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Nominees and winners of the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Awards by United Way of Jackson County (pictured l-r): John Furgason; Jordan Levy (representing Tim Levy); Sarah Richmond; Geoff Bontrager. Not pictured: Terry Mierzwa and Martha Glover. (Photo:  United Way)


Tim Levy and Sarah Richmond have been named Volunteers of the Year by the United Way of Jackson County. The award was announced at UWJC’s annual Volunteer Reception today. Nearly 100 people attended the event at Ella Sharp Museum in Jackson.

“Volunteering gives arms and legs to a community’s compassion for those who struggle to succeed,” said Ken Toll, President and CEO of UWJC. “We see it as the on-ramp for people who want to change lives and advance the common good in Jackson County. We’re proud to celebrate the hundreds of people who volunteer with United Way.”

The financial impact of volunteerism in Jackson County is huge, Toll said. According to the Independent Sector, a one-hour work commitment from a single volunteer is worth $24.14. In 2017, United Way volunteers racked up 15,433 hours in Jackson County. Thus the financial value of those volunteer hours alone totaled $372,552—adding an estimated 20 percent boost.

Levy is president and co-owner of Industrial Steel Treating. Richmond is president of

Dawn Foods Foundation. Together they served as champions of the 2017 Energizing Education fundraising campaign. They helped shaped the Giving Grid online campaign and spent many hours soliciting friends and colleagues to support the early grade reading program. They also actively involved themselves in planning meetings, attended family engagement nights, and mentored students.

Also honored at the event:

• Terry Mierzwa, Chief of Staff, Consumers Energy, received the inaugural Volunteer Legacy Award. UWJC honored Mierzwa for 25 years of volunteering. His many activities include volunteer solicitor, Campaign Cabinet member (including division chair, co-chair, and chair of the cabinet), CEO call team, and as a coach and mentor for new volunteers and United Way supporters.

• Geoff Bontrager, superintendent, Northwest Community Schools, was a nominee for Volunteer of the Year. Bontrager has been a supporter of the schools’ United Way campaign since 2012. He is also actively engaged with Energizing Education and has taken part in informational videos and commercials.

• John Furgason, Miller Tool & Die Co., was a nominee for Volunteer of the Year. A five-year volunteer, Furgason is a fixture in activities with the Labor Participation Committee, taking part in United Way’s annual cardboard boat race, the committee’s spaghetti dinner fundraiser, and even parks cars for donations during the county fair.

• Martha Glover was a nominee for Volunteer of the Year. Glover has volunteered for many organizations in the Jackson community for 50 years. Most recently, she has been a mentor with Energizing Education for the past four years. Michigan Automotive Compressor Inc. sponsored the volunteer reception.

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