Community service leaders recognized for efforts

By: Thomas Franz | Mount Clemens - Clinton - Harrison Journal | Published December 7, 2015


CLINTON TOWNSHIP — Kurt Strevel was going about his business while on his normal route of delivering food to residents as part of the Meals on Wheels program when suddenly he had to change plans.

His truck that he was driving that day this past January broke down, but that didn’t stop Strevel from finishing his route.

He trudged more than 4 miles for three hours on foot to deliver meals to several more families. For his efforts that day, and as a volunteer for six years in the Meals on Wheels program, Strevel was one of seven individuals recognized by the newly named Macomb Community Action group on Dec. 1 at Macomb Community College.

“I wasn’t expecting this. There’s a lot of good people who deliver meals with us,” said Strevel, who normally delivers meals with his wife.

“I was a construction worker, so I was used to working outside. You just kept going,” Strevel added. “You’d be surprised to know who’s in your community — blind folks, elderly, war heroes — there’s so many who need the service.”

Strevel, 59, from Roseville, said that he and his wife plan to continue delivering meals until they need meals themselves.

At the event, he received the inaugural Mary George award, which was created to recognize someone who goes above and beyond to serve.

Mary George was on hand herself to be recognized for 16 years of work on the Macomb Community Action Advisory Board.

Other awards went to Jean Hitchcock, of Clinton Township, and Mary Kujawa, of Warren, in the area of Customer Recognition.

Volunteer Recognition awards went to Velma Polk, of Clinton Township, and Chanda Parman, of Warren. Polk has worked with the county’s Head Start program, while Parman has volunteered with Meals on Wheels since 2008 and instructs residents on proper nutrition.

The community action award for Employee Recognition went to Teresa Parker, who is a field worker for Macomb Community Action’s south action center in Warren.

The Salvation Army of Mount Clemens earned an award for Organization Recognition.

“Volunteering is really the heart of what we do, and it helps us extend our footprint in the community,” said MCA Director Rhonda Powell, who is also a lifelong Macomb County resident and once attended Head Start. “This brings everything full circle.”

Clinton Township Supervisor Bob Cannon also attended the awards ceremony and described the importance of volunteers in his community.

“We couldn’t run many of our operations without volunteers. Our senior center has four employees, and we have thousands of people that come to that center every day. The rest is manned by volunteers,” Cannon said. “We have two hospitals in our community, the college has volunteers — it’s just a way of life. The library has staff, but without the volunteers they wouldn’t be able to provide the extras that people have come to expect.”

Cannon added that while communities benefit greatly from volunteer work, the volunteers also reap benefits in what they do.

“The people who are volunteering, it’s a proven fact they get a lot out of it too. They get a longer and happier life, and they get to socialize with people. It’s a proven fact that if you volunteer, you stay alive longer,” Cannon said. “It’s the greatest thing in the world at both ends.”

Macomb Community Action was formerly known as the Macomb County Community Services Agency, which was founded in 1964. Its primary mission is to diminish poverty and promote independence throughout the county.

The agency has three community action centers throughout the county in New Haven, Mount Clemens and Warren.