Jim grew up in the Schoolcraft and Vicksburg area, attending Vicksburg schools as while as both of his daughters. After graduation, Jim was drafted into the Army in January 1969 for two years. While in basic training, Jim enlisted for one more year to attend Signal School to learn electronics. Jim spent three years on active duty, one of which was in Viet-Nam. On returning home, Jim enrolled in classes at Kalamazoo Valley Community College and graduated with an AAS degree in Electrical Technology. During the same period Jim joined the Army Reserve program where he worked in supplies. At first in regular supplies, clothing, and equipment, and after more training Jim went into medical supplies. While in the Reserves, Jim’s unit was activated to Desert Storm for five months. Jim retired after 37 years of military service as a Master Sergeant. Jim worked at several electrical related jobs, finally getting his Electrical Journeyman License. He started working for the Kalamazoo County Government’s Maintenance Department at that time as an electrician. After a few years he was promoted to Maintenance Supervisor and retired after 25 years of service for the County.
Jim has been involved with the Scouting program in the Vicksburg area since 1957. He started in cub scouts, where his mother was a Den Leader. At age eleven, he went into the boy scout troop where he held several positions and remains active in the scouting program.
Jim grew up hunting and fishing with his father. In later years, he went to Washington state elk hunting with a co-worker whose family lived there and continued to hunt with them for over 20 years. Jim has also hunted moose and fished in Canada several times.
Besides hunting, fishing, and scouting activities, he played recreational volleyball for over 20 years. Sometimes three nights a week but mostly twice a week.
Jim is a life member of the VFW and the NRA.
Jim feels that: “All youth should have opportunity to discover the outdoors and its beauty.”
Residing in the Vicksburg area for over 31 years, Gary has been involved in coaching, guiding, and encouraging youth in many activities, including coaching Battle of the Books teams, volunteering for many school activities, coaching Rocket Football teams, coaching Math Counts teams, and assisting to build sets for the Vicksburg High School theater department. He has also served on the Kalamazoo Regional Education Service Agency (KRESA) Career and Technical Education (CTE) Agriscience Advisory Committee, as well as the St. Joseph County CTE Agriscience Advisory Committee.
Gary is very involved as a volunteer and employee in Scouts BSA, having held many positions in the last 21 years. He is currently an Assistant Scoutmaster for Boy Troop 251 and Girl Troop 251 in Vicksburg, and Scout Roundtable staff for Pathfinder District. Gary has served as Course Director for National Youth Leadership Training (NYLT), as well as four years on Camp staff at Rota-Kiwan Scout Reservation as Cub Scout Program Director, Reservation Engineer, Program Director, and Assistant Camp Director.
Gary has served on the Brady Township Planning Commission for over 25 years, and is currently its chairperson. He is also serving as Acting Chairperson on the Brady Township Zoning Board of Appeals. In the early 1980’s he was one of the founding members reestablishing the Sturgis Jaycee Chapter.
Gary grew up on a farm near Centreville, Michigan, where he developed his interest in plants.
He earned an Associate of Science degree at Glen Oaks Community College, and attained a Bachelor of Science degree in Agricultural Engineering at Michigan State University.
Gary is a registered Professional Engineer in Michigan. He has practiced primarily civil engineering in both the public and private sectors, including owning his own consulting firm. Gary is currently employed in nursery sales at Wedel’s Garden Center in Kalamazoo. He is a Certified Green Industry Professional (CGIP) through the Michigan Nursery & Landscape Association (MNLA).
Gary has been married to his wife Sue for over 37 years. They are proud of their two daughters (both Girl Scout Gold Awards) and a son (Eagle Scout in Troop 251, Vicksburg). Gary enjoys gardening (especially heirloom vegetables), woodworking, antiques, hiking, camping, reading, and history.
Matt has lived in the Vicksburg area since 1996 with his wife, Karen (Hayward) VanderMeulen, a Vicksburg native. They have two sons, Cole (24) and Mitchell (18), who both attended and graduated from Vicksburg Community Schools.
Matt has been involved with youth activities in the community, serving as Scout parent and leader for nine years, as well as Little League Coach and Vicksburg HS Band enthusiast & supporter.
Originally from Hinsdale, IL., Matt, at age 10, moved to Kalamazoo with his family. He attended Kalamazoo Public Schools. Upon graduation from Kalamazoo Central HS, he began working in the printing trade. Since 2002, Matt has been employed by RiverRun Press in Parchment, where he is a sales consultant.
“I feel there is a tremendous need for more outdoor opportunities to be offered to our young people. That is why I strongly support this organization and our mission to do our best to provide a safe and inclusive space featuring natural beauty, fresh air and an accessible facility that will help create meaningful experiences dedicated to enriching the youth of Vicksburg and the surrounding area. With community support, the awesome property on Barton Lake has the potential to make a difference in so many lives. Many local folks have fond memories of camping, fishing and swimming at ‘The Cabin’ for many decades. I hope this wonderful facility can be promoted and improved so future generations can enjoy it.”
Born & raised in Vicksburg, Troy is a 1983 graduate of Vicksburg High School, an Eagle Scout, member of Scouts BSA Troop 251, and lifelong alumnus of Camp Char Le’ Maude, at Barton Lake.
Troy’s involvement in serving, educating, and encouraging our areas youth spans several decades, across several organizations, including: as a USA Hockey Coach with the Kalamazoo Optimist Hockey Association, multiple leadership positions with the Michigan Crossroads Council of the Boy Scouts of America, leadership roles with both of Vicksburg’s very own Scouts BSA Troop 251 Boy & Girl Troops, participating with the St. Joseph County 4-H program and Howardsville 4-H Club, Post Advisor for the Fire Fighting Explorers Post, and as a Range Safety Officer with the Schoolcraft High School Clay Target Team.
He also served our local community for many years as an on-call Firefighter/EMT and Lieutenant/Training Officer with the South Kalamazoo County Fire Authority, ultimately finishing his part-time career in public safety as a Captain and Training Officer with the Kalamazoo County Fire Academy.
Troy attended Kalamazoo Valley Community College & Saint Louis University and works at PactivEvergreen/Fabri-Kal in Kalamazoo, as a Corporate Engineer & Program Manager. Additionally, Troy spent 26 years as an Adjunct Faculty Instructor with KVCCs Engineering Dept., and is currently an Advisory Board Member for Western Michigan University’s EDMT Department.
Troy enjoys Gardening, Shooting Sports, Hockey, and along with his wife Alecia, exploring Lake Michigan’s shoreline, and Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
I am originally from Ithaca, Michigan. We moved to the Portage area in 1999 after serving as a military spouse. My son Kristopher graduated from Vicksburg Community Schools and earned his Eagle Scout from the Vicksburg Boy Scout Troop 251 in 2012.
I am currently working on my bachelor degree from Western Michigan University with a concentration in Business & Holistic Health and a minor in Religion. I received my associates of business degree from Lansing Community College in Paralegal studies.
Having raised a special needs son, working with youth in the community and seeing them become successful members of society is something I am passionate about.
Over the years I have been involved in local organizations such as:
*Vicksburg Cub Scout Pack 251 Secretary 2002-2007
*Vicksburg Boy Scout Troop 251 Treasurer 2008-2013; 2017-2019
*WMU Hockey Blue Line Club Board Member 2017-2019
*Friends of Vicksburg, Inc. Treasurer
2018 - Current
*Vicksburg High School Band Boosters Treasurer 2021- Current
*American Livebearer Association, Inc. Treasurer 2023 -Current