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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 08/13/14
2014 HONOREES. Above, Westview Orchards, co-owned by Katrina Roy and Abby Jacobson, will be one of the honorees nominated to be in the Macomb Hall of Fame this September. The hall of fame has inducted 67 area leaders since it was founded in 2000, recognizing them for leadership and philanthropy. Below, Judge Denis LeDuc of the 42-1 District Court is among the honorees that will be inducted into the 2014 Macomb Hall of Fame.
(Observer file photos)
Local judge, orchard join
Macomb Hall of Fame
by CHRIS GRAYThe greater Romeo area has two representatives that have been recognized for their contributions to Macomb County.
Observer Staff Writer
Judge Denis LeDuc of the 42-1 District Court and Westview Orchards will be 2014 honorees in the Macomb Hall of Fame. The induction ceremony will be held on Sept. 25 at Villa Penna in Sterling Heights.
Pete Lucido, chair of the Macomb Hall of Fame and president of Lucido and Manzella, said the honorees are recognized for their corporate, civic and philanthropic leadership achievements.
"These honorees demonstrate exceptional commitment to building our community," Lucido said.
LeDuc said he was surprised when he was told he was nominated and selected to be an honoree, and is honored to be a member of the Hall of Fame. He credits his friends, family and co-workers for his nomination.
"I really give credit to all the people around me," he said. "There has been a lot of stuff over the years, like late-night meetings, all the things that are difficult that they've helped me through, so I look at it as a recognition of all of them as well."
LeDuc came to Macomb County in 1973, where he and his wife, Sharon, raised all five of their children. He served as a Macomb County Board of Commissioner before joining the 42-1 District Court as magistrate judge, and was later elected to become district judge.
LeDuc has served as the past president of the Romeo Kiwanis Club and Greater Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce as well as on the Romeo Goodfellows. He also helps run the Northwest Macomb Prevention Coalition, a group of volunteers that aim to educate the communities of Armada, Richmond and Romeo about drug and alcohol issues.
"I've been a public servant, the way I look at it, for a long time," he said.
He said his latest project is to bring a drug/sobriety court to the 42-1 District Court, as there are no such services north of Clinton Township.
"I am very optimistic about that for 2015," he said.
LeDuc is joined by Westview Orchards, owned by sisters Katrina Roy and Abby Jacobson. Roy said she was "completely flabbergasted" to find out the orchard was selected.
"When they called I started crying, I just couldn't believe it," she said. "Of course, anybody recognizes it's not just our work, but the generations before us that established the orchard."
The farm has been in Washington Township for 200 years, growing from 18 acres to 188 acres that produce a variety of fruits and vegetables. The mother of the sisters, Katherine, took over the operations in 1981. Jacobson joined her that year, while Roy came on board in 1987.
Roy said they have strengthened the orchard by participating in studies with the Michigan State University Extension, including the establishment of a weather station in 2009 and the use of controlled atmosphere storage for its crops. The orchard is verified by the Michigan Agriculture Environment Assurance Program.
"Our commitment is to keep the land productive and take care of it like the precious asset it is," Roy said.
The orchard converted an old schoolhouse to sell treats to guests, which pairs up with other agro-tourism features like u-pick, petting zoos, a three-acre playground and a log obstacle course. The orchard's newest venture is the development of its own line of wine and an accompanying winery.
"The basic core values of taking care of the folks that visit us is honesty and cleanliness," she said. "Our mother never opposed growing the business so long as we took care of the customer."
The remaining 2014 Hall of Fame inductees are the Penna family, Dr. Alphonse Santino of the Michigan Institute of Urology and the Roy O'Brien Ford Family.
The Macomb Foundation has inducted 67 area leaders since the Hall of Fame was founded in 2000. The Foundation's goal is to promote business and community advancement in the county.
Tickets for the ceremony are $175 per person. Call (586) 493-7600 for more information.