Hall Of Fame: 2007 Inductees

    • Park Township has had several key individuals that helped develop not only their own programming, but helped to enhance the growing relationship with Holland Township and West Ottawa Public Schools, as well.  Individuals such as Willie Haberland, Tom Selby, Al Nutile, Lynn Stam, Jerry Klomparens, and Nick Weeber were instrumental in creating what is now one of the most unique and successful recreation partnerships in the state of Michigan.  It’s one thing for two entities to work together, but to have three working together in this manner is truly amazing.  In 2006 we honored West Ottawa Public Schools, but for 2007 we complete the triangle by honoring our friends from Park Township for their commitment to Parks & Recreation for Holland’s north side.   When asked what their definition of community is, the reply we received was the following…”Community is a group of people living within relatively close environments who are willing to cooperate with each other, forgetting individual goals and working toward the betterment of the whole group.”  In the early days the cooperation between these three entities was the foundation for what we enjoy to this day.  Whether it was facility use, maintenance help, or program organization, Holland Twp, Park Twp, and West Ottawa utilized their collective strengths to make things happen.  Simply put, then and now, we compliment each other.  When talking about the relationship between Holland Township and Park Township, only, not much has changed.  When you look at what is offered between the two most everything that can be offered is covered pretty well.  Holland & Park Township have been working for the betterment of the whole community for many years. On its own Park Township has enhanced this community with facilities and programs.  Examples include the following:-          Their portion of the development of an area wide bike path system, Tot Time, Art Center, Skate Park, and Dog Park.  Their facilities have always been some of the best in the state.  Finally, you can’t mention Park Township Parks & Recreation without talking about Mary Alice Ritsema.  Mary Alice has a passion for parks & recreation.  Her concern for the well-being of Park Township residents was admirable and sincere.  Now with Barb Burmeister on board that attitude is still intact.  The best is yet to come for both Holland and Park Township Parks & Recreation.  Congratulations to Park Township as the 2007 Community Partner inductee to the Holland Township Parks & Recreation Hall of Fame


    • For obvious reasons, this award is very special.  Community Service was what Wally Hasty was all about.  He did his job with flair, with style, and with class.  If you wanted to recognize someone for their contributions to Holland’s north side, Wally Hasty would be right up there.  That’s why when we decided to have a community service award, it needed to have his name attached to it.  Wally was not one for being recognized.  In fact, he spread any credit he earned to those around him in appreciation for making his job that much easier.  For 2007 we honor an individual that was the “glue” that helped keep things together…Linda Mergener.   When Linda first started at Holland Township she was a receptionist and pretty much worked for every department.  For Wally, she handled many things for him including scheduling, payroll, and registrations, among many other things.  Wally and Linda made a great team.  In Linda, Wally had someone he could rely on to get things done in a timely and efficient fashion from the office.  In Wally, Linda had someone that taught her a lot about how to deal with people by taking the time to listen when necessary and following through on things as best you could.  Because of these two individuals working together, the Recreation department flourished in ways maybe neither of them expected.  For many years Linda was behind the scenes making sure issues got taken care of.  Whether it was sending out schedules, Lake Mac Triathlon registration and Packet Pickup, or the Holland/Park Township recreation signups, none of it would have happened without Linda’s involvement.  She simply would get the job done, period.  Over the years her responsibilities have shifted and she does not do as much with the recreation department as before, but her impact is still felt.  When told that both Wally and I had referred to her as the “glue” that kept most everything together, she politely said she’s just a “worker bee.”  Because of her current job, she deals with people on regular basis, maybe more so than any other department.  In short, she may be as recognizable a name and face as our administrators and Township Board.  She wholeheartedly disagrees with that assessment and will say she’s just being friendly and community oriented.  That’s her job.  But this has to be said…there is no way Wally nor Darrin could have done this job without her help.  She was the “glue” that kept things together and she’s certainly earned this award bearing the name of Wally Hasty.  Linda Mergener is the 2007 Wally Hasty Community Service Inductee to the Holland Township Parks & Recreation Hall of Fame. 


