County is blessed with unique residents
Some of the fascinating people I have encountered in the Roscommon, Higgins Lake and St. Helen areas over the last 35 years were perhaps more flamboyant than eccentric. Hans Lantzsch, superintendent of Gerrish-Higgins Schools, steered the district with an unwavering hand; he always had a blackboard in his office and the school board meeting room so he could diagram the concept he was trying to get across. Elwyn Hulce, retired Gerrish-Higgins Superintendent, was known as a penny-pincher during his reincarnation as a county commissioner; he set a pattern for cautious fiscal management that has kept Roscommon County solvent to this day when other counties have gone belly-up. Ted Gurzenda, during two stints as Richfield Township Supervisor, was a fast talker and seemed to thrive on controversy, but also was active in veterans organizations and local charities. May Lance, during terms on the boards of Gerrish-Higgins Schools, Kirtland Community College and COOR Intermediate School District, enjoyed the attention she got from asking questions that made people squirm; those questions often shed needed light on the conduct of public business. Mary Scott took up long-distance walking as a senior citizen and showed up at my office every September to have her picture taken after completing her annual 100-mile trek from Roscommon to Mackinaw City. Evelyn Fraser, another senior citizen, was involved in every civic organization imaginable and almost to the end of her life served as chauffeur for other elderly ladies who could no longer drive.
Some were among the best public servants I have ever known. Dr. Edgar Wiggins Waugh, a genteel man with a mellifluous southern accent, was a retired university professor who helped draft the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitiution; he dedicated his retirement years in St. Helen to strengthening the Richfield Township Public Library. Ed Harkins was a quiet, compassionate man who seldom had to raise his voice to get his point across as dean of students at Kirtland Community College and principal at Roscommon High School. Bob Tupper sometimes raised his voice, but always out of passion for what he believed to be right. He succeeded Harkins as dean at KCC and later was a member of the college’s board of trustees, clerk of Lyon Township and a counselor at Roscommon schools. He continues to serve on the Higgins Township Planning Commission. Richard Wood was a Richfield Township Police officer for many years and recently completed a stint as Richfield Township Supervisor, bringing a sense of stability and progress to the often chaotic world of St. Helen politics.
I could name countless others, but you get the idea. The communities I serve are blessed with entertaining, talented, dedicated people.
“Fair and balanced” has become a cliché, but I have always done my best to give both sides of any story and to give equal coverage to each of the communities of Roscommon County. Now that there’s no one at the Herald to compete with me for “scoops” any more, I feel an even greater sense of responsibility to keep our readers informed because if I don’t report it, who will? I’ll continue to give it my best shot.