(1993) TWO FEET AWEIGH
Past Commodore Mike Holland is a most interesting individual who was raised in the Detroit area, grew up to become a doctor who looks to cook and fish. He married his partner in life and today is happily retired, while proudly serving SBYC in its 124th year.
In 1985, Mike married Kolene, after knowing her since 1981. He immediately was blessed with Kolene’s two children who came with her. Jodi and Keith were 11 and 13-years-old when they got married, and Mike couldn’t have been happier. Kolene and Mike are proud parents of their remarkable children. Jody is a full-time Buddhist nun and Keith is a managing partner at a CPA firm in Farmington. Mike and Ko have two beautiful granddaughters as well. Amanda is 19 and attending college at Kendall School of Art, Caitlyn is 18 and going to a local college in Farmington. Mike also has two brothers who live in Phoenix.
And, of course, there is Joey – the Club pooch – as he is affectionately known. Many Club members may remember Mike and Ko’s previous dog, Dylan, who also was a common sight at the Club. There is a brick in the patio in remembrance of Dylan that says RIP Dillon, The Club Pooch! (Dylan was the original Club pooch)
Mike was born in Detroit, then his family moved to Oak Park, a small town in southeast Michigan that is about half the size of Bay City. He attended Oak Park High School, then went to Oakland University, followed by Wayne State University. However, he left college just two classes of his degree. His dad suddenly died and without hesitation, Mike went back home to help his mom. He proceeded to work as a commercial residential painter for the next five years.
Mike’s education continued when he went back to night school. He enrolled in the Illinois College of Podiatry and at the same time, finished his bachelor’s, explains Mike. “However, it was important for me to get my degree – I was the first person in my family to have a college degree”.
After his residency training at Botsford Hospital in Detroit, Mike accepted a job offer in Bay City. That was 31 years ago. After working for one year, he started his own practice. Kolene was the financial manager of Bay Haven for five years when they first came to Bay City, then for the next 20 plus years, she was Mike’s corporate manager.
Mike’s intention was to retire in 2020, however, a young man unexpectedly offered to buy his practice last year. So, in October 2017, Mike officially retired, while maintaining his medical license for possible volunteer opportunities in the future.
Mike and Ko’s newest hobby is RVing. They are enjoying it very much. After purchasing a RV, they have been very happily traveling the south, cooking outside and loving life. Speaking of cooking…Mike loves to cook and it is very interesting how he started what is now one of his favorite hobbies. When Mike was about 14, his mom got ill and ended up in the hospital. That put his dad in charge of cooking duties and his dad knew how to make things just right – salami & eggs and salami sandwiches. After seven days of that, Mike took a trip to the hospital to get help from his mom. At her bedside, he took notes as she told him what to do. And that’s how it all started. He liked cooking so much, he almost went to culinary school. He worked for a short time as a prep sous chef at a 4-star restaurant. While there, the chef convinced him to skip culinary school and head straight to med school, which he did.
Anyone who knows Mike, knows he loves to fish! He started fishing with his dad when he was about 5-years-old. On Saturdays, Mike went to work with his dad who owned a store that featured workman’s clothing, sporting goods and army surplus. When the store was slow, his dad closed early and put a sign on the door, “Gone fishing with my son”. They spent many hours fishing in the Detroit River. Today, he continues his love of fishing on the Saginaw Bay.
Even though he loves to fish, it was Kolene who instigated their first boat purchase. Ko grew up spending her summers at a waterfront cottage and she loved the water. When the decision was made to move to Bay City, Kolene said, “If we move there, we need to buy a boat”. So, with his first paycheck, Mike and Ko put a down payment on their first boat, a 22 ft. Chris Craft Scorpion.
Over the years, the boats got bigger…27 feet, 38 feet, 43 feet and finally their current 50 ft. power boat aptly named “Two feet Aweigh”. (One of his previous boats was named “Sole Pleasure”.)
Mike originally had a slip at Liberty Harbor. But 25 years ago, he was approached by the Brennan family. Bill and Jim told him, “You need to be at the yacht club. You are a doctor, you shouldn’t be at the city marina”. So, in 1993, Mike and Ko became SBYC members sponsored by Bill and Jim Brennan. For years, they kept a dual slip at Liberty, but these days they are strictly docked at SBYC when they’re not cruising.
For many years, Mike and Ko enjoyed just being members of SBYC, then one day about eight years ago, Greg Becker said, “You need to be on the board”. Mike tried to say he was far too busy, but Greg was persistent and said it was just one Wednesday a month. Four years later, Craig Taunt asked him to be a flag officer, and the rest is history.
THOUGHTS on being the SBYC COMMODORE
In regards to being commodore, Mike says, “It’s been truly a blessing. I love the yacht club, I love the people. I want to see the Club prosper another 125 years and continue growing to maintain its 5 star rating”.
He cannot say enough about the camaraderie of fellow members. He believes it is one of the most important benefits of membership.
Mike also would like to see more people get involved on the board level. “It is just one day a month for eleven months a year,” he explains. “When asked, please say yes”.