Governor's Service Award honorees include winners from Jackson

Gov. Rick Snyder announced the 49 winners of the 2017 Governor's Service Awards. The winners are individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations that were selected for their commitment to volunteerism, service or philanthropy.

“These individuals and organizations are role models for other people to follow. The impact they have on other people’s lives is incredible,” Snyder said. “They show us how to overcome obstacles and do good things for other people. They demonstrate tremendous spirit and we are thrilled to recognize them.”

The Governor’s Service Awards winners will be honored during a special ceremony hosted by the Michigan Community Service Commission on Monday, Aug. 21, at the Detroit Opera House. The event will also commemorate the Michigan Community Service Commission’s 25th anniversary. The public is invited to attend at no cost, but please register at

“We are excited to celebrate the Michigan Community Service Commission’s 25th anniversary by honoring the state’s wonderful volunteers, philanthropists and organizations,” said Ginna Holmes, Michigan Community Service Commission executive director. “Each winner has a unique story about helping those in need, improving their community and making a difference in Michigan.”

The winners include:

Gov. George Romney Lifetime Achievement Award: Evelyn Brown (Detroit)

Honors an individual who has shown a lifelong commitment to community involvement and volunteerism.

Lifetime Humanitarian Award: Richard Garber (Saginaw), William Holmes (Ypsilanti), Larry Hines (Muskegon), John Barfield (Ann Arbor)

Honors individuals or families that have demonstrated a lifetime of outstanding civic and charitable responsibility to a community or organization.

Volunteer of the Year: Bonnie Raffaele (Sault Ste. Marie), Treger Strasberg (Birmingham), Tarence Wheeler (Farmington Hills), Sherman Neal (Detroit)

Honors individuals who strive to improve the lives of neighbors, friends, community or congregation through volunteerism.

Senior Volunteer of the Year: James Bennett (Hamburg), Patricia Dishaw (Crystal Falls), William DeChavez (Sterling Heights), James Feliciano (Marquette), Magnolia Bodley (Kalamazoo)

Honors individuals age 65 and older who have taken action to make their community a better place to live through service.

Youth Volunteer of the Year: Abigail and Lillian Diuble (Manchester), Robby Eimers (New Haven), Mac-Rufus Umeokolo (Bloomfield Hills), Aidan Sova (Jackson), Neha Seshadri (Ann Arbor), Sarah Maisano (Clinton Township)

Honors individuals who are age 25 or younger who have already begun making a significant difference in their community through service.

Mentor of the Year: Paula C. Dirkes (Berkley), TeamGM Cares  – Dawin Wright (Rochester Hills), Marilyn Gripper (Southfield) and Tom Parkhill (Rochester Hills), Eric Miller (Detroit), Samuel Wells (Flint), Bobby Johnson (Detroit)

Honors individuals who provide youth (25 and under) with the confidence and assets to be successful.

Outstanding Volunteer Program: Crim Fitness Foundation (Flint), Accounting Aid Society (Detroit), IM Kids 3rd Meal (Ionia/ Montcalm), Bryan’s HOPE (Waterford), Henry Ford Allegiance Health (Jackson)

Honors service clubs, nonprofit, faith-based, veteran, disaster preparedness and other organizations that make a demonstrated difference in their community.

Outstanding National Service Program: Power of We (Lansing), AmeriCorps Urban Safety Program (Detroit), MI GEAR UP VISTA (statewide), Michigan’s Habitat for Humanity AmeriCorps Program (statewide)

Honors organizations that provide a high-quality national service program that yields a significant impact in a Michigan community.

Corporate Community Leader: Firekeepers Casino Hotel (Battle Creek), Comcast (statewide), Emergent BioSolutions (Lansing), Griffin Properties (Grand Rapids), Whirlpool (St. Joseph), Alpena Alcona Area Credit Union (Alpena)

Honors corporations and businesses that excel in community involvement and demonstrate excellent corporate citizenship by giving back to their community in a variety of ways.

Education Service Leader: Mott Community College (Flint), Western Michigan University (Kalamazoo), Books for Benefits (University Of Michigan, University Of Michigan- Dearborn, Michigan State University and Wayne State University) Troy Athens High School (Troy), Cody Rouge Action Alliance (Detroit), Ionia Youth Advisory Council (Ionia)

Honors schools, colleges, universities and other organizations that support youth making a difference in their communities.

About the Governor's Service Awards

Since 1994, Michigan's Governor and her/his spouse have been hosting the Governor's Service Awards to pay tribute to outstanding volunteers from across Michigan. These volunteers demonstrate the power of giving and caring every day, and the Governor's Service Awards are one small way we can thank them for their commitment.  Although volunteers don't expect accolades, we know volunteer recognition leads to volunteer retention. This will be Gov. Snyder’s seventh year of involvement in the Governor’s Service Awards, which were launched by Gov. John Engler in 1992 and maintained by Gov. Jennifer M. Granholm during her terms in office.

The Governor's Service Awards ceremony is an annual statewide recognition event acknowledging the contributions made by Michigan volunteers. The event is coordinated by the Michigan Community Service Commission the state’s lead agency on volunteerism and strives to engage all Michigan residents in volunteerism to address critical community challenges.


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