The smiling children’s faces watching the 2018 Rochester Hometown Christmas Parade will have a special meaning for the Parade’s Grand Marshalls. The 2018 Grand Marshalls, Dr. Bradley and Mrs. Barbara Barnes have spent their lives working to improve the health and well being of the Greater Rochester Area’s children. In 1966, Dr. Barnes, graduate of Wayne State University School of Medicine, after his residency in Pediatrics at St. Joseph Hospital in Pontiac, became one of the first physicians to set up a pediatric practice in Rochester. A year later he built an office with Dr. Trumpour, which is now Kidz 1st Pediatrics, at 2370 Walton Boulevard. Dr. Barnes became a champion of the area’s children. He worked with the State of Michigan and insurance companies to include children in health insurance coverage. He is proud that his efforts to have all children immunized against preventable childhood diseases and their complications. He helped to establish the Pediatric Department at Crittenton Hospital (currently Ascension Providence Rochester Hospital).
Dr. Barnes served on the committee of RAYA (Rochester Area Youth Assistance) that created Rochester Community School’s ACE – the Alternative Center for Education. ACE High School provides a supportive alternative learning environment for students who would benefit from a change from the traditional high school.
The Barnes’ greatest cause is the prevention of teen alcohol, smoking and drug use. Once while speaking to a school group, Dr. Barnes challenged a group of high school students to a foot race and won due to the kids’ tobacco use. Dr. Barnes is a founding board member of the Rochester Auburn Hills Community Coalition which supports efforts to eliminate youth drug and alcohol use and smoking.
Following in his parents’ example, son Doug founded the Upper Room – A Safe Place for Teens. For the past 12 years, teens have had a place to meet in a local church building each Saturday evening, enjoying games, dancing and spending time with friends in a safe, drug and alcohol-free environment. The Upper Room offers opportunities for leadership and team building. The elder Barnes attend each week and assist with monitoring the teens as well as coordinating the volunteers.
When her children were in college, Barbara earned her Masters in Social Work, attending Wayne State University. Barbara worked for Oakland Family Services for 20 years. She continued to do social work in the pediatric office for another 10 years. Barbara has served on Rochester Area Youth Assistance for 33 years, served the PTA Council and on Rochester Community School Board for nine years. Presently, both Barnes are involved in GRAIN – the Greater Rochester Area for Inclusion Network for the advancement of opportunities for all.
While raising their family, Barbara and Bradley became active at the First Congregational Church, UCC, filling important leadership roles. Their greatest efforts were always for the children including mentoring the Church’s youth groups.
Their love and concern for young people inspired them to open their home to about 30 children who needed foster placement. They consider a few of them to be part of their family still. They adopted a boy but sadly he died in his twenties. Their own children, Brenda, Karen and Doug, have blessed them with 8 grandchildren, and their first great-grandchild is on its way. They hope that the family can be with them on December 2, 2018 to share their special day.
The Barnes are avid bicyclists, logging over 27,000 miles in the past 18 years. They can be seen riding their tandem bike on the Paint Creek Trail. Recently they have biked the number of years they have been married each year. This year was 62!
The winter months find them cross country skiing and hiking near their Rochester Hills home.
Dr. Barnes was surprised and pleased to be named Grand Marshall of the 2018 Parade. “I thought you had to be a famous person,” he joked. The Barnes are certainly famous to the generations of area children that they have served throughout their lives.
Come see the Barnes leading the Rochester Area Hometown Christmas Parade down Main Street on Sunday, December 2, 2018 at 2:00 pm, sponsored by Genisys Credit Union. The Parade is brought to you by the Rochester Regional Chamber Foundation.
The Rochester Regional Chamber (RRC) Foundation is a 501 (c)(3) organization established to provide programming and services that foster leadership, workforce development and community involvement in the greater Rochester area.