MCBA celebrates 60th anniversary of Law Day with a focus on education and community service



By Diana L. Coleman
Legal News

Muskegon County Bar Association celebrated the 60th anniversary of National Law Day, established by President Dwight D. Eisehower in 1958. Law Day was a vision of the 1957 American Bar Association President, Charles S. Rhyne.

Muskegon’s legal community has long supported the promotion of education and each year generously presents thousands of dollars in scholarship awards to Muskegon area senior students.  MCBA also presents technology gifts and cash gift cards to all awardees, along with a $500 gift to the teacher receiving the Golden Apple award for use in his/her classroom.

This year the banquet room at the Lake House was filled with attorneys, judges, prior Liberty Bell award recipients, parents, and children being recognized in the contest along with many proud teachers.

The Frank D. Scott award is presented each year to a non-attorney individual working in the area of state or local probation.  This year’s recipient was Christine Coffee, Muskegon County Probation.  She was presented with the award by her supervisor, Richard Chambers, who gave a glowing report of her dedication and service.

The Liberty Bell award goes each year to a non-attorney individual who is dedicated to helping others and stressing the importance of the Rule of Law.  This year’s recipient was nominated by attorney Gary T. Britton, who dedicates countless hours of pro bono work to the county’s veterans by representing them in the Veteran’s Court.  Britton is a Vietnam vet and has worked closely with this year’s recipient, Daniel Rabidoux.  Rabidoux has passed through the services provided by the Veteran’s Court and continued on to become a mentor to other veterans suffering from post-service issues – making him an outstanding candidate for the award.

The Golden Apple award which is presented each year to an area teacher for promoting and teaching the “Rule of Law” in the classroom was given to Doug Clarke of Reeths-Puffer Schools. Former Liberty Bell Award recipient Nancy Crandall nominated him. Clarke was thrilled with the award and the gift for his classroom.

Each year Law Day demands a great deal of personal time and dedication from the committee composed of attorneys, judges, and community leaders. This year Alisha Riedl and Kevin Huss were co-chairs. The Liberty Bell award chair was Kevin Huss. Jenny McNeill chaired the speech contest.  Belinda Barbier and Samantha Jonas co-chaired the essay contest.  Alana Wiaduck chaired the Art contest, and Adam Sheridan the Golden Apple award.  Also assisting were attorneys Rachel Terpstra, David Kortering, Jennifer Hylland; they were joined by John Noling, Orchard View Adult and Community Ed, and David Klemm of the Muskegon Area Intermediate School District.  Judges for the 12th grade speech contest were DJ Hilson, Honorable John Ruck and Cavan Berry.  Judging the 9-11th speech contest were Honorable Maria Ladas Hoopes, Arn Boezaart, and Honorable Neil Mullally.  The Middle School Essay contest was judged by Belinda Barbier, Samantha Jonas and the entire Law Day Committee. Alana Wiaduck and the entire Law Day Committee judged the Elementary School Art Contest.

The 2018 Law Day theme was “Separation of Powers—Framework for Freedom.” The subject was extremely difficult and the judges were highly impressed by the work submitted by Muskegon area students in all areas of competition. A great job, Muskegon County Bar Association – another successful Law Day celebration promoting education and community service.