By Linda Lane
Sue Moore, editor of the South County News and a decades-long area activist, was honored by community leaders at an Aug. 25 “farm-to-table” dining event hosted by three Vicksburg organizations – the Cultural Arts Center, Historical Society and Farmers Market.
The evening event featured small-plate appetizers from local farms prepared by Main St Pub, small-pour pairings of wine from Lawton Ridge Winery, beer from from the Distant Whistle Brewhouse in Vicksburg and bluegrass and folk music performed by Darcy Wilkin.
Many who have worked with Moore offered comments before the event, which occurred after this edition’s copy deadline.
“I am amazed at how much passion comes out of Sue when we’re working on a project – for the project, for the organizations involved, for the people making it happen and for the people who will benefit from the project,” said Syd Bastos, director of the Cultural Arts Center.
“There are many of us here who have worked with Sue, and we all know this about her: She loves south Kalamazoo County,” Bastos said. “What makes her stand out is her ability to get things done. Her magic power is in multiplying her passion for our communities through others. The power of one becomes the power of a thousand.”
If you Google “Sue Moore Vicksburg,” over a quarter million hits provide a glimpse of her involvement with South County’s organizations and community groups. That involvement includes:
• Co-founder and editor of the South County News since it was established in 2013;
• Member of the Vicksburg Community School’s Board of Education from 1977 to 1985;
• Inaugural member of the Vicksburg Community School’s Foundation in 1983-84;
• Co-founder and board member of the Vicksburg’s Farmers Market since 2010; and
• Publisher/editor/reporter for the Commercial Express, a precursor of the South County News and owned by family-owned paper, from 1961 to 1982.
And that’s just the start.
Moore’s leadership and ability to work with others kick-started the South County News. While many small community newspapers were reducing pages and frequency of publication or closing up, Moore and a small group of other brave volunteers began publishing the non-profit newspaper in 2013.
“Sue has an incredible work ethic and dedication to her community involvement. She covers an enor-mous number of community meetings and events for the South County News. I’m amazed by her ability to keep up with the constantly changing technology, not to mention the constant pressure of deadlines, with the news business,” Steve Ellis said. Ellis is a founding and current board member of the South County News.
In Vicksburg, she’s worked with the Parks and Recreation Committee, the Fire Authority Board, and the Vicksburg Community Foundation.
“One of the reasons Sue’s accomplished so much in her lifetime is that she’s always looked at things in a positive manner, both through the lens of her camera and the writings in her newspaper,” said Vicksburg Village President Bill Adams. “She fails to look at the negative but focuses on the positive and what our village and community can be.”
“Sue Moore is the reason the Vicksburg Community Foundation exists,” said Rudy Callen, president of the foundation’s board and a school board member. “Sue does not passively participate in organizations. Sue’s vision and energy have contributed much to South County over the decades. Simply stated, Vicksburg and all of south County is a better place because of Sue Moore.”
Moore doesn’t settle for just getting something started; she looks to learn and improve it. After she worked with other community leaders to found the Vicksburg Farmers Market in 2010, she took the extra step to become a Certified Farmers Market Manager in 2012. Three fellow board members of the Vicksburg Farmers Market have much praise for Moore’s volunteer contributions:
“Sue exemplifies the ‘spirit of service’ by her commitment to improving her community. Sue’s hard work has touched nearly every aspect of community life in our Village,” Stella Shearer said.
“I admire Sue’s boundless energy and her constant desire to promote and advance Vicksburg. Sue is a leading example of what can happen if you start conversations with an attitude of positivity. Her approach seems to be one that says, ‘This seems to be a good idea. How might we make this happen?’” said John Kern.
“Sue IS Vicksburg volunteerism. She is a true visionary. Humble, devoted, passionate and driven. She sets the bar high,” Kimberly Klein said of Moore’s involvement.
Moore has never missed a year of attending the Vicksburg Rotary’s Showboat. She tackles producing the annual event’s program and coordinates its advertising.
“Sue is a community-minded person, a local who takes being a local to heart,” said another local, Dr. Lloyd Appell. “Sue does more than just report on the meetings. When she learns about something in the community, she gets interested in it and then gets active in it. For instance, she reported on many school board meetings, and then decided to run for the school board and served for two terms,” Dr. Appell said. He has worked with Moore on Showboat and served with her on the school board.
Charlie Glaes, recently retired Vicksburg school superintendent, worked with Moore “on Rotary, Showboat, the VCS Schools Foundation and other capacities. If Mercer Munn was right, that Vicksburg is the center of the universe, then Sue is the spark that initiates that sense of community and the glue that holds it together.”
Moore is a Master Gardener. She was a cheerleader at Michigan State University and boasts an impressive 66-year streak of attending 66 MSU-U of M games. She founded a chapter of Alpha Phi sorority at Western Michigan University. With earlier careers, Sue has lived in Seattle, Washington, and Springfield, Illinois.
“Having known Susie for more than 60 years, I have often marveled at how many interests one woman can have, and how deeply she delves into each of those interests. Somehow, she manages to keep all the balls in the air and do justice to them all. Sue makes good use of her time and talents, so those of us in her community are better off for having her in it,” said Nancy Fulton.
Moore has two sons, Scott and Christopher. Christopher is spearheading The Mill development in Vicksburg.
This article will likely be a surprise to Sue Moore when it is published the week of August 27. She’s not one to toot her own horn. She may not be happy about the praise aimed at her. When the redevelopment of the Mill was announced in the June 2017 edition of the South County News, Moore wrote, “It’s important to the veracity and independence of this newspaper that the public does not perceive that I personally am touting one of my own interests. What is important is that people know what is happening in efforts to improve the building and the acreage around it, hopefully to the benefit of the community.”
Sue Moore’s lifelong dedication to doing what is best for the South County communities is both undeniable and greatly admirable. She is a powerful force which benefits our communities.