    • The word “service” has been described in many ways.  For Mike Miedema, this definition is appropriate… “Work done or duty performed for another or others.”  In previous years we have honored two individuals who certainly fit that description in Richard Cartier and Bill Driesenga.  This year we honor a man that took the phrase “getting involved” to a very high level…the late Mike Miedema.  Here are a few examples of his service: Mike served on the West Ottawa Public School Board, the Holland Township Planning Commission, his church as a deacon and elder, as a trustee for Holland Township, and was an advocate for Parks & Recreation.  This gives you an idea of just how important it was for Mike Miedema to serve his community.  He was always looking for ways to help others, and in the case of Holland Township, he did that and then some.  Mike possessed a gift that strong leaders often display.  That gift was the gift of “vision.”  The greatest example of that vision would be Howard B. Dunton Park.  Dunton Park was his pet project.  Mike saw an opportunity to create something unique with that property and he helped make it happen.  But it wasn’t just helping out “behind the scenes,” Mike got his hands dirty, as well, particularly when it came to the boat launch.  He helped put it in.  It took vision and hands-on work to get things done, and Mike did that with a passion.  As Dunton Park grew Mike and his family purchased two homes adjacent to the park and hung on to them until Holland Township was able to get grants for additional development at the park.  While waiting for Holland Township to attain those grants, he opened up one of these homes as a Halloween House for kids and families to enjoy.  Why leave a house just sitting there empty when it could be used for something.  Are you sensing a pattern here?  Whether it was an idea, a vision, or an empty house, Mike Miedema did not stand pat and wait for things to happen.  He made things happen and the community was better off for it.  Mike was involved in the recreation side of things as well.  He sponsored several teams over the years and even played a little volleyball in his day.  Mike was a great storyteller as well.  No speech he ever gave was really prepared…he just went with the flow.  Yet his words were powerful and graceful.  In short…Mike Miedema was a Parks & Recreation advocate, a man with high expectations of himself and others, a hard worker, and a man that served his community without taking a dime for it.  Mike Miedema was and still is the very definition of service.  The late Mike Miedema is the 2007 Distinguished Government Service inductee to the Holland Township Parks & Recreation Hall of Fame


    • Sometime in the early 90’s Holland Township Recreation was at a crossroads with this job.  Specifically, the volleyball and softball programs were relatively strong in numbers, but something was missing.  We had great people working as officials, but more training and leadership was needed and I needed some help.  It was suggested that we get contact with David Fry and seek his guidance with these issues.  As it turned out, the initial request for his assistance was one of the most important decisions I ever made for Holland Township Recreation.  Professionally, we added an individual that raised the bar for our volleyball and softball staff.  Personally, we gained a good friend…someone that is respected and admired.  We also gained his family, each of whom has brought their respective gifts to our staff and made it that much better.   When it comes to being a good official and/or umpire you need a variety of skills to be successful and respected.  Here a select few that showcase why David Fry deserves this honor.  The first skill is knowledge of the game.  Dave certainly possesses this.  He has been on the MASA District 8 Umpire staff for many years including several as the Umpire-In-Chief.  But more importantly…if you have a question regarding a rule that you don’t understand or a play that was called a certain way, Dave is the man to talk to for explanation.  Listening to him explain the rule as well as why it could have been called in a particular situation is amazing.  Then there’s the ability to sell a call with an enthusiastic yet professional attitude.  Officials and umpires don’t always see everything or make the correct call, but great ones can sell their calls no matter what.  It sounds silly, but if you show that you’re doing the best you can and working hard to get into position, you’ll get some leeway from teams.  David certainly has that skill.  Here’s another one…  Good officials and umpires have the ability to raise the level of play simply by their presence on the field or court.  When teams see that David Fry is going to work their games or matches, they know they better be ready because the rules will be enforced the way they are supposed to and he knows the rules.  In short, he will give you his best, so you should, too.  Since 1994 we’ve had 7 Women’s State Volleyball Championships, 2 Runners-up, and 4 State champions in Men’s & Coed Slow Pitch as well as three runners-up.  Each of these teams featured David Fry as their umpire or official for league play.  These teams were prepared for high level play in part because of David Fry.  Great umpires and officials also get recognized for their efforts.  David Fry is widely recognized at being one of the best around.  Since the mid 80’s Dave Fry has umpired 20 state championships in slow and fast pitch softball.  He’s umpired in 12 NCAA Regional fast pitch tournaments.  He’s umpired in 3 NCAA Fast Pitch National Championships and 1 NAIA Fast Pitch National Championship.  Whether it’s a local, state, or national contest he approaches each game or match in the same way.  If you were to ask Dave Fry what you need to succeed as an official or umpire, he’d tell you these three things: PATIENCE…Have the understanding that you’re always trying to improve no matter how good you may be.  ATTITUDE…Put the game above you, never you above the game.  PERSONALITY…Have fun and enjoy it.  If you do, the players will see that and they’ll have a positive experience as well, win or lose.  Mr. David Fry is our 2007 Individual Award of Excellence inductee to the Holland Township Parks & Recreation Hall of Fame. 


