Brocks named grand marshals of Suring parade

Four-day community celebration starts Aug. 30
NEW Media Staff

SURING — The Maple Valley town chairman and his wife have been named grand marshals of the 2019 Suring Labor Day parade.

Russel and Barbara Brock will preside over the 89th annual parade through downtown Suring on Sept. 2. The 10 a.m. parade is the culmination of four days of festivities in the village starting Aug. 30.

“We would like to express our thank you to all of those who have and continue to make the Suring Labor Day celebration possible. We know it takes a lot of work and dedication to make it happen,” the Brocks said in a statement. “Thank you for the honor; we know that there are many in our community more deserving, and that’s what makes our community such a great place to live. It’s the people!”

The Brocks, who will have been married 55 years this April, have three children: Brenda Long, who with her husband, Bruce, operates B-Long Holsteins Dairy Farm near Bear Creek; Rodney Brock, a surgical tech at St. Vincent Hospital in Green Bay, is married to Brenda; and Ryan Brock of Gillett, who with his wife, Johna, operates R Brock Farms. The family’s four-generation farm consists of 400 head of dairy cattle and more than 600 acres of cropland.

Russel Brock is still active on the farm, saying he truly enjoys being a farmer. The Brocks have eight grandchildren — five through college, one in the U.S. Air Force, one in Utah and one in high school.

The Suring Labor Day Celebration committee provided an overview of information shared by the couple:

Russel Brock remembers as a boy going with his parents, Raymond and Marjorie Brock, to the Suring Labor Day parade and then down to the park for a hamburger and socializing. The Brocks have carried on this tradition with their family, and the parade is still center in their Labor Day celebration.

He helped build many floats and participated in the parade as a member of the Maple Valley 4-H Club for 12 years. Their children became members of the same 4-H club, then Barbara became a 4-H leader. The floats got built in the R Brock Farms machine shed and were pulled by one of the farm tractors or trucks with their kids riding, walking or driving in the parade. The grandkids have continued the tradition, and the couple has had the privilege of seeing them in the parade.

Beyond 4-H, Russel and Barbara Brock have had community and public service positions at the local, county, state and federal levels.

He volunteered to serve in the Wisconsin National Guard and was on active duty at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri, Fort Ord, California, and Fort Lewis, Washington, and obtained the rank of sergeant before receiving an honorable discharge.

They are members of Gillett FFA Alumni, Suring Area Historical Society, Gillett Historical Society and lifelong members of Maple Valley Community Church, where Russel has served as a Sunday school teacher, Sunday school superintendent and financial secretary of the board. His wife serves on the food committee as well as as a Sunday school and Bible school teacher.

Russel has been a director of the Oconto County Farm Bureau, serving as policy chair and voting delegate. Barb is on the women’s committee.

He was a member of the Gillett Board of Education for 27 years, 10 years as president.

Much of his public service has been as chairman of the USDA Oconto County Agricultural Stabilization and Conservation Committee and Farm Service Agency. This committee oversees all federal farm programs in Oconto County. He also served as chair of the Oconto County Board’s Land Conservation Committee as well as chair of Lake Michigan Land and Water Conservation Association.

He chaired the Wisconsin State Land and Water Board and served on the Wisconsin state ASCS and FSA Committees under both Bush administrations. This committee oversees all federal farm programs in the state.

The two positions required many hours of driving to and from Madison and reading hundreds of pages of information.

“It was worth the effort,” he said, “if for no other reason than to make sure that the people in Madison realize there is something north of Green Bay.”

Russel was always active in dairy organizations, including the Wisconsin American Dairy Association, where he chaired the resolutions committee. He served on the boards of Morning Glory Farms AMPI region and Foremost Farms.

In addition to serving as chair of Town of Maple Valley, Russel is currently a member of the NEWCAP board.

Russel is quick to say that he never could have accomplished these things without the help of Barbara, who took care of family and watched over the farm operation while he was gone.

“We’ve made a good team,” he said. “She somehow found time to be a 4-H leader and be a great mother to our children.”

The Blocks said they both believe we all need to give back of our time to our God, family, community and country, and that one or two people can make a difference for the better.

“Public service and volunteerism are among the things that have made our country a great place to live,” he said.