This scholarship is named in honor of the late Mr. James E. Rice, a principled man who devoted his life in support of his family, friends and community. Jim was a caring, unselfish man who was dedicated to his community and served on the Jackson Police Department for 32 years, 14 of which were as the Chief of Police. He also served as the president of the Michigan Association of Chiefs of Police. After retiring from the Jackson Police Department, he served as the Chief of Police in the Chicago suburb of Park Forest.
Jim had the amazing ability to maintain his compassion for others in a career that leaves many jaded. Jim was committed to education and the fundamental needs of kids, and headed the Explorers Club responsible for bringing Boy Scouts into the department for police training. He was the founder of the Jackson Police Cadets program which is another pre-police training program for young men and women. Jim was also heavily involved with the Jackson Public Schools Board of Trustees and quickly became president after joining the Board. After his retirement, he was elected as a Jackson County Commissioner and quickly became the Chairman of the Board of Commissioners. He was instrumental in bringing a new jail facility to Jackson County that opened in 2003 and was named after him.
Jim was also an avid outdoorsman who enjoyed hunting and fishing. He shared his great love of the outdoors with his family, friends and many others whose lives he came in contact with. Jim shared his passion for protecting and preserving outdoor resources and was compelled to pass this along to future generations. Jim and his adoration for the sport of fishing was the driving force behind the formation of many junior bass clubs that now exist throughout the state of Michigan. Not only did Jim serve as president of the local bass fishing organization, he also served for 10 years as president of the Michigan Federation of Bass Anglers.
Mr. Rice dedicated his life in support of others, chaired numerous committees, took on multiple projects and succeeded in all of them. It is only fitting that his work not be forgotten and be carried on by his friends and family by offering this scholarship for educational financial assistance to help others obtain their life’s goals as Mr. Rice was able to.