Dick DeVos isn’t the kind of guy to mess around when it comes to sticking up for the people who call Michigan their home. He has worked hard for most of his life to provide better educational options for his home state and to protect it from bad decisions made by those who don’t learn from the past. It was way back in 1991 that the city of Grand Rapids, Michigan, where DeVos was born, was considering a plan that would place a multi-purpose sports and convention center near the city’s downtown.
The plan was being put out to the public, and most people weren’t aware that similar plans had hurt Detroit during the 1970s. Thankfully, Dick DeVos had been around during that time, and he had witnessed the damage that the building of the Pontiac Silverdome and Palace of Auburn Hills had created. The arena wasn’t the problem. The real problem took place when Detroit’s sports teams the Lions and Pistons left the city. Detroit had just built an expensive arena that was now going to be empty most of the time. DeVos wasn’t about to let Grand Rapids suffer the same fate.
Without hesitating, Dick DeVos began to make some phone calls, and in the process he helped to build Grand Action. This group of leaders from the city’s business sector have helped build many structures, which have served the city well. DeVos was also able to put a stop to the construction of the arena, and this has probably saved Grand Rapids a whole lot of money.
Dick DeVos has also shared his passion for aviation with the people of Grand Rapids. He created The West Michigan Aviation Academy in 2010, which is a public school that serves students who hope to work in the aviation industry some day. The school is located in a building on the grounds of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. It began with just 80 students but now helps to educate hundreds of aspiring pilots and aviation professionals. The school is so popular with students that a public lottery is held most years, which singles out lucky students who will get the chance to study there.
Dick DeVos has continued to work very hard to improve his hometown and the state of Michigan. As a billionaire, he could choose to ride off into the sunset and live a life of relaxation and ease at any time. Instead, he has never given up on fighting for the causes he believes in and the people he loves dearly. Thanks to DeVos, Southwest airlines runs non-stop flights out of the Gerald R. Ford International Airport. He is also partially responsible for changing Michigan from a state where its residents had to be part of a union to work into a right to work state.
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