By Carol Cain
As Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson continues to recover from a serious auto accident last month, one thing he won’t have to worry about is promoting the Brooksie Way marathon coming up Sunday, thanks to his comrades.
That’s because the region’s Big Five political leaders have picked up the gauntlet on his behalf.
“Brooks can’t promote the race. So, (Detroit Mayor) Dave (Bing) and (Wayne County Executive) Bob (Ficano) and I are doing it for him,” Mark Hackel, Macomb County Executive said on “Michigan Matters.”
So too Conan Smith, chair of the Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners, who will walk together in the Brooksie Way to show solidarity for their ailing cohort.
Hackel also talked about his “Make Macomb Your Home” campaign and his Blue economy initiative.
But it was keeping the spotlight on the race that got Hackels’ attention.
The Brooksie Way was name after Patterson’s 28-year-old son, Brooksie, who died in a snowmobile accident. The race is a half marathon and a 5K and will be held at Oakland University.
Bing, who made a donation to the race, will be out of town and unable to participate. But he knows what it’s like to need your friends and colleagues to pinch hit for you.
Bing was out of commission for a month with a serious intestinal illness earlier this year.
“Do what the doctors and nurses tell you to,” Bing said when asked what advice he would give Patterson. “I was fortunate at Henry Ford (Hospital) to be surrounded by unbelievable professionals. In most cases, you don’t listen. But here, you really need to!”
Patterson’s was a passenger in a car hit by another. He left the hospital last week for an undisclosed location to recuperate. James Cram, his driver, remains hospitalized.
The senior Patterson had been a fixture at the race every year until now.
“We are going to miss Brooks terribly this week, but he will be here in spirit,” said Deb Kietzner, director of the Brooksie Way.
More than 4,000 people have signed up for the race and Kietzner expects another 2,000.
The outpouring for Patterson reinforced his impact as the hospital overwhelmed with flowers and plants. The family asked people to consider a donation to the Brooksie Way. Since then Kiertzner said they have received over $6,000 in donations.
“I want to give a heartfelt ‘thank you’ to Bob, Dave, Mark, and Conan for their support of an event that is so important to me and to the quality of life in Oakland County,” Patterson said in a press release. “We may not always agree on politics, but their support of The Brooksie Way shows just what good friends we are.”
To make a donation: The Brooksie Way
P.O. Box 81576
Rochester, MI 48308