Sunday, December 31, 2006

Rather Tenuous Name-dropping

So here's my very slight connection to the former President Ford. Well, first I grew up in West Michigan, so there was a highway named for him and a museum. I remember going on a school field trip to the museum. It was not the most exciting museum for whatever age I was--far too young to appreciate it.

But then a slightly different connection. As my profile says, some years ago I was hired to write a history of Camp Roger. The current organization began in 1941 when a group of business men bought it to create a summer children's camp, but prior to that it was a choir camp of the episcopal church in Grand Rapids. It originally had only a director, who was also the choir director, but in the Depression the director felt overwhelmed with the work, and the church appointed a board of governors to assist him. And who was on this first board? Gerald R. Ford. Senior (the president's adopted father). So that was one of the little tidbits I uncovered in my research. I really wanted to discover that the president himself had been a camper, and we didn't have complete lists of every camper...but I'm afraid it was unlikely. The choir director kept clippings about and correspondance with his former campers and would surely have had that on Gerald Ford if that had been the case. But the archives at St. Mark's church had no such clippings.

Nevertheless, just based on the bit we'd learned about Ford Sr.'s connection with the camp, the directors contacted the former president a few years ago, and he agreed to be an honorary member of the capital campaign board (which the book had been a part of the groundwork for the capital campaign). So potential donors received letters from a group of people that included President Gerald R. Ford. I always thought that was fun :)

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