2017-05-25 / Front Page

Ingalls Are Ambassadors of Year

Work With Youth, Hospital Fundraiser Earns Award for St. Ignace Couple
By Kevin R. Hess


Basketball coaches Doug and Dorene Ingalls were named St. Ignace Ambassadors of the Year at the Chamber of Commerce annual dinner Thursday, May 18, at Little Bear East Arena. After the announcement, they were joined by their children and many current and former basketball players. Pictured here are (back row, from left) Linnie Gustafson, Abbey Ostman, Doug Ingalls, Jackson Ingalls, Nicole Elmblad; (front) Jessie Frazier, Margo Brown, Autumn Orm, Dorene Ingalls, Jonny Ingalls, and Keshia Davis. Basketball coaches Doug and Dorene Ingalls were named St. Ignace Ambassadors of the Year at the Chamber of Commerce annual dinner Thursday, May 18, at Little Bear East Arena. After the announcement, they were joined by their children and many current and former basketball players. Pictured here are (back row, from left) Linnie Gustafson, Abbey Ostman, Doug Ingalls, Jackson Ingalls, Nicole Elmblad; (front) Jessie Frazier, Margo Brown, Autumn Orm, Dorene Ingalls, Jonny Ingalls, and Keshia Davis. One of the most anticipated moments of the St. Ignace Chamber of Commerce annual dinner at Little Bear East Arena is the surprise announcement of the Ambassador of the Year. Thursday, May 18, the husband and wife team of Doug and Dorene Ingalls shared this year’s award. They are Saints basketball coaches who help organize an annual basketball fundraiser for the hospital. Mrs. Ingalls believed she was there to help speak of the success of “Hooping for a Cure,” the annual fundraiser for the oncology department of Mackinac Straits Health System (MSHS). Rod Nelson, CEO of the hospital, had asked Mrs. Ingalls to help him speak to the success of the event, which has raised more than $134,000 over the last nine years. The 2016 event raised $17,000. The work and success of “Hooping for a Cure” is one of the main reasons Mr. and Mrs. Ingalls received the award.


Business owners, restaurants, and citizens took part in the 2017 Chamber of Commerce dinner, Thursday, May 18, at Little Bear East Arena. The theme of the evening was “Did You Know?” Activities included a 50/50 raffle, prize giveaways, a buffet-style dinner offered by several area restaurants and markets, and a “Did You Know” quiz. Awards were given to two high school seniors, Sierra Metz and Lydia Brown, and the 2017 Ambassadors of the Year, Doug and Dorene Ingalls. Business owners, restaurants, and citizens took part in the 2017 Chamber of Commerce dinner, Thursday, May 18, at Little Bear East Arena. The theme of the evening was “Did You Know?” Activities included a 50/50 raffle, prize giveaways, a buffet-style dinner offered by several area restaurants and markets, and a “Did You Know” quiz. Awards were given to two high school seniors, Sierra Metz and Lydia Brown, and the 2017 Ambassadors of the Year, Doug and Dorene Ingalls. “Doug and Dorene have a passion for the school, a passion for the hospital, and a passion for what they believe in,” said Mr. Nelson. “The team sets a high bar, but it’s about more than the wins; it is the life experience that they teach the students.”


LaSalle High School seniors Sierra Metz and Lydia Brown were awarded the Student Citizen and Ambassador Scholarships for their volunteer and academic achievements. They are pictured here with their parents, (from left) Jeff and Amy Metz, Sierra Metz, Lydia Brown, Lora and Andy Brown. LaSalle High School seniors Sierra Metz and Lydia Brown were awarded the Student Citizen and Ambassador Scholarships for their volunteer and academic achievements. They are pictured here with their parents, (from left) Jeff and Amy Metz, Sierra Metz, Lydia Brown, Lora and Andy Brown. Mr. Nelson told of times when players would visit cancer patients, outings organized by Mr. and Mrs. Ingalls, during their trips to the semifinals at Michigan State University and the impact those visits made on students.

“I remember reading a [social media] post from [former player] Sarah Cullip after the team won a championship,” he said. “The thing she talked about the most was visiting the patients, not winning the game.”


At right: Before introducing Janet Peterson for the final time as the chamber’s executive director, master of ceremonies Jim North read a special letter of thanks for her service that was purportedly sent by “President Donald Trump,” impersonated by Mr. North to the great enjoyment of the crowd. At right: Before introducing Janet Peterson for the final time as the chamber’s executive director, master of ceremonies Jim North read a special letter of thanks for her service that was purportedly sent by “President Donald Trump,” impersonated by Mr. North to the great enjoyment of the crowd. Mr. Nelson praised Mrs. Ingalls for organizing local parades for other U.P. teams who had won championships. This past winter, during bad weather that caused the Mackinac Bridge to be closed to buses, semis, and similar vehicles, Mrs. Ingalls helped to organize rides from local volunteers to transport players from Marquette across the bridge and into other waiting buses that then took them to their game site.

“More than teaching basketball, Doug and Dorene are teaching these kids respect,” said Mr. Nelson.


