Railroad Person of the Year 2017


2017 Railroad Person of the Year

Rod Baker has been selected the 2017 Railroad Person of the Year. This award is sponsored by the Durand Union Station, Inc. in conjunction with Durand Railroad Days. Rod was raised in Bancroft on his family’s dairy farm along with three brothers and one sister. He attended Durand High School where he played sports. After graduation, he attended Michigan State University for a while before his interest was piqued by a chance job with the railroad. Rod’s interest in railroading started when he got a job with Canadian National Railroad between semesters at college. He started out looking for a summer job to earn money for college; however, after working for a while, he realized that he truly enjoyed his work and the part-time job soon turned into fulltime in June 1968. Rod worked as a brakeman and a conductor and remained with the railroad until he retired in 2010 after 42 years of service. Though Rod is retired and has since moved to Linden, he continues to be active in the Durand community. He still volunteers at the depot and is an active member of the Eagles Club and the VFW Auxiliary. He also had the honor of operating the freedom train from Durand to Grand Rapids during the nation’s bicentennial celebration in 1976. Rod and his wife, Lori, are parents to two sons and grandparents to six grandchildren. Since his retirement, they have enjoyed traveling to places such as Germany, Italy and the Dominican Republic. When he is not traveling, Rod enjoys playing golf, pool and spending time on his pontoon. Please congratulate Rod as he receives his award on Friday, May 19 at 6 p.m. at the Durand Union Station and wave to him as he passes by in the Railroad Days Parade. All are welcome to congratulate him on receiving this honor!!!


Past Railroad Person of the Year

     2016 Neil Randall
     2015 Richard Dean Craven
     2014 Jerry Mowen
     2013 Larry Riddle
     2012 James Vandendries
     2011 Sue Hatherill
     2010 Cliff & Marie Semple
     2009 Don Gray
     2008 Herbert Scrivener
     2007 David Lewis
     2006 Philip Perri
     2005 Robert "Brake Shoe" Brancheau
     2004 Jon Hayes
     2003 Pat Post
     2002 Robert Buck
     2001 William "Mac" McLaughlin
     2000 Ray Russell
     1999 James Mohn
     1998 Forest C. Hines
     1997 Wayne N. Roddy
     1996 J.J. Casady
     1995 Chester "Chet" Liestenfeltz
     1994 Margaret Powell
     1993 John Walworth
     1992 Lloyd Russell
     1991 Ernie Spicer
     1990 Earl Hart
     1989 Sherwood Weichner
     1988 Clare Jewell
     1987 Lloyd Eicher
     1986 Perry Parsall
     1985 Clyde Hayes
     1984 Arthur VanRiper
     1983 Tracy McClure
     1982 Anthony "Tony" Kolman
     1981 Noble Haver
     1980 Ora Goul
     1979 Eddie Crane
     1978 Frederick Tranzrow
     1977 Glenn Willie