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Eisenhardts named Grand Marshals of Strawberry Festival

July 07, 2010 - When you live in a small town, there are certain titles reserved for those who have dedicated their lives to serving their community.

Being named Grand Marshal of the Leonard Strawberry Festival Parade is one of those coveted titles.

This year's July 17 parade has two Grand Marshals Glenn and Pat Eisenhardt.

"It was an honor," Pat said. "It feels kind of nice. It was definitely a surprise."

Married for 49 years, the Eisenhardts have lived in Addison Township, just outside the Leonard Village limits, for 39 years.

"When my husband came up here, he was a bit of a city boy. He said 'Oh, no, we're not moving here,'" Pat noted. "I said, 'Oh, yes we are. I'm a country girl. I was raised on a farm (in Shelby Township).'"

During their time here, the Eisenhardts have served the community as successful entrepreneurs, generous donors and volunteers, and even public servants.

Glenn owns Michigan Sand & Gravel along with the excavating company that bears his name. When the fire station in Lakeville was built, it was Glenn who donated his time and machines to the project along with a holding tank for water.

Since 1983, Pat has owned Road Maintenance Corporation, which provides dust control services, road grading and gravel for private roads.

While Addison and Leonard have provided them both with a good living, the Eisenhardts have never been ones to take without giving back.

Pat dedicated 16 years of her life to serving as an elected trustee on the township board.

It was there that she burned up the phone lines searching for state grant money that would eventually enable the township to purchase the 229 acres of pristine wilderness that became the Watershed Preserve Park.

"I must have called 60 different people," she said. "We each did our own little part."

Pat's son, Eric, who runs the excavating company with her husband, has continued to help develop and enhance the township park through donations of time, labor and heavy equipment. Eric also serves on the township park committee.

Pat continues to serve on the township's fire board, something she's done for the last three or four years.

In addition to being a public official, Pat was also a member of the Addison Township Lioness Club through which she chaired many Red Cross blood drives, a cause she's extremely passionate about.

An enthusiastic booster for Leonard Elementary over the years, Pat helped establish the school's expanded library and participated in fund-raisers to purchase extra equipment for the school.

"I loved the schools at that time because they had a very country feel," Pat explained. "They weren't an ' A' school, they were a 'B' school, but it didn't make any difference to me. The kids were family. It was homey. I don't know how else to explain it."

Looking back, Pat can't imagine living anywhere else. She knows the "country girl" in her definitely made the right decision.

"I've never regretted it," she said.

CJ Carnacchio is editor for The Oxford Leader. He lives in the Village of Oxford with his wife Connie and daughter Larissa. When he's not busy working on the newspaper, he enjoys cigars/pipes, Martinis/Scotch, hunting and fishing.
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