Repo wins award as city honors best and brightest

REED CITY — Reed City’s Michigan Week Dinner gave a lot of people a lot of reason to celebrate all things “Reed City.”

The annual Chamber of Commerce fete was all about Reed City and before it was over, the focus turned to a number of area residents and one business in particular.

Jim Thompson, president of the DDA, made introductions, and Reed City Chamber president Tyler Thompson assisted in the presentation of the awards.

First to be saluted were Ryan Douglas, Travis Douglas and Corey Saladin. Each received Outstanding Youth Awards.

Both Douglas youngsters were said to be exemplary students who are dedicated to making a difference in their community.

Thompson noted that they volunteer in the Spectrum Health Reed City Hospital Rehab and Nursing Center.

He noted that they do so each Wednesday and Saturday and, among other things, help elders when they are taken on outings, serve meals and play games with the residents, clean and care for the animals on the unit, and assist with fundraiswers for the elders.

Saladin, an honor student at RCHS, “is always looking for ways to make his community a little bit better.” He is creative in various forms of artwork, and decided last year to volunteer his time and efforts to plant perennials in the four downtown boulevard areas.

Young Saladin is credited with saving the lives of two young swimmers in the Gulf of Mexico. Armed with a boogey board, he swam out some 800 feet to where two children were being swept away by a tidal current, placed the eight year old on the board, got “a good grip on the other (child) and swam them both in to shore.”

The young man was honored in 2010 with a Carnegie Hero Award.

Brenda Bowman of The INC Spot in Reed City was named

Ambassador of the Year.

Bowman, Ambassador of the Year, was described as “the cheerleader for the retail businesses of Reed City, getting them all on board to participate and be involved. She is a very active and a positive spokesperson for the city and the Chamber … her attitude is one of gratitude, and we’re proud to have her on the chamber board of directors as one of our new trustees.”

The Reed City Business of the Year Award went to Rod Weck, president and CEO of Reed City Tool.

The award to Rod Weck of Reed City Tool is a new focus this year, “created to recognize the extra endeavors of local, for-profit businesses that make Reed City a better place to live and work. This award honors innovation, a strong entrepreneurial spirit and recognizes their time and talents to create a better Reed City.”

Thompson said Weck and Fred Youngs bought Reed City Tool in 2009, now have 55 employees, plus two co-op students. Youngs serves as vice president.

Reed City Tool was described as “a worldwide supplier of residential garage and entry-door manufacturing systems, as well as the designing and manufacturing of high precision injection and compression molds for the automotive market.”

Weck was credited for bringing Flo-Pallet to Reed City as a new business in the old Nabco Building located on E. Church Street. Thompson said Weck had a prospective buyer for a press, but when it was learned that the press would have to be hauled to California, the costs involved were huge.

“Rod then suggested to Mr. Lewis that there was large vacant factory just across the street,” and not only did Lewis buy the press, but the factory as well, and “while numerous members of the community were instrumental in bringing Flo-Pallet to Reed City, Rod Weck was the catalyst to make it happen,” Thompson said.

Jim Repo, financial operations manager of General Mills/Yoplait here in Reed City was named Reed City Area’s Citizen of the Year.

Repo has been a member of the DDA, JV and Varsity basketball stats keeper, JV girls basketball stats keeper, boys baseball assistant coach, Yoplait liaison for community donations/school donations, contributor to Rocket Football, and 4-H livestock purchaser for Yoplait.

Wearing all of those hats found him identifying needs, communicating with youngsters in the various activities, keeping commitments, advocates the need, responsibility and goodwill to buy locally and an example of that was his coordination for the purchase of jackets for all Yoplait employees with Kel’s closet at a cost of $30,000.

He also helped spearhead the needed improvements for Coats Avenue, and coordinated the support and financial assistance to make it possible.

Thompson said Repo was nominated for the award by “a collaboration of his co-workers, including Donna Ostrander, Tom Brown, and has boss, Jon Woodward.”

Thompson added that Repo and his family which includes his wife, Becky, and their three children, Tyler, Alex and Kendra, are totally immersed in the community. “He has worked for General Mills for over 27 years. He started working in Reed City in the early 80s then moved to Minneapolis for a time, but he liked Reed City so much he wanted to come back and raise his children here.”

Also among those taking part in the Reed City Area Chamber of Commerce Michigan Week Dinner were executive director Suzie Williams who welcomed the crowd, RC city manager Ron Marek who provided a glimpse of 2010 as the year in review, and Chamber president Tyler Thompson who offered “A Look Ahead.”

The crowd closed the evening singing “The Old Rugged Singing.”