James Cook, Professor of CAD/Drafting, at Glen Oaks Community College has a gentle air of authority that comes from three decades in the classroom. Professor Cook is also a coordinator for Volunteers in Police Services with the Sturgis Police Department. Cook has spent hundreds of hours since joining the volunteer program in May 2005 assisting the Sturgis police by “basically doing the things that don’t need to be done by a uniformed policeman.” His duties may include business door checks, radar speed checks, home security checks for residents on vacation, traffic control at parades and sporting events, and even helping see that police cars are washed and repaired.
Cook was recently recognized for his service coordinating the five person volunteer police team. Each of the team members was also recognized and received the letters of commendation. Sturgis Police Deputy Chief David Ives recommended Cook for The President’s Volunteer Service Award. The certificate came with a Letter from the White House signed by former President George W. Bush. An accompanying letter from the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation congratulates Cook for earning the President’s Volunteer Service Award.
The award recognizes Cook’s dedication to volunteer service and signifies his unselfish service to the community and nation. “Through your volunteer efforts, you are demonstrating values that make our nation strong and you are helping to build a culture of citizenship, service and responsibility in America. By volunteering, you have joined a remarkable team that includes millions of Americans whose everyday acts of kindness and decency make our country a better place,” wrote Jean Case, Chairperson of the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation.
Cook explains, “I enjoy doing it. My dad, brother and an uncle were all in the Michigan State Police. I had thought about joining them, but after military service I checked and found the height limit was 5’ 10” and I was 5’ 9”.” So Cook went after another field he enjoyed: Teaching. “But there will always be a part of me that loves police work and I guess this answers that,” he said.
His volunteer service in law enforcement and elsewhere were also the basis of a 2009 Sturgis Exchange Club Salute to Volunteerism Award. Cook was one of four individuals to receive the 19th annual award presented by the club as part of Michigan Week festivities. The Exchange Club of Sturgis honors individuals who volunteer unselfishly of their time and talents in order to improve the Sturgis community.