Phil Bickel named United Way Volunteer of the Year

The United Way of Jackson County recently named Phil Bickel the 2010 United Way Volunteer of Year.

The award was presented before an estimated audience of nearly 100 United Way volunteers and staff at the Michigan Theater in downtown Jackson on Thursday, December 2.

Mike McKenna, Resource Development Director for United Way, presented Mr. Bickel with the award, citing his outstanding contributions as a campaign volunteer for more than 20 years, most recently as chair of the Individual and Retirees division.

Bickel's efforts have helped raise more than $50 million dollars for Jackson County residents in need.

He also was recognized for his more than 10 years of volunteer work prioritizing community needs and helping select programs to address those needs.

It is estimated that over 500,000 Jackson County residents received services as a result of Bickel's efforts and leadership.

"I'm so very proud to receive this honor," said Bickel.

"I truly love this community. But I really feel that I'm accepting this award on behalf of all United Way volunteers, and in recognition of all the hard work each and every one puts in to make Jackson County a great place to live."

He is a 40 year resident of Jackson County, locating here after graduating from Michigan State University.

He retired from Consumers Energy in 2003, after completing 35 years of service to the company.

He and his wife Susan have two sons, Paul and Dan, who are both music teachers at Jackson County high schools (Western and Michigan Center, respectively).

He is enjoying his retirement years, following his passion for music. Phil serves as business manager and first trombone for the Jackson County French Quarter Dixieland Band.

Other nominees for United Way Volunteer of the Year recognized at the event include:

* Mike Kanser, for his advocacy and tireless effort on behalf of children, especially for early childhood education in Jackson County and across Michigan;

* Dan Bishop, for his more than twenty years of work and leadership in raising financial support for United Way programs and services in Jackson County;

* Melissa Callison, for her enthusiastic support of United Way, with special recognition for her work developing United Way of Jackson County's Women's Leadership Council; and

* Mike Butchart, for his long term service on volunteer panels that evaluated community programs and helped determine the most effective use of community funds to help Jackson County families in need.

Community members interested volunteering for United Way or any Jackson County nonprofit can register on the United Way website, uwjackson.org.

"Simply clicking on the volunteer graphic will connect potential volunteers with dozens of volunteer opportunities and local agencies," a spokesperson said.

The United Way of Jackson County is entering its 76th year of serving the greater Jackson community.

It supports more than forty different programs that provide thousands of Jackson County residents the opportunity a better life.

It is locally governed by a volunteer board of directors, chaired by David Mengebier, Senior Vice President, Consumers Energy.

Published: Mon, Dec 20, 2010

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