2017-12-09 / People

Foreman Sid DeHaan Retires From City

By Jacob A. Ball

Former city foreman Sid DeHaan outside Community Hall Thursday, November 2, only one day before his official retirement. He vows to come back for visits. Former city foreman Sid DeHaan outside Community Hall Thursday, November 2, only one day before his official retirement. He vows to come back for visits. Sid DeHaan, for many years a fixture on the Island where he served on the Veterans Committee and as commander of American Legion Post 299, has retired from the city foreman position he had held since 2011.

Mr. DeHaan announced his plans to retire at an October 25 city council meeting, drawing a spontaneous round of applause for his service. He has played a vital role in the upkeep and restoration of historic city buildings, applied his varied skills to special projects, and made sure the community honored its military veterans. At a November 20 council meeting, Mayor Margaret Doud and council members presented him with a Resolution of Appreciation.

“Thank you, Sid,” Mayor Doud said. “You’ve done a great job, you really have, and we appreciate all that you’ve accomplished over the years you’ve been here.”

Mr. DeHaan enlisted in the U.S. Navy following his graduation from Kentwood High School. During his time in the service, he worked on the electrical systems of naval vessels. He then spent two decades as part owner of a concrete construction business that expanded to include decorative concrete. According to Mr. DeHaan, the company’s projects included such large-scale structures such as hospitals, schools, and factories.

This technical background provided Mr. DeHaan with the varied knowledge and skills ideal for his work on the Island. He and former assistant Mike Ruddle, who now succeeds him as foreman, could undertake projects that otherwise would have required the city to hire a contractor.

That included the installation of new streetlights throughout the municipality, labor-intensive work Mr. Ruddle said comprised one of the most-detailed projects the two of them carried out. He said Mr. DeHaan has passed on to him a range of techniques to use in skilled-trade work such as carpentry and masonry.

“We [did] a lot of important, good projects for the city,” Mr. Ruddle said.

Mr. DeHaan became a regular on Mackinac Island long before he signed on to work for the city. About 25 years ago, he began visiting with his family on vacations. During the visits, he often undertook small construction jobs, which meant Islanders were well aware of his know-how by the time he took over the Maintenance Department in 2011.

What has kept him coming to the Island year after year, however, is broader than work: he fell in love with the community. He said that no matter how much time he spends on Mackinac Island, it will always be magical to him. Even more than its natural beauty and rich history, he said, he will miss its people.

“It is one of the most caring and giving communities that I have ever seen,” Mr. DeHaan said. “It doesn’t matter what the function is, they are there to support it.”

According to the resolution passed last month, the admiration is mutual. The official document refers to his work for the city as a “great asset,” commends him for his commitment to the upkeep of the Island cemeteries, and applauds his “valued and respected” contributions to the Veterans Committee.

The resolution concludes by stating: “[Mr.] DeHaan has not only been a valued employee of the City of Mackinac Island, but has also been a valued member of the Mackinac Island community.”

In retirement, Mr. DeHaan, who has lived in Rogers City for several years, looks forward to spending more time with his wife, Elaine, and his two adult children, Eric and Theresa. Of course, regular journeys to Mackinac Island will still be on his agenda.

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