Steve Wendt isn't just any old Steve. To ReStore staff, volunteers, and customers, he's "Big Steve." He's certainly earned the name by being such a big part of our ReStore's success—and because of that, he's also earned our Volunteer of the Year award for 2014.
Big Steve has taken over the repair and appliance area of ReStore South and made it his own. He tests all appliances that are donated to the ReStore, repairing anything that isn't up to retail standards. He also fixes up furniture in need of repair, and he ensures that everything in the repair area is neat and tidy and in its place (a small miracle in the ReStore, where things come and go in the blink of an eye!).
In addition to all this, Big Steve has initiated many special projects that benefit the Kent County South ReStore, including kiosks that he designed and built to display information on Habitat's mission and how to become a Habitat homeowner. Whenever something needs to be invented, built, repaired or refurbished, Big Steve is the one to ask!
Really, there isn't a whole lot that Big Steve doesn't do or hasn't done. He's a Vietnam veteran who served in the Navy; he enjoys gardening and golf and travels to dart tournaments; he volunteers with Love, Inc., the Sunset Retirement Community, and Jenison Public Schools; he's even been featured in a Discovery Channel documentary on storm chasing (because storm chasing, of course, is also one of his hobbies). Steve and his wife, Jeanne, have been married for 43 years, and they have two children.
Steve has been volunteering at the ReStore for two years now, and he says it's a perfect fit that feeds his passion for helping people. We're so blessed to work with Steve. Congratulations!
Jazz saxophonist Gary McCourry will collaborate with West Michigan musicians in a concert featuring the music of the legendary baritone saxophonist Gerry Mulligan and benefitting Habitat Kent. The concert is open to the public, and will be held at Sunday, March 9th at 3:00 PM at Christ Lutheran Church, 2350 44th St SW in Wyoming, Michigan. McCourry will be joined by saxophonists Tom Stansell and Michael Doyle, as well as trumpeter Chris Lawrence, pianist Steve Talaga, drummer Tim Froneck, and bassist Tom Lockwood. Free will offerings will benefit Habitat Kent.
Gerry Mulligan, arguably the most significant baritone saxophonist in the history of jazz, was also a unique composer and arranger who left a tremendous musical legacy. He was instrumental in the development of the "Cool" or "West Coast" jazz style of the 1950's. His melodies, logically constructed and often filled with humor, are considered miniature masterpieces. This concert will feature Mulligan compositions from his entire career, including unique arrangements for three baritone saxophones and trumpet on such Mulligan gems as "Line for Lyons," "Five Brothers," and "Walkin' Shoes."
Saxophonist Gary McCourry served as a military musician for 23 years while stationed at West Point, performing in some of the U.S. military's premier musical groups. McCourry performed for nine years as alto and soproano saxophonist in the West Point Concert Band and 14 years as baritone saxophonist in the West Point Jazz Knights, retiring as enlisted group leader of the Jazz Knights.
Now residing in Wayland, Michigan, Gary maintains as busy schedule teaching private woodwind lessons and performing in several regional groups, including the Grand Rapids Jazz Orchestra, Truth in Jazz Orchestra, Gull Lake Jazz Orchestra, River City Big Band, and Kalamazoo Big Band. He also performs occasionally with the Grand Rapids, Battle Creek, and West Michigan symphonies and the Grand Rapids Civic and Circle theaters.