U.P. included in Governor’s Service Awards

An Upper Michigan non-profit agency and two individuals are among the 40 finalists for the 2013 Governor’s Service Awards. Governor Rick Snyder made the announcement today. The finalists have been selected from more than 140 individuals, businesses, and nonprofit organizations from across the state who were nominated for their commitment to volunteer service.

“I recently kicked-off the Do Something, Michigan! initiative that encouraged Michiganders to take action in their communities through volunteerism,”  Snyder said. “The 40 finalists who will be recognized at the 2013 Governor’s Service Awards are an extraordinary example of that Do Something! spirit. I thank them for their contribution to our state.” 

The finalists will be honored at an awards ceremony entitled, “An Evening with the Stars” on Tuesday, July 23, at the Frederik Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. The 2013 Governor’s Service Awards will be a theatre-style event highlighting award presentations and featuring performances by Michigan musical artists and performers, all paying tribute to the honorees.

The Governor’s Service Awards are an annual statewide recognition event acknowledging the contributions made by Michigan volunteers. This celebration is made possible only through the generous contributions of its sponsors. To date those sponsors include: Amway, Comer Holdings, Ford Motor Company, Lear, and Meijer.

The event is coordinated by the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC), the state’s lead agency on volunteerism. The MCSC strives to engage all Michigan citizens in volunteerism to address critical community challenges. It is part of the Michigan Department of Human Services.

For more information on this annual opportunity, visit www.michigan.gov/mcsc

Outstanding Volunteer Program Award
The extraordinary work volunteers accomplish in communities is often driven by an organization or club. This award acknowledges the importance this support can make in community life. The nominees in this category strive to make communities better places to live through a variety of activities or by focusing on one issue of primary importance in their community. Schools, faith-based organizations, national service programs, nonprofit organizations, and service clubs are potential nominees. The finalists are:

  • Lake Superior Hospice Volunteer Program of Marquette started as an all-volunteer organization in 1979. Since that time, Lake Superior Hospice (LSH) has maintained a strong volunteer program with more than 70 volunteers giving their time each year. These volunteers provide a variety of services to help meet the needs of individuals and their families who suffer from terminal or serious illnesses. LSH volunteers provide respite, friendly visits, music, pet or art therapy, legacy documentation, veteran-to-veteran visitation, and so much more. In addition to being a comfort and assistance to patients in hospice, the service of LSH volunteers is also greatly appreciated by the friends and families of the hospice patients, many of whom are full-time caregivers. In 2012, LSH volunteers provided more than 2,000 hours of support and helped care for more than 150 patients and their families.

Senior Volunteer of the Year
Seniors have a wealth of experience to share with their community. That is why an older adult who is taking action to make his or her community a better place is honored with this award. Nominees in this category are ages 65 or older. They may be involved with many activities or given significant time to one particular cause. The finalists are:

  • Mary Amelia Yvonne Clark (Yvonne), of Negaunee, began volunteering with the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) in 1994 and since then has logged nearly 9,000 hours of service. Beyond her commitment to the RSVP program, Yvonne is a dedicated volunteer for several other initiatives in her community. These include the senior-based crime prevention program TRIAD, for which Yvonne helps to organize the annual “National Night Out” events; the Alzheimer and Autism wanderer recovery program Marquette County Life Tracker, through which Yvonne has saved three lives; and the Marquette County Community Emergency Response Team (CERT), through which Yvonne trains in emergency rescue and survival skills to assist in times of need. Yvonne is also a lifelong volunteer for the American Red Cross and currently serves on their Disaster Assistance Team helping fire victims to find shelter, food, clothing, and more. Yvonne remains committed to volunteering because she believes by helping others, you help yourself.

Volunteer of the Year
When it comes to solving community problems, individuals really make things happen. These everyday citizens are very special people who go the extra mile for their community. This award is reserved for an individual who strives to improve the lives of neighbors, friends, community, or congregation.  Individuals nominated for this award could be adults, national service members, educators, and more. The finalists are:

  • Loren Smith of Sault Ste. Marie began serving as the Volunteer Transportation Coordinator with the Chippewa/Luce/Mackinac County Department of Human Services (DHS) office in 2001. Since that time, Loren has continued to serve 20 hours per week in the DHS office and has become a valuable and indispensable member of the DHS staff, despite his volunteer status. His primary role is to arrange for transportation of DHS clients to obtain medical services, reunite children and parents, attend child visitation or placement events, and other special requests of the DHS staff. In addition to arranging the transportation services and coordinating a team of 20 volunteer drivers to make the routes, Loren also volunteers as a driver himself. In his time with DHS, Loren has volunteered a total of 11,680 hours and given more than $254,000 of in-kind services. Outside of DHS, Loren also fundraises for Mystic Lake Summer Camp and volunteers to provide Christmas presents to needy families, collect back-to-school supplies for low-income and foster care youth, and act as a chaperone for Big Brothers Big Sisters events.