MANISTIQUE - If there's a job to be done in the community of Manistique, chances are Jim Barr has done it.
Barr, a lifelong resident of Manistique, has been named the 2012 Folkfest Hero, and will be honored at this weekend's Folkfest celebrations.
Barr, 77, was born and raised in Manistique, and has been involved in the community for many years, serving in various capacities.
Growing up, Barr attended school at St. Francis de Sales Catholic School, and later, Manistique High School. He then attended an automotive diesel electric school in Chicago before returning home to work at Manistique's Chartier Garage & Service Station for 13 years. He also worked in the diesel shop at the mine Port Inland for 27 years, and a half-shift at the Manistique Schools Bus Garage, where he recalls training Maurie Cousineau and Hank Messer. During his time at Inland, Barr also served as Manistique Township supervisor for 30 years, playing a vital role in getting roads paved for the citizens and school buses that traveled them.
Barr has served on the Brownfield Redevelopment Authority, is on the construction committee for the local Habitat for Humanity, and has served as the Manistique Boy Scouts Troop 400 Scoutmaster for approximately 45 years. He has previously served as president of Manistique High School's Athletic Booster Club, and has served on the board for the Gulliver Historical Committee for many years. He has also volunteered as tour guide at the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse for 20 years, and is a member of St. Francis de Sales Catholic Church.
Barr is also chairman for the Cancer Bay Cliff-Community Charities (CBC) fund-raisers in Manistique, where he previously served as co-chair. Barr was married to the former Shirley Blanchard in 1955 until her passing in 2001. He then married the former Marie Grover in 2004.
Barr has four sons: Alan, Brian, Corey, and Douglas, and five step-children. Combined, he and Marie have nine children, 16 grandchildren, and five great-grandchildren.
"It sure was a shock to me when they called me," said Barr, of being notified of his recognition. "I had never, ever thought that that would happen. I know other people had said something to me over the years about it, and I just washed it away because I never thought of myself as being a Folkfest Hero. I'm just flabbergasted."