On April 23, United Way of Midland County will host the tenth annual Spirit of the Community celebration at the Great Hall in Midland. Spirit of the Community honors the many ways that individuals and organizations are lending their time, talent, voices and hearts to create a better and stronger community. This year’s event features an updated format, with a cocktail reception from 5-6 pm and the awards ceremony taking place from 6-7 pm. Those who wish to celebrate with this year’s Spirit of the Community honorees can purchase tickets at unitedwaymidland.org.
“This inspirational community event celebrates numerous heroes changing lives in motivating ways,” shared Holly Miller, Executive Director of United Way of Midland County. “We are honored to shine a light on these individuals and organizations who work tirelessly to ensure everyone has the opportunity to thrive. We invite everyone to join us for a night of inspiration and impact.”
2019 Spirit of the Community Honorees
2019 Charles J. Strosacker Award
Ann Fillmore (former Executive Director at United Way of Midland County)
This award recognizes an individual from a United Way partner agency for their contribution and leadership in promoting the well-being of others.
Ann is an inspirational leader who has impacted countless lives in our community and beyond through 12 years as Executive Director at United Way of Midland County. Under her leadership, United Way of Midland County transformed from a fundraising entity to a community impact organization, giving everyone the opportunity to reach their full potential through innovative programs and initiatives.
2019 Heart of the Community Award
Teresa George (Midland Academy)
This award recognizes a group or an individual who has demonstrated a passion for serving our community through volunteering.
Teresa George has dedicated her career and personal life to bringing future generations into the world of community service. In her current role at Midland Academy, she actively involves the student leadership team and student body in community service activities. Previously, she led similar efforts at Northwood University where she co-supervised Northwood’s United Way volunteerism partnership. Outside of work, Teresa is involved in dozens of community organizations where her passion for helping her neighbors truly shines.
2019 Shining Star Award
Dr. Amy Beasley (The Dow Chemical Company)
Karl Huebert (Hemlock Semiconductor and Big Brothers Big Sisters Board of Directors)
This award honors individuals that are advocating to improve the lives and conditions of those in need.
Dr. Amy Beasley has led efforts to share the diverse voices of the community locally, regionally and nationally. Dr. Beasley hosted a dinner with Mayor Maureen Donker to bring to light issues of inclusion and diversity, resulting in the creation of the Midland Inclusion Council. Dr. Beasley also actively participates in community events such as One Billion Rising, she runs the Booster Club at Midland High School and she serves on the Board of Directors at Shelterhouse.
Karl Huebert is a key advocate for children in our community. As President of the Board of Directors at Big Brothers Big Sisters of the Great Lakes Bay Region, he extended the outreach of the organization by championing new ambassador programs and impact tours. These innovative outreach programs have created opportunities to reach more mentors and match them with kids throughout the region. He has been matched with his Little Brother Dimetri for over three years and recently inspired his wife to become a Big Sister as well.
2019 Torch Bearer Award
Retail Division Co-Chairs
Thom Pepe (Great Lakes Loons)
Mike Williams (Isabella Bank)
This award honors United Way of Midland County campaign volunteers who demonstrate a true passion for sharing the Live United message.
Longtime United Way volunteers and community advocates, Thom Pepe and Mike Williams lead the Retail division for United Way’s annual Campaign. Managing one of the largest divisions presents many challenges, yet Thom and Mike have deftly navigated the changing business landscape in to increase efficiencies and maximize giving and engagement through their fundraising efforts.
2019 Young Leader Award
Jen Lee (Three Rivers Corporation)
This award recognizes a member of United Way’s Young Leaders United who encourages the spirit of philanthropy and volunteerism.
Since 2015, Lee has served on the United Way Young Leaders United (YLU) executive council. Serving as the YLU Chair, Lee has helped steer the group’s direction and drive an increase in giving and overall engagement. Lee stays active in the United Way network, having served on United Way of Midland County’s Board of Directors and Communications Committee, as well as participating in volunteer projects such as March is Reading Month, Community Garden Planting Day and Story Adventurers.
2019 Outstanding Student Award
Nathan Johnson (Northwood University)
Jacob May (Midland High School)
This award recognizes local students who “Live United” and encourage the spirit of volunteerism within their school and community.
Nathan Johnson is a senior at Northwood University enrolled in the accelerated BBA/MBA program studying Accounting and Business Analytics. Nathan is the President of Northwood University’s Student United Way, which is responsible for organizing the award-winning Go MAD (Make a Difference) Day that takes place throughout Midland County each year. Under his leadership, Northwood’s Student United Way chapter was awarded with United Way Worldwide’s Event of the Year honor in 2018.
Jacob May is a hardworking student focused on learning, teaching, helping others and becoming an active community member. Outside of school and his job at NCG Cinemas, Jacob spends much of his time volunteering with Midland County Youth Action Council (MCYAC), The Rock Center for Youth Development, Midland High Schools school newspaper “The Focus” and the Ultimate Frisbee club that he founded.
2019 Outstanding Community Collaboration Award
Midland High School Drama Club
This award recognizes individuals and/or organizations that live and work “United” and collaborate for the greater good. These individuals or organizations encourage the spirit of collaboration within their organizations and community.
Believing that including all students helps the community grow stronger, the Midland High School Drama Club reached out to students with disabilities and created a peer-to-peer group called Scene Partners. This group has taken the initiative to provide social opportunities for students with disabilities to feel included and a part of something—creating lasting friendships and benefiting everyone involved.
2019 Companies That Care
We will also be recognizing our 2019 Companies That Care. These organizations are characterized not only by the financial commitment they and their employees make, but the impact they have through advocacy and volunteerism.
This year, United Way is honoring 25 organizations: AptarGroup Midland, Ayre-Rhinehart Realtors, Bolger & Battle, Chemical Bank & Trust Company, City of Midland, County of Midland, Deloitte, Dow Chemical Employees’ Credit Union, Ernst & Young, Fisher Contracting Company, Gavin & Associates, LLC, Great Lakes Loons, Ieuter Insurance Group, McKay Press, Members First Credit Union, Midland Cogeneration Venture, Midland Public Schools, MidMichigan Health, Northwood University, Sym Financial Advisors, The Dow Chemical Company, Three Rivers Corporation, Trinseo, Horizon Bank and Yeo & Yeo CPAs & Business Consultants. Ieuter Insurance Group has the distinct honor of being selected as the 2019 Caring Company of the Year as the standout organization for giving, advocating and volunteering in the community.
United Way invites everyone to join us for the Spirit of the Community celebration on April 23 at the Great Hall starting at 5pm. Individual tickets are $30 each and tables of 10 are available for $300. To reserve your seat, visit unitedwaymidland.org or call United Way at (989) 631-3670 by April 12.