Sara Swanson

Community volunteers honored at banquet

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The recently disbanded Worth Repeating was selected as an organization to receive the Claire Reck Award. It was accepted by Worth Repeating board member Melissa Yekulis and Worth Repeating volunteers, Jan Whittington and Ellen O’Sullivan.

Saturday evening, volunteers from twenty-two of Manchester’s organizations were honored at the Community Resource Center’s Annual Volunteer Banquet held in the St Joseph Mercy Chelsea’s dining room. While all of the volunteers had done amazing amounts of volunteer work, a few were selected by a “blue ribbon panel,” this year made up of the Manchester Township Fire Department, to receive special recognition.

In addition to recognizing volunteers the annual event serves as a fundraiser for the Community Resource Center (CRC), which operates the area’s user choice food pantry open weekdays throughout the year. The CRC also assists residents in need with other resources such as emergency financial assistance for utilities and rent, online application help for public assistance and direct referrals to other agencies for specific needs related to senior issues, job searching and medical coverage, and much more.

The special awards presented at the end of the night included D. Little – B. Rhees Posthumous Award which was presented to Melvin Sroufe, one of the founding members of the Men’s Club. The Service to Youth Award was presented to Larry McGee and Jack Smith, who were nominated by the Manchester Athletic Boosters for helping with JV & Varsity football games for almost 50 years. The Star Award was awarded to Robert & Marie Pratt, who were nominated by Sharon United Methodist Church for their lifetime church membership and service to the congregation. The Pratts are both over 100 years old and are one of the longest married couple in the state. Their son accepted the award on their behalf.

The Commitment to Community Award was presented to Ray Berg, who was nominated by the Manchester Area Historical Society and the Sesquicentennial Committee. Berg was responsible for heading up the Sesquicentennial and also was the driving force behind the purchase of the Kingsley-Jenter House as the Manchester Area Historical Society’s headquarters. He also serves in leadership positions of multiple other community organizations. The most prestigious award, the Claire Reck Community Volunteer Service Award, was presented to Worth Repeating and its volunteers, who were nominated by the teachers of the Manchester Community Schools. Worth Repeating raised $290,000 for community projects over the course of their 13-year operation, giving $113,000 of that to the the Manchester Community Schools.

Two one-time special awards were presented this year. The first was an award celebrating all of the Sesquicentennial volunteers, which was presented to Karen and Ray Berg and will hang in the Kingsley-Jenter House. The second was presented to Dale Heselschwerdt of the Napoleon Livestock Commission Company, who along with the help of his son and grandson ran the live auction portion of the evening. Heselschwerdt has donated his auctioning services to the Manchester Community Fair youth livestock auction for many years.

Because of the generosity of the community members in attendance, the live auction and silent auction made more than $7,000, putting the CRC well on its path of meeting it’s fundraising goal of $12,000 for the event.


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