At left: Janet Peterson finished her 32nd and final year as executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. She thanked the many volunteers and businesses who have helped to make St. Ignace successful. “Next year, I’ll be able to eat dinner,” she joked. Mrs. Peterson is pictured here with the binder she has used for keeping Chamber minutes since the day she started. She has recorded the minutes for 372 board meetings. At left: Janet Peterson finished her 32nd and final year as executive director of the Chamber of Commerce. She thanked the many volunteers and businesses who have helped to make St. Ignace successful. “Next year, I’ll be able to eat dinner,” she joked. Mrs. Peterson is pictured here with the binder she has used for keeping Chamber minutes since the day she started. She has recorded the minutes for 372 board meetings. Mr. Ingalls has taught mathematics and coached basketball at St. Ignace since 1992. He thanked all of his players, their parents, and the community for support.

“It’s a privilege to do what we do,” he said.

Mr. Ingalls told of a recent time when he had the opportunity to speak at an athletic banquet at his alma mater, Gladstone High School.


The Saints Alive Youth Group of Glen Memorial Baptist Church served at the Chamber of Commerce dinner. Saints Alive members include (back row, from left) Jeff Bunker, Kathleen Bunker, Morris Nettleton, Ben Freier, Andrew Will, Merv Wyse, Jessica Davis; (front) Erin Bunker, Heather Moore, Brandi Kopitz, Tara Bunker, Kristin Lenoir, Keshia Davis, and Melissa Dockry. Missing from photograph are: Judson Postma, and Jimmy and Olivia McDonald. The Saints Alive Youth Group of Glen Memorial Baptist Church served at the Chamber of Commerce dinner. Saints Alive members include (back row, from left) Jeff Bunker, Kathleen Bunker, Morris Nettleton, Ben Freier, Andrew Will, Merv Wyse, Jessica Davis; (front) Erin Bunker, Heather Moore, Brandi Kopitz, Tara Bunker, Kristin Lenoir, Keshia Davis, and Melissa Dockry. Missing from photograph are: Judson Postma, and Jimmy and Olivia McDonald. “I finished my speech and closed by saying ‘today is a great day to be a Saint,’ instead of a [Gladstone] Brave,” he said. “I guess I’m officially a Saint now.”

Mrs. Ingalls has been coaching St. Ignace girls basketball since 1999, leading the Saints to state championships her first two years on the job. She also thanked her players, the parents, and community, but she said a special “thank you” to Mr. Nelson, whom she says she leaned on a lot after her right leg was paralyzed following the birth of her youngest son.

“My champion is Rod Nelson,” she said. “He was there for me. He told me that we were going to fight this together.”

Upon receiving the award, many of Mr. and Mrs. Ingalls’ family, friends, and current and former players came out of hiding to congratulate them.

“When you have a community like this, why wouldn’t you fight for it?” said Mrs. Ingalls.

Janet Peterson Retires as Chamber Director

Executive Director of the Chamber of Commerce Janet Peterson directed the final Chamber Dinner of her 32-year career. Before introducing Mrs. Peterson to the audience, Master of Ceremonies Jim North honored her by impersonating President Donald Trump and reading a special letter of thanks purported to be from the president.

The theme of the evening was “Did You Know?” Mrs. Peterson told of all the work that goes on in the chamber and thanked the many who helped to make it a success. Mrs. Peterson reported that she had written 372 board meeting minutes, keeping them in the same folder for 32 years. She recalled when she first applied for the job of executive director and how many around her advised her to not take it because it didn’t pay much. One of the people counseling her to avoid the job was her father, the Reverend Wayne Foote.

“When she took that job, I thought she was nuts,” he joked.

Mrs. Peterson reflected upon the many events she has been able to involved with and the many people she has grown close to. She will continue to be involved with St. Ignace events by working with the Chamber, the Visitors Bureau, and the Special Events Committee in some capacity.

“Next year, I’ll actually get to eat dinner,” she quipped.

LaSalle Students Honored

Each year, selected high school students are honored with awards. LaSalle High School seniors Sierra Metz and Lydia Brown were this year’s honorees. Miss Metz was honored with the Student Citizen scholarship for her many hours of volunteer service, outstanding citizenship, and academic achievements. Among Miss Metz’s activities were the Adopt-a-Family Christmas Program, Red Cross Blood Drive, and Feeding America food truck. She is the daughter of Jeff and Amy Metz and will attend Michigan State University to study pre-medicine.

Miss Brown was honored with the Ambassador Scholarship. She was involved in Adopt-a-Family Christmas Program, Red Cross Blood Drive, Feeding America Food Truck, Youth Advisory Council, Dance Troupe, and Vietnam Veterans Memorial

Wall. She is the daughter of Andy and Lora Brown and plans to attend Central Michigan University to pursue a degree in elementary education. Miss Metz and Miss Brown are two of three seniors to be named valedictorians; the third is Preston Mayle. Both Miss Metz and Miss Brown have a 4.08 grade point average on a four-point scale.

The annual dinner included a buffet style “Taste of St. Ignace” dinner with many restaurants and markets in town offering selections from their businesses. The Saints Alive Youth Group from Glen Memorial Baptist Church helped to decorate, serve, and tear down following the event.

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