Distinguished business and citizen honored

By: Terry Oparka | Troy Times | Published October 7, 2015

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Troy resident Rhonda Hendrickson has a strong background in volunteerism.

Leadership Troy selected Hendrickson as the recipient of the Distinguished Citizen Award.

Jim Cyrulewski, president of Leadership Troy, said via email that the group comprises representatives from various community organizations, businesses and individuals who strive to promote Troy community improvement programs. They recognize volunteers and corporate citizens that positively impact the quality of life in Troy.

The Distinguished Citizen Award aims to honor residents who have improved the quality of life in Troy through civic and philanthropic needs and made significant contributions through involvement in local organizations. The award acknowledges those who selflessly support an individual, group, church, school, neighbor or others, and positively impact the health, welfare and safety of the Troy Community, Cyrulewski said.

“There is no one more deserving of the Troy Distinguished Citizen Award than Rhonda Hendrickson. Rhonda has an amazing history of volunteerism,” former Troy Mayor Jeanne Stine writes in her nomination of Hendrickson.

Past recipients of the Troy Distinguished Citizen award include 52-4 District Court judges Michael Martone and Dennis Drury; former Troy Mayor Pro Tem, Planning Commissioner and Troy School District Trustee Mary Kerwin; Troy Community Coalition Executive Director Ann Comiskey; Cyrulewski; and Stine.

Hendrickson has served on the Schroeder Elementary PTO and as a Cub Scout leader. She volunteered with the Troy High School Theatre Ensemble, lobbied strongly to keep Niles Community High School open and served as president and communications director of the Friends of the Troy Public Library. She was also campaign manager for Citizens to Save the Troy Public Library.

In addition, she wrote and produced a live panel discussion titled “Get Government: Understanding Troy’s Local Government” in partnership with the Friends of the Troy Public Library, the Troy School District and the League of Women Voters of Troy Area. The discussion was produced at City Hall and was aired on local cable TV and in classrooms.

“I am thrilled and humbled to be selected for this recognition by Leadership Troy,” Hendrickson said via email. “It is quite an honor to be among the esteemed list of previous honorees, people I have such admiration for their contributions to our community. Volunteers are the engine of a thriving community. Anything that I have done has always involved others. The theater is an ensemble, many working together. The library campaign or the Friends of Troy Public Library were both team efforts and would only be possible through the hard-working and caring volunteers.

“What inspires me is helping others to reach their goals or find their passion. What inspired me about the library campaign is I know how important a library is to a community. ... Our library is the cornerstone of our community.”

Tim Hortons-Troy was selected for the Community Business Appreciation Award, which recognizes a Troy business that has contributed generously to a nonprofit organization or to the Troy community with financial support, time and energy.

In her nomination, Nancy Negohosian, board president of the Boys & Girls Club of Troy, said she first met the owners — husband and wife Maureen Finnigan and John Mara, who own three Tim Hortons stores in Troy — during their participation in Taste of Troy, the organization’s largest fundraiser.

“Her enthusiasm is contagious,” Negohosian said. Finnigan also serves on the board of the Boys & Girls Club of Troy.

Finnigan and Mara’s Tim Hortons stores have contributed food items to numerous school events, the city of Troy Tree Lighting Ceremony, Troy Traffic Jam, Oakland Family Services, Friends of Troy Seniors, Troy People Concerned, numerous church initiatives and the Summer Reading Program at the Troy Public Library.

Finnigan, who grew up in Troy, said she wanted to own and operate Tim Hortons stores in Troy, and was thrilled that it worked out.

“We love it here,” she said, noting that one of their stores is located next to a former restaurant where she and her family used to eat every Friday night.

When asked what inspires them to give back to the community, Finnigan said via email that “it was a desire to use our amazing opportunities that owning a small business presents us with, to help build our community through employment, philanthropy and giving back to the people that help make us successful day in and day out.

“In addition to our values, Tim Hortons’ core value is to be a part of the community and give back. Being recognized by the leaders of our community that we work in every day is an honor,” she said.

The award winners will be honored at a banquet Nov. 4.