Announcements and Important Events
Remembering Harold Plaisier
On Friday, January 25th, I stood on the UC in the middle of our basketball court with long time Saderfest participant Harold Plaisier as a gym full of people applauded Harold for his commitment to Unity Christian. I stood there with Harold as we read a short script about Harold and his faithful service to ‘Saderfest - an event that Harold participated in and raised funds for the last 30 years. If you have ever joined us at the annual ‘Saderfest, you would certainly have recognized Harold – after all, the last few years he was over 65 years older than the high school students that participate. Year after year, a few weeks prior to the event, he would call to check and see if the event was still on and then he would faithfully raise pledges and participate. During the last few years Harold chose not to run through the thrown color, but instead decided to run the hills on the cross country course during the 45 minutes that we held the event.
In his own way, Harold was very excited for his January 25th recognition – not in an egocentric way or overly proud, but rather genuinely enthusiastic to have the opportunity to head to the center of the gym. When I got him from the stands, he was asking some of his relatives to take pictures and videos with their phones. At one point while we were standing out there, he said, “Jeff, we need to turn around so the people on the other side can see me.” We turned around and Harold waved to everyone. I remember thinking after the event that the night would truly be a highlight for him – and fully expected him to remember it for years to come.
When I received a text from Craig Tibbe, Harold’s nephew, just three days after the recognition, I had to read it multiple times before it registered. “Harold Plaisier went to be with the Lord this morning after suffering from a heart attack.” Really? Harold? The same Harold that I stood with at the basketball game? Harold passed on to glory at the age of 85. During the last few weeks, I listening to the book To Heaven and Back by Dr. Mary Neal. This is the story of Dr. Mary Neal’s account of her death, heaven, angels, and life again. As I listened to the book, I reflected on the thin veil that at times can exist between heaven and earth. Angels, heaven, and the Holy Spirit are not far. Harold’s passing has made me think about that nudge from the Holy Spirit that I believe we often get. I’m not sure why we held the event on January 25th or why Harold passed away just three days later, but I know that the event was special and meant something to Harold. When he called the athletic office on the morning of his passing to get 40 more programs to hand out to his sponsors, grandkids, and great grandkids, I knew that he genuinely appreciated being recognized.
When Doug VanderPloeg and I met with Harold a few weeks ago, Harold told us that we couldn’t talk about how much money was raised during the thirty years of his participation. He said it didn’t matter. We talked for well over an hour about his relationships he had made while running, the years he was able to get the highest number when adding laps (in an hour) and age together, why he got into running, and how much he valued Unity Christian. He was right about the money – his story wasn’t about that. As I reflect on the little I really know about Harold, what I think most about is Harold’s commitment. He held a firm commitment to the ‘Saderfest, and evidenced at his funeral, also his kids, grandkids, and great grandkids. Harold valued Christian Education and in particular, Unity Christian, and did his part to act on that commitment – by continuing to participate year after year and mile after mile in each ‘Saderfest. I am thankful for the time spent with Harold on those fall days and also for having the unique opportunity to stand with him at center court on a snowy Friday January evening. He will be missed next September.
- Jeff Engbers, Athletic Director
Below is the script from the January 25th Recognition of Harold Plaisier.
Harold Plaisier Recognition
Ladies and Gentlemen, at this time Unity Christian High School would like to recognize a one of a kind supporter and contributor to Unity Christian athletics. Please direct your attention to center court where Unity Athletic Director Jeff Engbers has been joined by Mr. Harold Plaisier.
Harold Plaisier has been one of our most loyal contributors to the annual fundraising opportunity we call Saderfest, otherwise known as our Sader Run for Unity Athletics. Harold began his quest to raise funds for Unity Athletics on the cinder track behind the old campus. This past fall Harold kept the streak going, running in his 30th consecutive Saderfest. Mr. Plaisier has loyally logged mile after mile for Unity Athletics. Some of his sponsors have never left his side, responding to his calls to support our athletic program each year.
After confronting health concerns when he was 55 years old, this 85-year old has logged thousands of miles running here in the Hudsonville/Jenison area and across the nation. Whether running to raise funds for Unity each year or running in marathons, including the Boston Marathon twice, Mr. Plaisier just keeps running for life, giving God the glory for each of his days on earth. Harold’s wife, Arlene, supported him in his running over the years until her death five years ago.
Harold has seen his own children, nephews, and nieces graduate from Unity, and many of his soon-to-be 23 great-grandchildren attend Christian schools here in Michigan and across the USA. Thank you, Harold, for your continued support of Unity Christian High School, our athletic fundraisers, and for your commitment to Christian education over the years!
You might ask if this 85-year old is looking to stop running? The answer is no. Harold still gets out on the roads at least twice a week in good weather, maintaining his health which he is grateful for every day. Thank you, Harold, for your loyal involvement with Unity Christian Athletics and your great attitude about a life lived well for Christ!