Recognizing good works and hearts

Published 1:13 pm Thursday, August 14, 2014

“People need appreciation from more persons than they need love from one person.” — Amit Kalantri


A couple of weeks ago, a gentleman I hadn’t met walked into my store and said he had wanted to meet me. He proceeded to compliment me on my articles, which bathed me in a wash of gratitude hearing that my writing gave him pleasure.

We then conversed about Cassopolis and he asked if I knew about the Cruise In’s that happen in the summer.

I replied affirmatively telling him that Roger Pecina did them and they are wonderful. He agreed and said he didn’t personally know Dr. Pecina, but was impressed and appreciative of all the things he has done in the Village, and the huge personal investment he has made.

The gentleman, who asked to remain anonymous, softly evoked that sometimes, people who do big things are not given the true recognition they deserve. I thought about this and nodded. He then referred to my writing and the light bulb finally went off — he was asking if I would write his appreciation, in fact, everyone’s gratitude toward someone who has taken the worn out and created beauty.

I have to admit I’ve hesitated. It isn’t that I, more than most, know exactly how much Roger Pecina has invested in Cassopolis, and I am not referring to just the finance side, but the heart of a man who desires to help revitalize and leave better the place and the people he loves.

However, it was my first request from someone to write on a specific topic, a person, but I knew I couldn’t ignore it because it isn’t about the author, it is about the story.

As time ticks by, landscapes change. In many cases it is debilitating, as buildings stay empty, boarded up and silent with only memories of once bustling activity.

Eventually these buildings reach a point of no return and are bulldozed, leaving only a flat surface of cement or weed-infused grass covers to blanket the grave of the former foundation. This would have been the fate of the former sad, blue gas station overlooking Stone Lake, if Roger Pecina hadn’t breathed new life into it by reaching into the past to create an astounding piece of nostalgia in the form of our very own Sinclair Station.

The pleasure it brings to hearts to look up and smile at Dino standing guard atop it, the memories recalled of days passed when Sinclair Stations dotted America and the opportunity to pull in and take photos. This is something very few villages can claim. The fact that Roger doesn’t charge anything for the experience is priceless.

The restoration didn’t stop atop the hill. It continued on Broadway with a spectacular speak easy experience at his Holden Green Tavern. Currently private, but available to rent, it is a venue hearkening to a time when Bearcats dotted the establishment.  Bearcats, by the way, were lively, spirited women of the 1920s, possibly with a fiery streak.

He didn’t stop downtown though; he also has the Mahogany Outfitters Boat Museum on State Street loaded with classic cars and boats galore. This is the site of the Monday night Cruise Ins he hosts in the summers where he provides complementary hot dogs and drinks. What’s incredible is you can take the whole family to enjoy it and it doesn’t cost you a dime. A rare concept in this day and age, a rare man.

The Cruise Ins are finished this year but the museum is still open, as is Roger’s heart. For it was at one of them this summer that I attended with Darin Boyles, a friend of mine, who is another man doing great, big things in Cassopolis, when upon greeting Dr. Pecina, Roger exclaimed, “You’re my hero!”

I knew it was in reference to Darin taking on the old masonic lodge building and restoring it as an event venue, Turtle Lodge Event Venue — Historic 1860 Courthouse. It did take me by surprise as I wasn’t expecting someone who has done so much to consider another following the same path as his hero. Then again, who better?

There have been many generous donations, gifts and help Roger has given to Cassopolis and his neighbors here. I’ve personally witnessed many of them but the biggest is himself. If you’ve never met him, you should, because you will see his greatest gift to this village is his heart. To see and learn more visit

I would like to close by inviting each and everyone to the next 3/3 CommUNITY Potluck, this Sunday, (3rd Sunday of each month at 3 p.m.) held at Turtle Lodge Event Venue.

Bring a dish, bring your place setting and a drink and most of all bring your smile and your heart.


CeeCee Wilson is the organizer of Cass Can, Inc. and owner of Last Tagine in Paris, LLC. Find them on Facebook.