The Upper Peninsula is fortunate to have an abundance of caring, giving volunteers. When they see a need, they selflessly step in to fill it. The U.P. Volunteer Network salutes these unsung heroes with the annual U.P. Service Awards. By highlighting the efforts of these citizens who give so much for the betterment of their communities, we hope to inspire others to serve. Please join us in recognizing these outstanding community servants!
Recipients of U.P. Service Awards pose with their plaques after an awards luncheon during the U.P. Nonprofit Conference in Marquette October 18. From left are Michael Morgan of Marquette, adult award recipient; Sara Schneider, marketing manager and Darby Ison, co-owner of Bald Eagle Harley Davidson of Marquette, business community leader recipient; Melissa and Laurel Maki of 31 Backpacks of Houghton, volunteer program recipient; Emily Bauman of Manistique, youth award recipient; Bob Salvate of Gwinn, senior award recipient and U.P. Service Awards platinum sponsor Theresa Sell of Thrivent Financial.
Outstanding volunteers throughout the Upper Peninsula were honored during the fifth annual U.P. Service Awards program at the U.P. Nonprofit Conference in Marquette Friday Oct. 18.
The awards are given by the U.P. Volunteer Network and sponsored by Thrivent Financial, Theresa Sell to recognize exemplary volunteer efforts in the categories of youth, under 21; adult, ages 21-64; senior, ages 65 and above; volunteer program and business community leader.
Honorees were presented with plaques during the luncheon program in the Great Lakes Rooms of the Bottum University Center at Northern Michigan University.
“Volunteers make a huge difference in our communities,” said Linda Remsburg of Great Lakes Center for Youth Development, a partner in the U.P. Volunteer Network. “The U.P. Service Awards program is a way to honor the accomplishments of these unsung heroes and to inspire others to greater service.”
Emily Bauman, 15, of Manistique is the honoree in the youth category. Bauman began volunteering with Special Olympics at age 5. By age 10, she was organizing and running events such as skiing and snowshoeing by herself. Today she continues to volunteer with Special Olympics as well as numerous additional organizations including the Eva Burrell Animal Shelter, Youth Entertaining Teen Interests and the community’s assisted living facility to name a few. According to adults who have seen her in action, Emily can manage all aspects of a fundraiser including inspiring others to join her.
Michael Morgan, 49, of Marquette was honored in the adult category. Morgan has been a member of Marquette Noon Kiwanis for over 25 years including two terms as president. Among his many volunteer activities over the years, he has spent countless hours preparing for annual chicken barbecues and standing outside stores selling peanuts – sometimes in terrible weather and even on crutches. He has coached girls’ volleyball and softball, corralled dogs at Kiddie Mutt Races, played Santa Claus, and built a wheelchair ramp – often for the benefit of people he doesn’t even know
Bob Salvate, 77, of Gwinn received the award in the senior category. Despite serious health issues including kidney dialysis, Salvate volunteers an average of 50 hours each month with Marquette County Retired and Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP). One of the RSVP projects he works on is Project LifeTracker which provides transmitters for people with dementia. He goes to clients’ homes monthly to check and replace batteries in the transmitters. He has also volunteered regularly with the Forsyth Township SHARE food program; Gwinn VFW bingo, dances and pasty sales and the Forsyth Senior Center Merry Mixers where he helps with craft and bake sales, intergenerational parties and other activities to benefit the community.
31 Backpacks is the honoree in the volunteer program category, which acknowledges the importance of clubs or organizations in driving volunteer activity. Launched in spring 2012, 31 Backpacks has provided food to more than 90 Copper Country children who might otherwise have gone hungry on weekends. The program relies on local volunteers to sort, pack, deliver and raise funds to purchase easy-to-prepare foods that are sent home from school in kids’ backpacks on Fridays. Volunteers come together from area churches, schools, civic clubs and businesses to support the effort which currently serves seven school districts.
Bald Eagle Harley-Davidson of Marquette is the recipient in the business community leader category which recognizes for-profit businesses that demonstrate exemplary citizenship by giving back to their community through volunteer programs, monetary contributions, in-kind gifts or employee-driven volunteer service. This year, Bald Eagle has hosted one to three fundraising events each month for charitable organizations including Big Brothers Big Sisters, UPAWS, Delta Animal Shelter and Bay Cliff Health Camp among others.
The U.P. Volunteer Network builds the capacity of U.P. organizations to connect citizens with meaningful service opportunities that meet critical community needs. In addition to promoting volunteerism and recognizing volunteers, the Network provides volunteer management training to nonprofits and is the administrator of UPvolunteer.org, which matches volunteers with opportunities to serve.
In addition to Great Lakes Center for Youth Development, Volunteer Network partner organizations include UPCAP U.P. 2-1-1 Call Center; United Way of the Eastern U.P. Volunteer Center; Dickinson Iron Community Services Agency Volunteer Services and RSVP; RSVP of Marquette County and RSVP of Delta, Schoolcraft and Menominee Counties.To recruit volunteers or to find opportunities to volunteer, visit UPvolunteer.org or call Remsburg at the Great Lakes Center for Youth Development toll free at 877-339-6884.