Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary offers multiple definitions for the word “impact.” One of these descriptions states, “the force of impression of one thing on another : a significant or major effect.” In speaking with those who have come to know the McBride family, it is evident that much of what this family has been involved in has impacted the community of Grand Rapids.
Husband and wife, Bill and Betsy McBride raised their three children—Tom McBride, Katie Dailey and Molly Westman—together in Grand Rapids. Sharing a love for health and fitness, the parents demonstrated this passion in their careers and lifestyle. Bill passed away in 2014 and it is clear that not only does his family remember him often, but the community does, too.
“They both were really passionate about the work they did and trying to make a difference on both a large scale and a small scale; I think they were able to really do that in the community,” Molly said.
Bill’s second home was at Itasca Community College (ICC) where he worked as a Health and Wellness professor, coached softball for 24 years and football for 16 years, and served as the college’s athletic director. He also helped coach many little league teams throughout the years and became known for working to build up many of the athletic programs at the college.
“His name comes up every time I am at the softball fields. He built a legacy with our women’s softball program and you can tell every fall when the alumni come for the annual alumni game. It shows how much those players still want to come back. He was held in high regard with coaches throughout the state and region,” Leslie Reed, Current Women’s Athletic Director at ICC, said.
Additionally, Bill is remembered for his connection he made with all of his students.
“My dad loved working with students and recruiting athletes to come to ICC, which he genuinely believed was ‘The Best Place to Start.’ He was personable and able to relate with kids of all different backgrounds and he tried to make sure that students he interacted with were able to leave with a great experience,” Molly commented.
Tom added that his father made it a point to connect with all students, whether they were involved in athletics or not. Many former players and students of Bill have reached out and expressed how much they felt that Bill truly cared for them.
“My dad, he was a true teacher. I would say he had a knack for finding the kids in class or in sports who didn’t feel like they fit in or didn’t feel like they belonged,” Tom said. “He made sure by the end that they loved his class and had a good time.”
ICC recognized the impact that Bill had on each student he worked with. The Bill McBride Student Award was started to help a male and female student each year. Students must be involved in extracurriculars, have good grades and be a good person, Justin Lamppa, the current men’s athletic director at ICC, explained.
“We try to award those scholarships to people who Bill would want to help,” Lamppa added.
Funds for the two scholarships and for athletic programs at ICC are raised at the annual golf tournament, “Chip in for McBride.” This year’s tournament is scheduled for Sept. 6 at Eagle Ridge Golf Course. Golf spots are nearly filled but community members are welcome to attend the dinner and purchase raffle tickets.
Sharing her husband’s passion for health, Betsy spent her time at the Itasca Family YMCA as the executive director for many years. Her dedication to her career was clear to anyone who interacted with her.
“My mom was equally passionate about her work at the Itasca Family YMCA. She has always really cared about the success of the Y and in her 27 years there, she worked hard to make it the best it could be and to encourage healthy living in the community,” Molly said. “She was a part of leading the Y in their capital campaign from about 2012-2015 and helped form partnerships between the Y and ElderCircle and Grand Itasca. The campaign raised around $5 million which allowed for a beautiful expansion, as well as renovations to current facilities and new equipment.”
Dale Rosier, who worked with Betsy during the capital campaign to expand the YMCA, described her with the following adjectives: Committed, dedicated, compassionate, honest and empathetic.
“The impact that Betsy has had on fitness and health in our community is evident with the growth and success of our local YMCA. You walk through the YMCA today and no matter what area you walk through, her impact is not only evident in a physical sense, no matter who you talk to, whether it is staff, members or people just visiting, they all know and will comment on how Betsy impacted their fitness/health goals throughout her career at the Y,” Rosier said.
Betsy currently lives in the Twin Cities area where she takes care of her mother.
Not only did Bill and Betsy demonstrate their love for health in their careers, but they instilled this love in their three children. While Tom, Katie and Molly all live out their parent’s passions in their own ways, each of them credits their parents for inspiring them to make a positive impact in people’s lives. Katie currently works at University of Wisconsin-Superior as an Academic Department Associate.
“My parents have influenced my life in so many ways. They have taught me to live an active lifestyle. They have shown me how to work hard and respect people. They have instilled great values in me that I now get to pass along to my children. They have taught me to help people without getting recognition and praise but instead because it is the right thing to do,” Katie remarked. “I would like to follow in my parents’ footsteps by being a great person who is committed to helping others succeed and reach their full potential. I want to make a difference!”
Molly echoed this sentiment and added that her parents taught her and her siblings to always give 100% to whatever they do. Molly works at St. Luke’s Hospital in Duluth
“I have grown up to be who I am because of the tools they gave me and the example they lead by. My parents brought us up to work hard for what we want in life and to put our ‘all’ into whatever we decide to do, no matter how big or small,” Molly said.
Tom works as a Financial Advisor at Clairmont Financial Advisors in Grand Rapids and is the Foundation Chair for the ICC Foundation. Additionally, he is the Race Director of the Running the Rapids Race in Grand Rapids, which will be held for the second time this Aug. 24. Tom was also inspired by his parents compassion for others. He also commented on his parent’s relationship with each other and how that has inspired his own personal relationships.
“My parents were truly best friends. They really pushed each other in positive ways,” Tom said. “They also were great at balancing each other out and making each other better people.”
Each day, we all have the opportunity to make a difference in the world around us. Whether that is through major community efforts or personal interactions, these moments often mean more to those around us than we realize. And while the positive effect of the entire McBride family on those who personally knew them is obvious, perhaps what is the most admirable is the continued impact they have had on those who did not know them. As family and friends of Bill, Betsy, Tom, Katie and Molly are inspired by the dedication they demonstrate, the Grand Rapids area will continue to benefit from the work the family has done and will continue as the years go on.