    • The first two inductees for Business Leadership Award were unique businesses.  In 2005 we honored Veldeer’s/DeKlomp primarily because of their involvement with the Lake Macatawa Triathlon, but also due to their national reputation as one of our area’s best tourist attractions.  In 2006 we honored Mervenne Beverage.  Mervenne has been a long time supporter of area recreation programs and events.  But for 2007 we honor a business that truly fits the term, “local.”  Our Business Leadership Award inductee for 2007 is Mario’s Pizza.  For over 27 years Mario’s has served this community in a family-oriented, personal, and classy way.  To the owners and staff of Mario’s, it’s not just about serving great meals…it’s about providing a positive place for friends and family to enjoy.  To them it’s very important to show their customers that even though they are out for dinner, you’re still surrounded with an atmosphere that’s a little bit like “home.”  Tonight we are recognizing them for not only their sponsorship of teams in Holland Township programs and community causes, we also celebrate the reason why.  When we asked ownership why they sponsored numerous teams and community events over the years, the answer we received was based on the words “personal attachment.”  For example…being a business that caters to families is good for business.  Think about it…for almost thirty years Mario’s has had an abundance of repeat customers that continue to enjoy what Mario’s has to offer…and they’ve brought their kids.  Now, some Mario’s customers are three generations strong.  This is the biggest reason why Mario’s has sponsored so many Holland Township recreation teams.  They are friends to the people they sponsor…they enjoy the opportunity to help these friends participate in community activities…and they have enjoyed watching these friends grow whether as individuals or with families of their own.  Remember?  “Personal Attachment.”  But it’s not just Holland Township programming that Mario’s is involved in.  For many years Mario’s has been involved with Hospices “Dine Out for Hospice” event as well as organizations such as Women In Transition and the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.  Whatever their involvement is, it is based on personal contact.  They are involved because a friend is in need.  In their own words…”they are a small business, but they have a big heart.”  That statement fits Mario’s perfectly.  We asked ownership what, in their opinion, makes them such a successful community based business.  We were given the following answer: "They were given tremendous support from families such as the Fugelseths, Rizlotas, the Van Raaltes and many others who wanted them to succeedThey put their personality and strong work ethic into the business right away and created a comfortable and family friendly atmosphere.  They love it today as much as they did when they first began.  It's important to have a personal attachment to whatever you're involved in."  Personal Attachment: two words that describe not only the way Mario’s goes about their business within the restaurant itself, but outside of it as well.  Mario’s Pizza is the 2007 Business Leadership inductee to the Holland Township Parks & Recreation Hall of Fame.