawa fields.  He has been umpiring for over 30 years.  Over time, his involvement just morphed into the other sports, events, and activities as well.  In reality, Donny could actually be the leading authority on the history of Holland Township Parks & Recreation.  Very few have his unique insight and hands-on knowledge of how the department began and how it’s grown, today.  Donny was also involved in many of the “behind the scenes” aspects of the department as well.  For example it was he and Wally Hasty who would go out after basketball at midnight or 1 am and using a hose from the fire department, create an ice skating rink for the kids to use at Glerum School.  He said it was very rewarding to see the kids having fun out there the next day and that even if better weather was predicted and they knew the rink wouldn’t last they would go out and make another one.  Or when he, Wally, and others from the Holland Township office would literally build and take care of things for the department’s use such constructing storage sheds, mowing soccer fields with their own mowers, and utilizing participants from various programs to put the sprinkler heads in by hand.  When asked what he thinks about our parks today Donny says he thinks that it is great how the community rallies around the parks and how high caliber the facilities are.  Thinking back to what they started with really makes him appreciate what we have now.  Coming from someone like Donny, that is high praise.  But after all these years why does Donny continue to stay involved?  Donny stays involved because he enjoys working with people.  He also said he wants his daughters to have the same experience of meeting new and interesting people and wants his girls to be an asset not a liability to the community.  He thinks that that the recreation department has good role models for kids.  Also, now that his wife is involved, working recreation events are now family events as well.  Many people were influential in this area of his life including individuals such as Ade Van Houten, Nick Weeber, Steve Myers, Bob Kamps, and Mike Kolean.  But it was his friendship with Wally Hasty that was special and beneficial to this community.  To this day Donny’s involvement remains as strong as ever, except it really has improved with the addition of his family as well.  Donny is not one to seek the spotlight, yet when you talk about Holland Township Parks & Recreation you have to mention Don Klomparens because he was there at the beginning and remains involved to this day.  He truly is an icon in this community.  Though Wally is no longer with us I would like to think that if an award is going to be named after him, Donny Klomparens deserves it.  The 2006 Wally Hasty Award inductee into the Holland Township Parks & Recreation Hall of Fame is Mr. Don Klomparens.

    • Bill Driesenga started in 1977 and the only park facilities Holland Township had were Quincy Park, Brookwood Park, and Beechwood Park which totaled 140 acres of park land.  In his tenure Bill has turned that number into well over 300+ acres of park land within Holland Township’s borders.  In fact, the park areas Bill helped develop not only were multi-use facilities that our residents would enjoy, but they have become destinations for families and individuals alike for various recreational activities.  One example would be Howard B. Dunton Park.  What was primarily a wooded area, Bill saw as an opportunity for development along Lake Macatawa that the community could take advantage of.  After township funds were secured, grants awarded, and a talk with Ms. Marian Essenburg to donate part of the land needed to make his vision happen, Dunton Park became a reality.  From the boat launch area, the green space, the wetlands, boardwalks, and one of the most beautiful gazebos around, this park is one of the most beautiful, useful, and natural park areas West Michigan has to offer.  It’s even the site for one of his more crazy ideas…the Lake Macatawa Triathlon.  Another example would be Helder Park.  That, too, started with a conversation with Henry Helder about donating land for a community park.  Henry had a vision for it, but Bill made it happen and then some.  Softball, basketball, soccer, tennis, and beach volleyball are just some of the options this park caters to.  But it’s not just about having options.  In Bill’s opinion, they need to be well-built and maintained options as well so all people can enjoy them.  But the latest and best examples of his vision involve baseball.  When our colleagues in Zeeland along with a local businessman approached Bill about building a Little League complex at Helder Park for their use, Bill made it happen.  But even before that, Bill also recognized our need for a facility and thanks to his efforts Holland Township received a federal grant (one of only five awarded in the entire country) to build another Little League complex for our use.  The point to all this…thanks to Bill Driesenga we went from having no baseball fields to seven including the Jim Kaat facility at Helder Park and the Quincy Park Little League complex.  His ability to turn his visions into reality is a true gift, and we as residents of Holland Township and the surrounding areas benefit from that.  Bill is also a huge supporter of the recreation side as well.  We know for a fact that many of our parks & recreation colleagues around this state would give just about anything to have the kind of positive and constructive feedback we get from him.  With all that Bill has done, his devotion to his family is his most impressive asset.  As tough and influential as this man is, it’s humbling to watch him talk about or be around his family.  Bill will tell you that he does not like the limelight.  It’s his job to take care of Holland Charter Township, and he enjoys it.  It’s time we say thank you for a job very well done.  Our 2006 Civic Leadership Award inductee to the Holland Township Parks & Recreation Hall of Fame is Mr. Bill Driesenga.