F.A.M.E. Awards honors community members, businesses

By: Nick Powers | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published May 20, 2024

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FRASER — Fraser community members and businesses were recognized by the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce on May 13 at Vintage House.

The chamber has included Fraser since 2017. The first F.A.M.E. Awards ceremony was held in 2018. F.A.M.E. stands for Fraser Academy Member of Excellence.

Jacob Rice received the Citizen of the Year award for his mental health work in the community, especially suicide prevention. Rice organized a fundraiser called Mental Matters to assist nonprofit KnowResolve last October.

“This issue is very important to him,” Fraser Mayor Micheal Lesich said. “Jake sees the need for someone to talk to, someone to listen to, to raise awareness that help is available.”

Lisa Pettyes received the You’ve Made a Difference award for her work with Difference Makers 2.0, which helps at-risk kids in Fraser Schools.

“Lisa works tirelessly with kids to meet them where they are and build them up and incur small wins and victories in school and in life,” Lesich said.

The Fraser Public Safety Officer of the Year award went to officer Cameron Rieper. Rieper was recognized for his response to a vehicle fire last December. According to a previous story in the Fraser-Clinton Township Chronicle, the officer pulled the woman from the driver’s seat of a truck as the vehicle was engulfed in flames after entering a ditch on Hayes Road south of 15 Mile Road.

“Officer Rieper is very humble. He’d claim he didn’t do anything any other officer wouldn’t do,” Fraser Public Safety Director Samantha Kretzschmar said. “He may be right, but he did it that day.”

The Fraser Student of the Year was senior Noah Tonn, who is valedictorian for his class. Carrie Wozniak said Tonn has the highest GPA, 4.365, in the history of Fraser Public Schools. Wozniak mentioned Tonn’s achievements in extracurricular activities like robotics, and that he helped found the Be Nice Club at the high school.

“It’s made a remarkable impact on this school,” Wozniak said of the club, which aims to promote mental health.

Hannah LaBlanc, who received the Youth of the Year award, was recognized for her volunteer work in the community. State Rep. Alicia St. Germaine, R-Harrison Township, recognized LaBlanc for her work with Blessing Bags Brigade of Michigan and the Friends of Fraser Library.

“She is dependable, mature and able to work with a wide range of people,” St. Germaine said of the latter. “She is exceptional at helping the senior population understand and work with technology.”

Educator of the Year awards went to Fraser teachers Robin Jenkins (elementary), Sheldon Santamaria (middle) and Tyler Westerhof (high school).

Businesses were also recognized. Schott’s Market was named Business of the Year. Winkler Iron and Metal and Big Boy each received the Capital Improvement award. Faulmann & Walsh Golden Rule Funeral Home received the Pioneer award.