I have the honor and privilege of representing some of the very same folks in Southwest Michigan that President Ford did during his time in Congress.

When one reflects upon President Gerald Ford, the first things that come to mind are honesty, integrity, an ability to rise above when the going got tough - never losing sight of his faith, family and his beloved roots of Southwest Michigan.

His upbringing in Michigan molded the man that Gerry Ford became - growing up in an environment that encouraged him to pursue his vision of what America should and could be.

He is a Michigan original, and folks throughout the state saw the ordinary man become extraordinary....but he was always our native son.

All our hearts go out to Betty and the entire Ford family during this difficult time.

He will soon make his final homecoming, after an extraordinary journey, to be laid to rest....with the fanfare fit for our remarkable, common man.