Roger and Grace Grebe got the phone call while on vacation in Florida. “Am I hearing this correctly?” Roger asked his son.
“Yes” answered Tim Grebe, “Camp’s dining room burned down!”
Roger related the rest of the story to our 50th anniversary interviewers, “So what happened was, we packed our bags and headed back to Wisconsin. We came down to camp and called an emergency board meeting. Fortunately, in January of 1998, the board had decided to up the insurance on the camp’s buildings. When the dining room burned down, insurance paid for the whole building anew, creating the Lodge that is now the biggest building at camp.”
Simply put, the lodge fire was not the first time that the Grebe’s had been at camp. The first time the Grebe’s came to camp was after another disaster had struck the camp over 20 years earlier. Shortly after Theo Habel woke up to Erv Young knocking on his RV’s door in a raincoat (Read Theo Habel’s camp story for the backstory there), the Grebe’s got a call asking for help cleaning up the mess at camp. “So we came down on a Sunday morning and helped clean up the camp. I was very interested at the time about what could be done to keep a disaster like that from happening again. That was how I ended up getting involved for the first time at camp,” said Roger.
In 1983, Roger was asked to serve on the board of directors, an honor he kept for 21 years.
In 1987, Roger was appointed interim director of Living Waters. Part of his job was to look for the next full time director. He and Grace put together a presentation about camp for churches around the Midwest. They traveled through six states promoting camp. While in Michigan, Roger met Dennis Siler. “That's when I met Dennis Siler for the first time. On the Saturday night before my presentation, they had rented out a pool at a nearby school. They had the youth group there and Dennis was in the swimming pool with all these kids. Now, because Dennis was still a pretty big guy at that time, they had no success in dunking him. He always had his head above the water. So, my first impression was that this guy was passionate about Christ and about youth and that he would be a great candidate at Living Waters Bible Camp for full-time administrator.” Two years later, Dennis stepped in as full-time administrator.
Grace has been cooking for camps since the Riverside Bible Camp years.
“What’s exciting to us is that all four of our kids have either counseled or cooked or directed camps at Living Waters. We’re so glad to see our family continuing the tradition.”
“We're excited to have the 50th anniversary in August,” say the Grebe’s. “We look forward to having people that we worked with for the last 50 years here for the celebration.”