GRAND RAPIDS - To honor their exemplary volunteer service in Michigan, Gov. Rick Snyder presented the Governor's Service Awards to individuals, organizations, and a business at an awards ceremony recently. The 2013 Governor's Service Awards, entitled, "An Evening with the Stars," was held at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids.
"We recently launched the Do Something, Michigan! initiative that encouraged Michiganders to volunteer and take action in their communities," Snyder said. "The 40 finalists we celebrated at the 2013 Governor's Service Awards are an extraordinary example of that Do Something! spirit. I thank them and all the state's volunteers for their contribution to our state."
The Senior Volunteer of the Year award was presented to Mary Amelia Yvonne Clark of Negaunee.
This award honors a senior citizen who has taken action to make her or his community a better place to live.
Clark first began volunteering in 1994 with the local Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) and has logged nearly 9,000 hours of service since then.
Beyond her commitment to the RSVP program, she is a dedicated volunteer for other community initiatives including the senior-based crime prevention program TRIAD, for which Clark 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), where she trains in emergency rescue and survival skills to assist in times of need.
Clark is also a lifelong volunteer for the American Red Cross and currently serves on their Disaster Assistance Team helping fire victims find shelter, food, clothing, and more.
The Governor's Service Awards are an annual event coordinated by the Michigan Community Service Commission, the state's lead agency on volunteerism.
This year's honorees were selected from more than 140 nominations submitted by friends, relatives, and colleagues to pay tribute to individuals, organizations, and businesses who exemplify the spirit of volunteer service. An objective peer review panel and the board of the Michigan Community Service Commission selected the finalists and winners, with final approval of the selections from Governor Snyder.
In total, five finalists from eight different categories were honored at the 2013 Governor's Service Awards to acknowledge their commitment to solving community issues through volunteerism. During Tuesday night's event, one winner from each category was selected.
Three Men and a Tenor, one of Michigan's most popular musical groups, joined the Governor in honoring the nominees by performing for the audience. Also participating in the night's festivities were the 2013 Governor's Service Awards sponsors, without whose generous contributions the event would not have been possible.
For information about the other 2013 Governor's Service Award winners, visit www.michigan.gov/volunteer.