By Julie Burrell and Ken DeLaat
Many young people cannot wait to leave the towns and communities they grew up in. It is truly a growth experience to live in a larger city, attend school in a different state, and perhaps live for awhile in parts of the country previously unexplored.
And yet often there is at some point the lure of returning home. To embrace the same familiarity that propelled the departure.
The Right Place is getting things ready to host ReThink West Michigan an initiative that seeks to entice former residents back to our area and secure the talent necessary to fill available jobs and grow our communities.
The event (Free drink, appetizers, door prize, etc) is held the Wednesday prior to Thanksgiving, a time when many return to their hometown to celebrate the holiday. There will be 5 events held simultaneously across West Michigan, each providing a casual setting where former residents can connect with community advocates and hiring employers.
We caught up with a couple of former ‘expats’ who returned to the area and asked them about their decision.
Sammi Anderson grew up in Hesperia then moved away in 2003, first to the Rocky Mountain region of Breckenridge Colorado and later to the Disney dominated city of Orlando.
“In February 2011 my Grandma called me and asked if I could move back home to Hesperia. I didn’t think about it for a second and was back in town by the middle of March. As we were driving in to town my eyes began to tear up. The water tower came into view and Miranda Lambert was on the radio singing The House That Built Me”.
“I was home.”
We asked Sammi if her return held any surprises.
“The thing that struck me the most when I moved back home was how much I had overlooked the real beauty of this place. From the rivers and lakes to the trails in the woods I couldn’t believe how much I hadn’t noticed how lucky I was.
“This is an amazing place to live. Best decision I’ve ever made.”
Lacy Stoneburner reconnected with her boyfriend from high school days and in 2009 flew across the country to the state of Washington, got married and began life as a military wife.
“When my husband reached his 20 year mark in the military, we decided to move back "home" to be closer to family. We had lived all over the country and decided we wanted to see our friends and family much more often. Every vacation we took over the years, was always back home and we would spend his block leave (military vacation) in Hesperia. We always knew we wanted to raise our family here.
“When I left Michigan I was working for Gerber Life Insurance. During my exit interview the HR manager told me, "If you ever come back to Michigan you have a job here". I loved my job and was really good at it. The company was always very supportive and I had the feeling of "family" at Gerber. “
Lacy has returned to Gerber Life where she works full time.
“I loved all the places I have been. I have lived next to the ocean and in the heart of rocky mountain country.
“But Michigan will always be my home.”
Wednesday, November 27th in Fremont at Lakes 23 from 5-7pm.
Check it out here:
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