Three Upper Peninsula individuals, a business and a nonprofit organization were honored during the 11th annual U.P. Service Awards program at the recent U.P. Nonprofit Conference.
The awards are given annually by Grow & Lead: Community and Youth Development to recognize exemplary volunteer and charitable efforts throughout the U.P. 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 in a luncheon program during the conference at Northern Michigan University Oct. 17.
The Upper Peninsula is fortunate to have exceptional volunteers who give generously of their time and talents to make the U.P. an outstanding place to live,” said Linda Remsburg, Grow & Lead Associate. “Volunteers are the backbone of the nonprofit sector, and without them, many vital services would go undelivered. The U.P. Service Awards program is a way to recognize the contributions of these important community servants.”
Ruth Craig of Garden received the award in the senior category. Craig is president of the Village Artisans, a nonprofit organization that promotes art to enrich the lives of Garden Peninsula residents. Ruth organizes fundraisers, conducts art classes, plans luncheons, garden walks, cemetery crawls and home tours in the community.
Steve and Kristy Benoit of Escanaba received the award in the adult category. The Benoits have been hosting the Benoit Bash community picnic fundraiser at their home annually since 2008. Proceeds support Bay Cliff Health Camp. This year, 600 people attended the event which raised over $20,000 to help children attend camp.
Haley Worden, 19, of Sault Ste. Marie received the award in the youth category. A Girl Scout for 13 years, Worden attained the Gold Award with a project in which she partnered with her local public library and farmers market to engage more than 50 children and 20 adults in growing their own vegetables. She has also volunteered extensively through service learning at school and with Boy Scouts of America National Youth Leadership Training.
Marquette Alger Resolution Service (MARS) received the award in the volunteer program category. MARS has been providing mediation services since 1992. Trained volunteers provide a neutral voice to help disputing parties reach a mutually satisfactory resolution to issues that would otherwise be handled in court. In 2018, 29 volunteers mediated 215 cases over 531 hours for the benefit of 766 adults and children.
La Dolce Video & Design of Marquette received the award in the business community leader category. Owners Tony and Simone Beres have donated or discounted services to many nonprofit organizations and charitable initiatives. From donating videography and photography for the annual Pigs ‘N’ Heat charity hockey game to dispatching the business’s Helicam to a search and rescue mission, their usual response to a request for help is “Sure, we can do that.”