PORTAGE, Mich. (WOOD) — Longtime Portage resident Gordon Willis has earned himself quite the reputation over the past two decades. At 92 years old, he can’t do as much as he used to, so the kitchen is where he spends a lot of time. 

“I retired in like pretty much in 2000, so I’ve been retired for over 20 years and I don’t think it was long after I retired that I started making fudge,” Willis said. “I used to make a little fudge for ourselves and then I started handing some out to some of the neighbors and they said that’s awful good stuff.”

Willis eventually decided to start dropping fudge off for other community members, including hospital staff, church members, police officers, and firefighters. 

“I try to put fudge where people need to know that they’re loved and that they’re wanted and that they are serving a real good purpose for us.”

“It’s wonderful when citizens like Mr. Willis come out and show their support,” said Portage Department of Public Safety Officer Michael Schumacher. 

Willis became known within the department as “the fudge guy.”

“For about seven years of my 10, I’ve worked the night shift. So if I’m lucky enough, there might be a couple of pieces of fudge left after the day shift is through with it,” Schumacher said. 

Willis recently stopped by the department to make his rounds and told staff he’d misplaced his cane.

“The property clerk just put out an email asking if anybody has a spare cane around maybe we could help him out,” Schumacher explained. 

After all the kindness Willis has shown the department, Schumacher didn’t hesitate to step up. 

“I went and bought the cane at a local medical facility here and then thought because he’s supported us so much to make it a little special and try to get it a little pizzaz.”

He added Portage Department of Public Safety graphics to the cane and stopped by Willis’ house to surprise him. 

“If I would have been able to, I would have done a jig,” Willis joked. “But my feet don’t work like they used to, so I can’t do that, and my voice isn’t that good anymore, so I couldn’t sing a song, but I was really happy, and it is a blessing.”

For as long as he’s able, Willis plans to continue showing his appreciation for people who impact his life. 

“I hope to continue making fudge right up ’til the good Lord calls me home.”