Notes from all over

by GDA


Publishing and writing for a local newspaper has to be one of the best jobs ever, but there are some times when you have to really bear down, think hard and report or write about friends or things that are hard to write about.
This is one of those times. Recently our community of Cook/Orr/Crane Lake and all the surrounding townships has lost another very good and treasured friend. It seems as I grow older that this happens all the time and the passing away of a friend, especially one who has meant so much to the area, makes for some tough writing.
Well, Al Vogt, former Cook Hospital administrator, who was involved in so many things, recently passed away. I had known Al for the 39 years that I have owned the Cook News-Herald. He had been a big help to me and we had some lively discussions. It is hard to remember the Cook Hospital from when Al took over. I, for one, thought it was a great institution for a community this large. I questioned the four building projects that produced the state-of-the-art facility we have now. Well, Al and the board were right and I was wrong. The Cook Hospital is the backbone of this community. When someone wants to find a place to live, the hospital is one of the places they check out. The hospital has a very large staff of doctors, nurses, nurse practitioners, lab personnel, etc. To think of what it took to build it to what it is today is hard to fathom. Al Vogt produced this and I never heard him complain. He just smiled, chuckled a bit, found the money needed and went ahead with it. This entire community owes a debt of gratitude to Al.
You have to realize that Al and I didn't always agree and he sometimes even won our arguments, but we never parted without a smile and a laugh.
Then we come to the lighting of the Virgie Hegg Lights of Love to raise money for the Virgie Hegg Hospice. Yes, the lights would go on and Al usually led the singers in many carols.
I just can't remember him never smiling and it is hard to think that he is gone. My sympathy to his wife, Beryl, on his passing. The two of them were always together. They were both very religious, so Beryl knows he has gone on to a better place; one that needs some construction and someone to supervise it.
It is tough to lose close friends like Al. It seems like we are losing too many of those who made this community. These were people who always stepped forward to get things done for this community and this community isn't just Cook, it includes Orr, Crane Lake, Buyck, Greaney, Alango, Angora, Sturgeon, and all the other townships. Without those "movers and shakers," we wouldn't have the facilities and businesses we have.
The remarkable thing is, when we lose these people, someone else steps in. We now have Teresa Debevec as the Cook Hospital administrator and she is a hard worker, just like Al. Teresa has become a very good friend of mine too and I admire her work ethic.
I can just imagine Al looking down at us with that big grin on his face. He will be laughing, but he will also be keeping an eye on the Cook Hospital.
I seem to be losing too many friends like this, though.
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Can you believe summer is gone? The good thing is, fall is here and for many that is the best season of the year. Have a good week.

Something Nice About Lake Vermilion

Earlier this summer I was doing some maintenance on my boat at Gruben's Marina on the east end of Lake Vermilion in Greenwood Township. I documented it by taking some pictures on my small Canon digital camera. In my activities of moving about the boat, trailer, and car I inadvertently misplaced my camera. I thought I had put it in the back of my SUV. I went home; kind of forgot about it for a few days. When I went to look for it so I could download the pictures to my computer, I couldn't find it. I looked in the car, on the boat, my bags; to no avail, I couldn't locate it. I asked around the marina, but no one had seen it. A couple of weeks later, Dan, the Marina manager, and local neighbor said they had good news. My camera had been turned in.
Needless to say, I was happy as it is one-of-a-kind, as this digital camera has both viewfinder and display screen, a rarity today. Of course, I was re-united with my pictures as well. Apparently what occurred was I must have left the camera on the rear bumper of my SUV as it was found a mile down the road, on County Road 77. Except for a minor scratch-scuff to its protective case, the camera escaped unscathed, undamaged.
The good Samaritan, we will call him John, stopped, grabbed the camera from the highway, took it home, figured it came from a local resort or marina and subsequently brought it to the good folks at Gruben's who in turn notified me that it had been found. This act of kindness by all parties, including the person who found it and made the efforts to find its owner, did not go unnoticed nor unappreciated. The person could have easily kept it, sold or given it away.
This exemplifies that Lake Vermilion, its residents and visitors are heir apparent to the attributes of being "Lake Vermilion Nice." Thank you
Kirby Stross