Frank Cordts retires, chosen Morenci Citizen of the Year 2012.06.27

Written by David Green.

By DAVID GREEN

frank cordts

Morenci police officer Frank Cordts wasn’t too keen on the idea of a retirement party, but he got one anyway.

“Frank, we’re having a reception,” police chief Larry Weeks told his veteran officer recently. “I hope you show up.”

Cordts was there and so were dozens of family members, friends and area residents who gathered to honor Cordts upon his retirement from the squad.

Cordts did it all and saw it all during his four decades with the police department, starting off in 1972 as a part-time officer and serving as chief for many years.

City council member Tracy Schell welcomed the crowd of well-wishers Thursday night at the Legion home.

“We really appreciate all the time and great work that you put in for the city of Morenci,” she said. “It’s very appreciated.”

Weeks said that he promised to keep the evening low key, but added, “I truly want to honor Frank’s years of service that he’s put in.

“I’ve been in law enforcement for about 22 years and know that it’s a very difficult and challenging job,” Weeks said.

Events transpire that leave scars of varying kinds, from physical to emotional.

“To have done this job for 40 years, with the pressures it presents, is really an amazing feat,” Weeks said. “I hope you give pause and think about what it takes to work in this job for as long as Frank did.”

Police officers are often thought of as tough guys working in tough situations, said administrator/city clerk Renée Schroeder, but she told about another facet of the policeman.

“One January—the coldest day of the winter and with a huge snowstorm—Frank walked in with a tiny little kitten that he found in a snowbank and said, ‘We’ve got to do something with this little guy.’”

After it hung around city hall for a couple of days, Frank found a good home for the cat.

“I’ve seen the soft side of Frank,” Schroeder said, “and I wish him a very, very happy retirement.”

After the reception, Morenci mayor Keith Pennington added his thanks, saying, “the measure of a police officer is rarely known until there is a call for help. I am pleased every time I get a good report from a citizen extolling the way Frank handled the situation, and there have been many.”

“For that type of service,” the mayor said, “the community thanks him.”

Chief Weeks told Cordts that he appreciates the opportunity to have worked with him during the past decade, and added, “and I appreciate calling you a friend.”

Cordts told the crowd that he never expected such a turnout of people.

“I thank you for supporting me over the years and I thank you for being here tonight,” he said. “It means a lot to me.”

He may be leaving the police force, he said, but he will continue being a friend and family member as he has for the past 40 years.

Citizen of the Year

First, let me say I am honored to receive the nomination for the Citizen of the Year. It makes me and my family proud that I am being recognized for my many years of commitment and service to  my community.

How did you end up in Morenci? 

I graduated from Pittsford High School in 1968 and went to work at M&S Manufacturing Co. in Hudson. In May of 1969 I was laid off and transferred to Morenci. I didn’t like the 18-mile drive, so in August of 1969 I moved to Morenci and I have been here ever since.

List three things you really like about Morenci.

Morenci is caring, friendly and has nearly everything a person needs.

In what ways have you seen Morenci change over the years?

Over the years I have seen many changes in Morenci including a loss of industry. When I moved here there were nine full-service gas stations, five bars, three hardware stores, a lumber yard, a mill, two grocery stores, a meat market, a Ma & Pa grocery, party stores, a furniture store and a clothing store. Everything a person needed was here. That has since been swallowed up by the big chain stores, and what a shame.

List some of your contributions to the community.

In 1972 I joined the Morenci Police Department. At that time, I set a goal of working for the department for 40 years and have just complete that. I have given of myself through thick and thin and I am proud of my contribution to Morenci.

Describe your most difficult day on the job or any difficult day.

I had some tough days, the most difficult being two fatal house fires in recent years. Those took a heavy emotional strain on me that I will carry with me the rest of my life.

What’s the most rewarding part of your job?

I was rewarded every time I went to work and was able to, in some way, give someone I came in contact with a better outlook on their day.

Who are your family members?

I am blessed with my family. They include a son, Christopher Cordts and his wife and three children in Morenci; a son, Allen and his wife and three children in Warren, Mich.; and my fiancée, Melinda Shirley and her daughter, Cabria. I am the youngest of 12 children and I have my extended family—the wonderful citizens of Morenci.

If you had your life to live over, what would you do differently?

Absolutely nothing. From where I came from and my deprived childhood, I am finally very satisfied with my life and my accomplishments.

  • Front.nok Hok
    GAMES DAY—Finn Molitierno (right) celebrates a goal during a game of Nok Hockey with his sister, Kyla. The two tried out a variety of games Saturday at Stair District Library’s annual International Games Day event. One of the activities featured a sort of scavenger hunt in which participants had to locate facts presented in the Smithsonian Hometown Teams exhibit. The traveling show left Morenci’s library Tuesday, wrapping up a series of programs that began Oct. 2. Additional photos are on page 7.
  • Station.2
    STRANGE STUFF—Morenci Elementary School students learn that blue isn’t really blue when seen through the right color of lens. Volunteer April Pike presents the lesson to students at one of the many stations brought to the school by the COSI science center. The theme of this year’s visit was the solar system.
  • Front.leaves
    MAPLE leaves show their fall colors in a puddle at Morenci’s Riverside Natural Area. “This was a great year for colors,” said local weather watcher George Isobar. Chilly mornings will give way to seasonable fall temperatures for the next two weeks.
  • Front.band
    MORENCI Marching Band member Brittany Dennis keeps the beat Friday during the half-time show of the Morenci/Pittsford football game. Color guard member Jordan Cordts is at the left. The band performed this season under the direction of Doyle Rodenbeck who served as Morenci’s band director in the 1970s. He’s serving as a substitute during a family leave.
  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.

Weekly newspaper serving SE Michigan and NW Ohio - State Line Observer ©2006-2016