To honor DeRoss Kinkade, a longtime local resident and the 2012 recipient of the Cottage Grove Area Chamber of Commerce Distinguished Service Award, the Bohemia Mining Days Board invited him to serve as the Grand Marshal of this year's Grand Miners Parade.
A more proper biography of DeRoss is in the works. Until it's done let us tell you what we already know about this fine upstanding member of the Cottage Grove community -- who proudly hails from Slabtown!
As the owner of Kinkade Insurance for decades in the Downtown Historic District, his old office is now occupied by Stacy's Pub. In fact, where his desk once stood is now a room named in his honor. As an insurance agent for many years, he provided peace of mind to hundreds of local residents, businesses and organizations. So it's no surprise that a whole buncha people in this town know who he is and appreciate his contributions to improve Cottage Grove.
DeRoss has earned the respect of both Slabtowners and Lematians for being a person of integrity and for his good old fashioned, do-goodin' ways.
In 1990, when the long unused warehouse behind his office building transformed into the Greater Cottage Grove Community Center, he helped the organizers find the best liability policy at the lowest rate for the building and for whatever crazy fundraising event they thought up. He also interacted positively with the variety of young-uns that frequented the youth center and often hung out next to the back door of his office as he came and went.
As a longtime member of the Cottage Grove Lions Club, DeRoss was one of the Lions who constructed those real purdy entrance signs welcomin' folks to our community from the north (at I-5, Exit 174) and from the south (on Highway 99 near the Dairy Queen).
As a Lions Club member DeRoss also swung a hammer to build the Coiner Park Gazebo -- twice! (A windstorm-downed tree destroyed the first one.) If you talk to him he'll tell ya that it was a blessing in disguise. The City's insurance company paid to replace it and the Lions had an unexpected opportunity to improve the new gazebo's design.
As a Lions Club member DeRoss helped create several Western-style false storefronts for the Bohemia Mining Days Festival. We owe a great deal of gratitude to DeRoss and the Lions Club members for givin' us the Helena Saloon, and Bohemia City Hall (just to name a few.) For years, DeRoss was one of the Lions club members who faithfully showed up on the Wednesday before BMD and helped set up Bohemia City to provide greater ambiance for our annual shindig.
The next time you're sittin' with your family and friends in Coiner Park (perhaps enjoying The Chamber's summer concerts) look around you at the nicely mowed green grass and (relatively) litter-free city park. Do the same thing the next time you walk through the Centennial Covered Bridge next to City Hall and enjoy the beautiful landscaped area along Main Street and the river. DeRoss is the guy to thank -- so give him a neighborly wave to the next time you see him driving around in the city pickup or stop and thank him the next time you're in one of the city parks and he's doin' laps on the riding lawn mower.
We're sure there's still a whole lot more good things to say about this esteemed member of our community so stay tuned...
(Photos courtesy of Cindy Weeldreyer Photography)