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Big Brothers Big Sisters Honors Volunteers and Agency Supporters

November 18, 2012       Leave a Comment
By: O. J. Cunningham

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Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region recognized outstanding volunteers and supporters at its 2012 annual meeting, held November 13 at Northwood University's Griswold Communications Center.

The awards for Bigs of the Year were presented to:

  • Josh Bartell, Big Brother of the Year for Isabella County;
  • Kelley McKinney, Big Sister of the Year for Isabella County;
  • Michael Balls, Big Brother of the Year for Saginaw County;
  • Cheryl Cronkright, Big Sister of the Year for Saginaw County;
  • Sharon & Rob Mortensen, Big Sister and Big Brother of the Year for Midland County;
  • Ashley Edwards-Giltrop, Teaming Up with YOUth Big Sister of the Year;
  • and Peter Mikiten, Teaming Up With YOUth Big Brother of the Year.

    "These volunteers represent the reason our agency makes the impact that it does in our community," says Karl Stephen of Northwood University, the agency's board president elect.

    "We are thankful that these volunteers, and many others, make the commitments they do in order to change the lives of children in our community for the better, forever."

    The 2012 Big Brothers Big Sisters Friendship Award was presented to Bonita Dam, owner of Tim Hortons locations in Midland County, Bay County and Isabella County. Thanks to Bonita, 36 children involved in Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Region have had the opportunity to attend Tim Hortons summer camps.

    Bonita Dam
    Photo by O. J. Cunningham

    In addition, three of the Littles have completed five seasons of summer camp and have earned scholarships to attend college. Dam was surprised and awed to receive the award.

    Susan Putnam, Executive Director stated, "We all know what a life-changing experience summer camp can be: spending time in a new environment, learning new things and creating unforgettable memories. The opportunity to camp, paired with the possibility to receive a scholarship to college, fits perfectly with the mission of Big Brothers Big Sisters. We find it a true honor to have been a recipient of Bonita's kindness and thoughtfulness."

    The 2012 President's Award was presented to board member, Deborah Borg of The Dow Chemical Company. Deborah was nominated for the President's Award as a result of her ongoing commitment to the organization, her priceless contributions to the board of directors and her steadfast focus on the children in our community.

    "Deb has been a true asset to our board of directors," says Michael Gavin of Gavin and Associates LLC, 2012 board president. "During the past twelve months our agency faced the challenging task of doubling our service area. Throughout the entire process Deb was involved, asking the tough questions, providing strategic enlightenment and ensuring that the children remained the focus throughout the entire process."

    Big Brothers Big Sisters in the Great Lakes Bay Region elected officers for 2013 which include: Karl Stephan of Northwood University, President; Wally Mayton of First Memorial Presbyterian Church, Vice President; Charles Schwedler of Bullock Creek Public Schools, Secretary; and Christie Kanitz of MidMichigan Home Care, Treasurer. Three new board members were also elected: Kevin Gregory of the Saginaw Valley African American Leadership Training Institute, Bonita Dam of Tim Hortons locations in Bay, Midland and Isabella Counties, and Heather Gallegos of The Dow Chemical Company. One board member, Paula Ulmer of Northwood University, retired from the Board of Directors.

    Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region provides children facing adversity with strong and enduring, professionally supported one-to-one relationships that change their lives for the better, forever. For nearly 60 years, Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region has been bringing a little magic into the everyday lives of children by matching them with adult volunteers in fun and rewarding relationships. Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region serves youth in Midland, Saginaw, Bay and Isabella Counties.

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    O. J. Cunningham

    O. J. Cunningham is the Publisher of Cunningham previously published Sports Page & Bay City Enterprise. He is the President/CEO of OJ Advertising, Inc.

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