Bill Parks 'roasted'
Known for his caustic wit and ability to "stir the pot", long-time Perham resident Bill Parks was on the receiving end at a roast held last Saturday night to honor him and his wife Dessie. Unfortunately Dessie was unable to attend the event and i...
Known for his caustic wit and ability to "stir the pot", long-time Perham resident Bill Parks was on the receiving end at a roast held last Saturday night to honor him and his wife Dessie. Unfortunately Dessie was unable to attend the event and is receiving hospice care.
The evening was an opportunity for community members to say, "thanks" to Bill and Dessie, who are both dealing with serious health issues. The couple has been strong community supporters. Bill's service includes time on the City Council and a commitment to Lions International.
The Roast began with a visit from the Court Jester (aka MA) who outfitted honoree Parks with crown, cape, scepter and orb. Parks wasn't the only royal in attendance. Friends, family, and community members were joined by Lions International "Royalty". Past District Governors who had served at the same time as Parks came from as far away as Ontario, Canada. Representatives of at least 30 different Lions clubs were on hand.
Emcee Bert Nelson introduced 16 "roasters" who didn't hold back the negative. Parks' driving, stealing electricity for Christmas lights, and sampling brewery products were fair game. Parks received the jibes with good humor and sent a few back. Nelson added a few of his own barbs and quips while promising at least one person would come forward to say nice things about Parks.
There was no doubt about the underlying sentiment of the evening and it was obvious that Parks was moved. And the "nice guy" did show up in the person of City Attorney, Dennis Happel. Happel announced a likely unprecedented recognition by Perham Rotarians honoring Parks for his community service. He also presented a Rotary check for $500 for Parks' pet project - Camp KACE. The camp near Vergas serves children with various types of cancer.
Before Parks had time to recover from that bout of emotion Happel challenged those present to also contribute, raising $5,300. Thousands more were received after the evening and donations continue to come in.
An unplanned benefit of the Roast was interest expressed by Rotary members to help with Lions efforts at Camp KACE. Bill Parks may be known for, in his words, "spreading consternation", but his support of the camp and the kids served there have sparked a united goodwill effort by two sometimes rival service organizations.