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You are Viewing an Archived IssuePosted: 08/27/14
2014 GRAND MARSHAL. Above, Rich Pfeiffer of Bruce Township was chosen as the grand marshal for the 83rd Annual Michigan Peach Festival. Pfeiffer, a Romeo Lions Club member, has chaired the festival's 5K Run for 23 years.
(Observer photo by Chris Gray)
Pfeiffer named Grand Marshal of Peach Fest
by CHRIS GRAYIt seems fitting that Rich Pfeiffer of Bruce Township enjoys scuba diving, as he is known for jumping in when help is needed.
Observer Staff Writer
Pfeiffer, a Bruce Township resident and long-time Romeo Lions Club member, has the honor of being grand marshal for the 83rd Annual Michigan Peach Festival.
Pfeiffer is normally called upon for the festival's 5K/10K run and beer tent, but he didn't quite expect the phone call asking him to ride in the Floral Parade on Labor Day as grand marshal.
"It was a surprise," he said.
Pfeiffer is a retired GM engineer and a retiree from the U.S. Army Reserves. When he left he was a command sgt. maj., having been activated for Desert Storm and active duty in Korea in 1968 during the USS Pueblo incident.
He then entered the National Guard for seven years before switching to the Army Reserves. He worked as an instructor for maintenance and transportation as well as preparing units for combat out of Selfridge Air Force Base.
"I enlisted in 1966, got out for a short time and then went back into the National Guard, and retired officially in `97," he said. "It's just going back to the way kids are today<either they have a patriotic feel or they're not interested at all, and to me it was just something you needed to do."
The grand marshal understands the significance of the festival, having been a member of the Lions Club for 27 years since joining when he moved to the area from Ohio.
"The Peach Festival is a magnet which basically brings a lot of people together in one spot and it does two things: It fulfills the carnival atmosphere, but it also brings the community together."
During his time with the Lions, Pfeiffer started as the coordinator for the Peach Festival's 5K run 23 years ago and has chaired it ever since. He said the run has expanded to a walk and 10K run, and has grown from 38 participants in its first year to 521 last year.
"The lucky thing is, knock on wood, we haven't been rained out in 23 years," he said.
Pfeiffer has also been a chairman for the Lions beer tent for 25 years. He also has the distinction of becoming the second district governor for the Lions Club's 11-A2 District, and was past president, treasurer and secretary of the local club.
He said he enjoys the Lions Club because it donates to great causes like Leader Dogs for the Blind, Beaumont's Silent Children fund and Bear Lake a camp for visually-impaired youth.
"It's quite a feeling of you've accomplished something," he said. "It's the Lions that have brought out a lot of this in me."
Anyone who has enjoyed the gazebo in the Village Park has Pfeiffer to thank. He and other Lions Club members built the structure, dedicating it in 1991. It is used for everything from weddings and pep rallies to tree-lighting ceremonies in December.
"It's part of the park that has become part of the community," he said.
In his spare time, Pfeiffer said one of his favorite activities is scuba diving, having done so since 1992 in locations like Mexico, Hawaii and Aruba. He earned a master diver rating and seeks out cave diving opportunities, having followed some of the dives of the famous Jacques Costeau.
"I enjoy that as opposed to getting sea sick on a dive boat," he said with a chuckle.
Pfeiffer and his wife have been together for 46 years and have three children and eight grandchildren. His son followed his example and joined the military, a grandson tried out for the Navy and a nephew is in the Marines.
He said they had a home in Grayling they thought about moving into for retirement, but ended up selling it and staying in the community they have helped serve.
"It's the openness, the friendliness of the community," he said. "We decided this is really where we want to stay."