GRAND HAVEN, Mich. — John Siemion loved serving on the Grand Haven School Board so much, he got the school's logo and mascot tattooed on each of his arms.
For 22 years, he held a position on the board. But in the last year, he says he started to feel sick to his stomach. Doctor after doctor couldn't give Siemion a diagnosis. He put two and two together before a recent meeting.
“I started to evaluate what’s been going on with me. And I realized. All the stuff about the masking, it’s getting to me,” Siemion said.
He had no choice but to leave the board.
“Twenty-four hours later, that big pain in the stomach was gone. The emotional hurt is still there. Because, you know… I loved this job for 22 years,” Siemion said.
Current members will have to find a replacement by Oct. 2. Siemion says he fears no one will want to be in the hot seat, given how divided he says his community is.
“I was really, really hurt for several days there. This morning, I get up...and I’ve received a ton of support. Emails, messages, phone calls," Siemion said.
The words of support mean everything to Siemion, who says he never predicted ending his time on the school board this way.