2013 Evergreen Award winner announced

From Upper Peninsula Home Health a Hospice:

MARQUETTE COUNTY – Recognized for being a visionary for women and children to reach their potential, especially in Marquette County and numerous areas in the community, Michele Butler was honored as recipient of the 2013 Evergreen Award of Marquette County.

The award was announced at the 2013 Evergreen Award Luncheon held at the Northern Michigan University Great Lakes Rooms on Monday, October 21.

The Evergreen Award is a regional award, and is organized by the Zonta Club of Marquette Area. The award is open to men and women of Marquette County who are inspirational in their roles as mentors of women and girls. The selection committee evaluated the nominees based on how they demonstrated excellence, creativity and initiative in their professions or as volunteers.

This year’s recipient, Michele Butler:

· Is a long time resident of the U.P.

· Is one of two children

· Is a graduate of Marquette Senior High School

· Attended Northern Michigan University receiving an undergraduate degree in secondary education, speech communication and Spanish and a master’s degree in education

· Loves to golf

· Loves to travel

· Has been involved with the Noquemanon Trail Network and the Historical Museum campaigns

· Has served on several boards, including the NMU Alumni Board

· Has been active with the Marquette County Ambassadors

· Is a founding member of Art on the Rocks

· Started the Rotary Pancake Breakfast and Golf Outing which supports many local organizations

· Is a tireless supporter, member, contributor – or all three – to all the Rotary Clubs, the Rotary Harborfest, Bikefest, the UP 200, the International Food Fest, Marquette Senior High School, Special Olympics, Law Enforcement, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Habitat for Humanity, Marquette Junior Hockey, Jacobetti Home for Veterans, Salvation Army, NMU Wildcat Club, UP Children’s Museum, Northern Michigan University athletics and NMU students, the United Way of Marquette County, and the Greek Orthodox Church

· Grew up in Oregon moving to Marquette as a teenager

· Worked at Bimbo’s Pizza while attending NMU

· At 22, became a restaurant owner and subsequently has owned partnerships in many businesses over the years

· Enables and creates entrepreneurs in our community, providing loans, business models, low rent and promotion within the community

· Kept the doors open on a 3rd street bakery and gave an aspiring widowed leader her first opportunity to grow a business and prosper in a career she loves

· Gave some of the people in this very room their start – their first or second job, and taught them the ropes, cheering them on as they excelled

· Is very well known as an effective communicator who is not afraid to ask for what is needed – the bigger the challenge, the more important the need to succeed

· Was the driving force in bringing the YMCA, our recipient’s passion to Marquette County. This passion was grounded in the belief that all kids need a chance to grow up strong – physically, spiritually and otherwise and the Y provides a healthy place to play and learn

· Became the founding chair of the YMCA in Marquette County in the late 1990s, heading a fundraising campaign that raised more than $3 million to run and construct the facility. Today the organization has 5,000 members and it is hard to imagine our community without it

The recipient’s nominators wrote in their nomination submission: “Today, if you were to ask us who we’d like our daughters to aspire to be – who to model their lives after…and it’s not so easy…The Internet. Facebook. Twitter. Drugs. Alcohol. Stalkers! What’s safe? Who do we turn to? Who’s giving us good examples to model our behavior? Who’s taking the time to create strong work ethics and lead the next generation into business? Creating jobs, promoting families and keeping youth and educated people here in the U.P.? The answer is easy…Michele.”

In a letter received from Rotary Club’s Greg Gustafson, he writes, “The recipient lives by the Rotary motto of ‘Service Above Self’ and never expects recognition for her efforts. She is a successful business owner and a tireless worker. Additionally, she is a major player for many other fundraisers for the community including the YMCA Strong Kids Program, Bay Cliff Health Camp and the United Way to name a few. She was also instrumental in raising funds for the Beacon House, Harbor House and Women’s Center. Any program that benefits women and children, she will be the first person to step up.”

Lastly, Evergreen Chair, Pam Stewart comments, “In the late 80s and early 90s, I had the privilege of working for the Michele and I can tell you that she never stops. If she is asking you to give 100% it’s because she knows you can – even if you haven’t figured it out for yourself yet…..and she knows because she is always giving twice as much. I remember being in awe watching her manage several businesses all the while balancing a seemingly endless number of balls in the air – both personally and professionally….and she still had the energy – the passion – to want to galvanize an entire community into action with the Y project. That kind of passion and desire to help others less fortunate than herself that need a boost or a leg up – even when there is no extra time or energy to spare – is inspiring, commendable and worthy of our acknowledgement and gratitude.”

The Evergreen Award program also includes a $1,000 scholarship to a local life-long learner pursuing an educational program. Amy Peterson was presented with the 2013 Evergreen Scholarship at the luncheon. Scholarship applications are available by contacting the Marquette County Community Foundation.