Last ride planned for owner of towing service

Becky Vargo • Jul 26, 2019 at 7:00 AM

Coopersville-area residents are encouraged to line the city’s streets late Saturday morning when the family of Ken VanDoorn gives their loved one his last ride in a tow truck.

The owner of John’s Towing Services died July 17 after a battle with cancer. He was 55.

Lt. Jon Alkema of the Wright-Tallmadge Fire Department said emergency services vehicles from several area departments will join the family in a procession following the funeral at Coopersville High School.

The funeral is at 10 a.m. The procession is expected to begin at about 11:30 a.m. It will start at Coopersville High School, go north on East Street, west on Cleveland, south on 68th Avenue, east on Randall, north on 64th Avenue, and then east on Main Street.

Alkema said fire department personnel heard that other towing companies were joining in on the last ride and that firefighters and police decided to join, as well.

“We’re just trying to do this so the family can see all of his support in the community,” Alkema said.

The lieutenant spoke fondly of the late towing company owner.

“We have worked with Ken as a fire department for a lot of years,” Alkema said. “Any extrication training we held, he would supply the cars and not take any payment. Not a gift card or anything. He would give you the shirt off his back. He would do anything for anybody.”

Alkema said VanDoorn was always happy, always laughing and always making jokes – even when he was battling cancer.

As of Thursday, Alkema said he has commitments from Coopersville-Polkton, Wright-Tallmadge, Chester (Conklin), Ravenna, Spring Lake and Allendale fire departments to be part of the procession. Some Ottawa County Sheriff’s Office deputies, a Life ambulance and possibly Shields of Hope are also expected.

VanDoorn’s family has requested that, in lieu of flowers, any donations be made to Shields of Hope, 29 W. Main Ave., Zeeland, MI 49464; or Spectrum Health Hospice, 100 Michigan St. NE, Grand Rapids, MI 49502.

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