Kathy Woodruff is a name that you might not have otherwise ever heard had her daughter Tiffany not given her a little nudge. Kathy and her husband, Jody, are part of Muskegon County history that needs to be told because their work might have otherwise gone unnoticed and as they take another step toward retirement, they are asking for a hand to continue what they have started.
As young parents, an opportunity came along for Jody and Kathy that not many might think of. Twin Lake County Park needed a dedicated care taker and, well, the job came with two $500 a year checks to help pay for some things and a place to live. Almost unthinkable today, but all those years ago, life wasn't quite as expensive and something like this could be pretty tempting as opposed to a job and a house payment. Jody proudly served in active duty military and Kathy enjoyed volunteering at the school in the fall and winter, and care taking at the park in the summer. It gave her access to her kids, and her kids friends to see how they were growing up and a good hand in making sure that paths were kept on the straight and narrow.
It became so much more than that though. When they took over the park, it wasn't exactly the family destination it is today. Honestly, looking back..a lot of Muskegon has changed since then and now. Twin Lake County Park was on the bottom of the list of county parks with a less than savory crowd hanging out and not a lot of room for a family experience. With a lot of love and a bit of a "firm hand", the idea that the park would be renewed into something for everyone began. In a short amount of time, the evolution of this incredible green space in Muskegon County took over and today, it's an inland lake with an amazing beach, picnic area and even a snack shack and food stand in it serving great summer treats and according to some, the best ice cream anywhere. in short, Jody and Kathy began to give to improve the quality of life for us all, long before it was the "thing to do".
Now, the last thing they hold on to is being a part of the committee that puts on the Twin Lake Fireworks on the 4th of July, and it's time they pass the torch on. They are in search of new people who can fill this role and continue what's been started and generally draws 4000 to maybe 8000 people to the park in the middle of the summer. The youngest of the current group is over 60 and their years of service cannot be overlooked anywhere in Muskegon County. If you pass the fireworks sign in Twin Lake, annually it's right around $20,000 or more that's raised and the community pitches in by the famous can drive trailer parked at Jacks gas station. It's not a sink or swim start, they are seeking a replacement committee now so that between now and the 4th in 2024, they can have a smooth transition and then take a bow for all they have done as a younger generation takes over.
If you'd like to get a hold of Kathy, CLICK HERE TO LINK WITH HER ON FACEBOOK. This is her preferred method of contact and she's open to hearing from anyone who's ready to continue what's been built.
This has been an opportunity of the highest order! Jody and Kathy......what an amazing life led in service to country and community and how they reshaped a park to become what it is today is something history cannot forget. All too often, and deservingly so, we see the same community hero's in the spotlight. Hero's come in all shapes and sizes and some of them, work for decades.....quietly, and purposefully, to leave this world a better place....thank you Jody and Kathy Woodruff and family for all you've given us. We are a grateful community.