UP Catholic 02 24 2017 E Edition Page 7

www.upcatholic.org THE U.P. CATHOLIC CATHOLIC SCHOOLS February 24, 2017 7 BY VICTORIA LAFAVE SPECIAL TO THE U.P. CATHOLIC Rick Popp has been chosen as the 2017 Distinguished Alumnus for Sacred Heart School in LAnse. The award is given each year to a SHS alum that evangelizes through his/her life and shows exactly what it means to live their faith, as well as give back to their community. Popp attended SHS from first grade in 1971 through fifth grade, leaving in the summer of 1976. His family then moved to Iron Mountain, where he attended Dickinson Area Catholic School (now Bishop Baraga Catholic School) from sixth through eighth grades. Popp is employed by the Ford Mo- tor company, and says he attributes much of his success in his career life to his Catholic faith, beginning with his time as a student at SHS. Learning to pray, understanding the basics of the Mass, small classes with fully engaged teachers, a small venue with students of various ages, those active recesses, and so on, were my initial foundation for academic, social, and spiritual growth. Some of his most poignant memories from his childhood are from his days as a SHS student. I remember the nuns, most so nice, and a couple that literally put the fear of Jesus in me, he said. The few lay teachers, like Mrs. Marcott, seemed like the greatest teachers a kid could have as well. Occasionally, a priest would come in and share his thoughts. There were many fun times he re- membered as well. Recess was always outstanding, with notorious kick-ball games. He also reminisced that he very much enjoyed being an altar server, usually with his brother, Bill. We would at times stay for two or three Masses on a Sunday It was truly a wonderful experience. At the Ford Motor Company, Popp currently serves as director of human re- sources for global marketing, sales, and service, corporate communications, and government and community relations. Popp has been in his current position since 2013, and has worked for Ford Mo- tor Company for over 26 years, holding various positions within the company. Popp explained how his Catholic faith helps him in dealing with different peo- ple on a daily basis as human resources director: Human resources is literally all about people, from those who are considered superstars who are on a roll, all the way to those having serious dif- ficulty personally or professionally who need extra support, he explained. In attempting to create a great place for employees to work, I believe Im aligned with Catholic Social Teaching. My Catholic faith has helped me to have patience and empathy in dealing with all types of people, whether or not they share similar values, backgrounds, skills, or faith. And although I must be careful with how I speak about my faith in the workplace, I am very proud to make it known that I am a Catholic and that my faith drives my life. I only hope that I do so in a way that is attractive to those who struggle with finding the truth. Though he has a successful career, Popp believes his most important role is that of father and husband. Rick and his wife of more than 26 years, Sue (Will- son) Popp, whom he credits for being his daily influence of Christian goodness, have two sons, Isaiah and Sam. Besides being a former student at SHS, Popp has other ties to the Upper Peninsula as well. He holds a masters degree in public administration, with an emphasis in personnel and labor relations, and a bachelors degree in computer science, both from Northern Michigan University. He also serves on the Board of Trustees for NMU. His sons are following in his footsteps by attending NMU as well: Sam is cur- rently a sophomore at NMU, majoring in business and marketing, and is on the mens soccer team. Isaiah is a senior at Detroit Catholic Central, and will be attending NMU in the fall. According to Rick, Isaiah was a key player in the Catholic Central state finalist football team as a receiver, a defensive back, and a punt and kick returner. Isaiah recently signed a letter of intent to play football for NMU, with plans on majoring in art and design. Popp and his family lived in Mexico City for three years. During which time, Popp was director of human resourc- es at Ford of Mexico. While there, the family became part of a small En- glish-speaking group that was a subset of a huge parish, Nuestra Seora de Lourdes, where, in his words, we were needed to participate in every aspect of the Mass and the church community. That experience brought all of us even closer to God and our Blessed Mother. Currently, Popp and his family are active members of Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plymouth, Mich. This is one of the Catholic parishes that has been instrumental in his faith life for almost 20 years. Starting with Sacred Heart School, then moving to Iron Mountain and Immaculate Con- ception Parish, a few other parishes as we moved around a bit, most notably Nuestra Seora de Lourdes in Mexico City, and now with the fantastic Our Lady of Good Counsel Parish in Plym- outh, I have been extremely blessed to have great clergy, laypersons, and Cath- olic brothers and sisters. We continue to need each other to fight the good fight to the very end. For more information on Sacred Heart Catholic School, contact the school at (906) 524-5157 or visit www. sacredheartlanse.org or find Sacred Heart Catholic School on Facebook. Sacred Heart School awards distinguished alumnus HAPPY 85TH BIRTHDAY TO DEACON ROLAND CHALTRY! Thank you for the prayerful presence you continue to offer our Parish family. -From Fr. Michael & your Holy Redeemer Parish Family HONORING OUR WOMEN RELIGIOUS Please consider placing an advertisement of gratitude for an individual Nun, Sister or a Religious Order in our upcoming Women Religious Issue. Issue Date: 3/31/17 Ad Cut-off: 03/10/17 Contact Deacon Steve 1-866-452-5112 upc@new.rr.com COOPER OFFICE EQUIPMENT Full Copier Line From Tabletop To Networkable Digital Laser Systems (906) 228-6929 Phone 800-432-7682 Fax 800-908-8542 Purchase & Lease Options Authorized KONICA Printers-Copiers Dealer COURTESY PHOTO Rick Popp (center) with his Distinguished Alumnus Award, along with Sacred Heart School Principal Christy Miron and Father Corey Litzner. COURTESY PHOTO

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