Former Holland mayor H. Dale Prentice is returning to local politics after a 30-year hiatus.
"I'm young enough, alert enough, energetic enough and have had enough experience that I can still contribute to this community," the 67-year-old said. "The younger people on council can maybe show me the ropes, get me back into this stuff."
The council recently appointed Mr. Prentice to replace Chester Bartkavage, who resigned because he moved to Whitehouse. Mr. Prentice had a long career in construction and wants to concentrate on planning and development issues in the village.
"He has been a huge asset because of his construction knowledge," said councilman Robert Simpson.
Mr. Prentice was elected to village council in 1965 and traded in his seat for the mayor's position three years later. He left politics in 1973, shortly after he decided to foster a relationship with God.
"There's nothing more important in a person's life that can happen besides that relationship," he said.
Mr. Prentice said his spiritual revelation came shortly after his father's death in 1970. It was a time when he took another look at his own life, especially when some of his family members asked him to pray for them.
"I didn't know how to pray," he said. "I was searching for things, and apparently He was working in my life."
In January 1971 Mr. Prentice stepped forward at Holland Free Methodist Church and invited God into his life.
His newfound faith prompted him to resign from politics, he said.
"I needed to take the time to study. I actually became a student of the Bible," he said. "I felt that I needed a clear mind."
He continued his work as a superintendent at the Lathrop Co. in Maumee, where he worked for 28 years. He also served on the governing boards of two churches, where his old talents found new uses.
"Dale really has a lot of expertise in construction and maintenance that was really helpful to
us," said Bob Litten, who was on the Calvary Assembly of God board with Mr. Prentice. "He's good at getting things done."
He has been attending council meetings for the last year because he was interested in improvements made on Clark Street, where he lives. He wants to be involved in planning a senior center for the village.
His wife of 50 years, Betty, isn't surprised her husband is taking on new challenges.
"He likes to be doing something all the time," she said. They spend free time taking walks and morning drives, putting together puzzles, and visiting their three children, eight grandchildren, and a great-grandchild.
"We're always together," he said. "We found out you renew a lot of things when you retire."
A political career is one of them.
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