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Michigan Community Hall Of Fame


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Amy, Holland, Michigan. Winning Mother: Amy is busy Mother who has two daughters that are very active in sports. Amy has a very tight schedule during the week, working as a Supervisor on third shift in a manufacturing company. When she gets home, she makes breakfast for two children and her husband, who is getting ready for work. After packing up lunches for all her family, and walking the kids to the bus stop, Amy will clean up before she goes to bed, and will sleep 5 hours, to be up before her children gets home from school. Amy has been on this schedule for at least 6 years, and still manages to find the energy to take her family to the Tulip Festival every year. She is a proud mother, unselfish, with happiness all around her: Supervisor, Good Wife, and a Wonderful Mother, she should be recognized as a winner in her community. By Ed Bartles

Ana Vazquez, Warren, Michigan, Winning Role Model: She is in stage four with colon cancer. She and I are best friends. Ana is a winner because despite the many hurdles associated with cancer she has been there for other people including myself. Also, she was a part of the Warren Cancer Relay for Life, and she was a team captain and inspiration to others. Overall she truly cares. By Peter King

Camara El, Detroit Michigan. Winning Citizen/Samaritan:  Camara wakes up every day with one goal: Improve life for those who live in one of Detroit’s poorest neighborhoods. He doesn’t just talk about it, either. From a former storefront Camara El runs a community center dedicated to helping area residents realize the potential for greatness inherent in everyone, equipping them with the tools needed to overcome obstacles such as racism, poverty, and injustice. Not bad for someone from the streets who has spent a third of his life locked up. By Andrew Dietderich

Chris Lambert, Detroit Michigan, Winning Activist: Over the past three years, Chris Lambert, CEO of Life Remodeled, has developed and lead a coalition of churches, several major corporations, and over 5000 volunteers, in an attempt to reinvigorate the vast area of urban blight in Detroit. In 2014, Chris has created an organization of hope for tens of thousands of people. By Scott Hubler

Christie Lypka, Oak Park Michigan. Winner against the Odds: At the age of eleven I tried to kill myself. My parents divorced when I was sixteen. I got pregnant when I was seventeen and married the father of the baby who was abusive to me. I was divorced at nineteen with a baby to support. I am now Executive Director of CASA for the State of Michigan. Choose my story to learn how I turned my life around. By Christie Lypka

David Lyman, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Winning Citizen: My cousin through marriage has made a difference. David, 32, was married in May 2010, and as a precaution to look good in his tuxedo, he decided to shed a few pounds a month before the wedding. He lost 26 pounds in two weeks. After losing the weight, he could FEEL his tumors. He was diagnosed with Stage 4 non-hodgkins large B cell lymphoma. Since being diagnosed, he has gotten married, started a blog, “found” his voice again, and truly inspired others to make a difference through community involvement, fundraising, cancer awareness, and building support networks for other survivors and cancer patients through his Facebook page, which he’s titled “I’m Going to Beat Cancer.” He’s truly inspirational and a true testimony that attitude is everything. When we think of who we see as “winners”, he epitomizes one. By Hillary Cargo.

Freebeer and Hotwings Morning Show, Grand Rapids, Michigan, Winning Entertainers: This morning show, which airs on 97.9 WGRD from 5:30 to 10:00 weekdays, is widely successful and continues to grow in popularity by the day. Gregg Daniels (Free Beer), Chris Michaels (Hotwings), and Eric Zane all attended Central Michigan University. Daniels and Michaels started broadscast journalism in college and found success with their morning show. The Grand Rapids based show is now carried in 15 different states. By Matt Decker

It Stops With Students (ISWS); Pinckney, Michigan. Winning Students: Pinckney, Michigan has a reputation as a town long plagued by drug abuse. Recently, a PHS Senior named Ron White was killed by an overdose of illegal drugs, and a few Pinckney students had had enough. They formed ISWS, an organization dedicated to ending the drug problem in Pinckney. By Jesse Dzombak

Jennifer Rooks, Monroe Michigan. Winning Mother: My Mother is the most courageous person I know. It could’nt be more true! She even gave a friend battling cancer the courage to become a nurse in the field. Together they fought this disease with love and laughter! No disease can stand up to that…NOT EVEN CANCER! By Danielle Bielby

Jonathan Bradford, Grand Rapids, Michigan. Winning Benefactor: I am proposing that an article be  written about Jonathan Bradford. He is the long time Director of a housing agency called The Inner City Christian Confederation. This agency has been called the most successful housing ministry in Michigan. Because of his leadership many people now enjoy decent housing in Grna Rapids. By Robert Ritsema 

Kim Yam; Pinckney Bakery; Pinckney, Michigan. Winner Against the Odds: At a young age, Kim Yam was imprisoned at a Cambodian prison camp, where she worked from dusk to dawn every day, running on very little food and no play. She got out at age 18 and escaped to Michigan, where she got into the baking business at the Pinckney Bakery, a local establishment. By Jesse Dzombak

Kristy Gaskins St. John, Plymouth, Michigan. Winning Citizen: Kristy, 27, launched a mom’s group when her son was a few months old. Since she began the mom’s group three and a half years ago, there are now over 160 members. For many women who choose to stay at home with their children in our community, she was a beacon of light in providing opportunities for support, friendship, and community involvement. Since establishing the mom’s group, she has helped families in need during Christmas, she has organized fundraising events for children who have had health issues, and she has raised community awareness. Essentially, she has built community. A little less than six months ago, this 27 year old woman and mother to a three year old was diagnosed with Stage 3, Large B cell non-hodgkins lymphoma. By Hillary Cargo.

Linda Oleszko, Warren, Michigan. Winning Merchant: She started a rescue and sanctuary for “pocket pets” like mice, hamsters, dagus, gerbils, etc. She started very small and still operates the shelter out of her home and has a network of foster homes that keep most of the animals until they are adopted or placed. She works with the local Petco stores and promised to supply them with hamsters if they stopped going to breeders for their hamsters. Through her work with Michigan Rabbit Rescue, she realized there was a need for this kind of shelter — and that no one was really offering the service — and took it upon herself to make it happen. By Susan Smiley

Mike Barwis & Parker Whiteman, Ypsilanti, Michigan. Winning Coaches, Readers Choice:  These two coaches helped the brother of their offensive lineman, Elliot Mealer, to walk again. I think this is special because he wasn’t a player and he in no way contributed to the team. The coaches had him doing a lot of workouts. They were not going easy on him. They said, and i quote, “We will not use the kid gloves on him”. He continued this work out method for nine months of strenuous workouts. They started working together a few days a week in the Schembechler Hall weight room. Barwis was very strict. He simply told him, “Bring your butt in here if you want to walk again”. Those two coaches had a huge helping hand in a young man’s life. i have a strong feeling that he will never forget the moment he could walk. Thank you Mike Barwis and Parker Whiteman. By Samantha Mcbride

My Great Aunt Dorothy, Monroe Michigan. Winning Benefactor: She was and always will be an amazing woman. She started her greatest battle 12 years ago with a small lump in one of her breasts. She had a family to live for and a precious future to make. She decided to live and fight. She took this life threatening challenge head on. This amazing woman helped many of those around her, never was selfish or wanted pity. She was on her death bed a few months back, and the doctors were at the end of their knowledge and medicine, but she wouldn’t let her family go. I recently had my own cancer scare and she helped me through it — the biopsies, the pain, and fears. She held my hand through words over Facebook. She knew her time to meet her Heavenly Father was near but she gave me hope, told me her story and never once complained about her pain. She passed away March 26, 2011. She touched many peoples’ lives and helped so many. She showed me and many other the real meaning of life. By Jennifer Rooks