The chamber of commerce for the city of Fraser honors those who have contributed most to the community at the annual FAME Awards May 16.

The chamber of commerce for the city of Fraser honors those who have contributed most to the community at the annual FAME Awards May 16.

Photo provided by Sandra Maki

Fifth FAME Awards hosted in Fraser

By: Brendan Losinski | Fraser-Clinton Chronicle | Published June 8, 2022


FRASER — The Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce, which also encompasses the Fraser community, hosted the fifth Fraser Academy Member of Excellence Awards on May 16.

The goal of the event is to recognize businesses, residents, schools and youth that have demonstrated sincere dedication and service to the community.

“The Fraser FAME Awards were born in 2017, and it was modeled after the Salute to Excellence Awards for Roseville and Eastpointe. We were excited to be able to do this for Fraser, too,” said Linda Weishaupt, the chamber’s executive director. “Last year, we did it virtually, and the year before that, it was canceled. This is the fifth, including the year we did it virtually.”

Chamber members form a committee and examine nominations put forward by residents and businesses in the Fraser community to see who should be recognized each year at the ceremony.

“Like the Salute to Excellence, we honor people in categories such as business of the year, student of the year and educator of the year,” said Weishaupt. “We look at capital improvement, as well, and there is also the pioneer awards, which are given to businesses that have been in the community at least 25 years.”

Weishaupt said they try to make sure the FAME Awards are an event by the community and for the community.

“We have a beautiful plaque that everyone gets, and we have a 50/50 raffle and a raffle for a basket of made-in-Michigan products,” Weishaupt said. “The chamber doesn’t make any profit off of this event. We just cover our costs, and because the honorees are all complementarily invited, we don’t make any money; the sponsors just cover costs for things like the venue and food and so forth.”

Fraser resident Sherry Stein was named as this year’s Citizen of the Year.

“I have lived in Fraser for about 15 years, and I have raised my children here,” said Stein. “I’ve been a member of the Fraser First Booster Club, and I also have been a Parks and Recreation commissioner for seven years in Fraser. I always feel like if you don’t step in and do something, nothing will ever change. To change the community, we all have to do our little part. That little piece can make a big difference.”

Weishaupt said that some winners are clear front runners when looking at how much they are involved in the community.

“Sherry (Stein) stood out,” she said. “We were really impressed with her ‘give 150% and jump-in’ attitude. She has been working with the schools since she moved in, and now she is with the Fraser First Booster Club. Everybody talks about her energy and says how she just doesn’t know how to say no.”

Stein thought the idea of her never turning down a request was funny but probably true.

“I cannot say no,” she laughed. “If it’s a positive thing, I want to teach my kids that we can make a difference. I run myself ragged, but I love being part of the community. Fraser has been great to our family, so why wouldn’t I want to give back to it?”

She even said that the hardest part of the last two years was having periods where she was concerned she didn’t have enough to do.

“COVID was a killer for me,” said Stein. “I kept asking what I was going to do. Now, I am super excited to get back out there and take part at the school with the band boosters and help with fundraisers.”

Many of the businesses honored are selected not only for sound business practices, but also for the impact they have had on the well-being of the Fraser community.

“Cavemen Haircuts was selected (as Business of the Year) because everyone was commenting on how its owner participates in the community and helps out with events from community gatherings down to a child who has set up a lemonade stand,” explained Weishaupt.

America’s Finest Printing & Graphics and Healthmark Industries Company Inc. were both named as winners of the Pioneer Award this year, as they have remained a part of the Fraser community for at least 25 years.

“Healthmark has been in Fraser and has been a part of the community for many years, and they regularly participate in Fraser events,” Weishaupt said. “America’s Finest Printing & Graphics received numerous nominations, and they also jump in and help out whenever it’s needed.”

Healthmark creates solutions for the healthcare industry and helps businesses in the healthcare industry provide services such as supply chain solutions. Matthew Smith, Healthmark’s senior manager of marketing, said he was so happy to see his company recognized.

“It’s great. We’ve been in the community and the industry for a lot of years. We’re happy to be here,” he said. “Being part of the Fraser community means a lot. Our company is family owned, and we have been living in Macomb County for many years.”

While the chamber picks most of the winners, Fraser Public Schools picks those associated with education. Marisa Fett won Teacher of the Year at the elementary level, Stephanie DeCumen won at the middle school level and Stacie Yokhana won at the high school level. Student Joshua Crook was named as Student of the Year in Fraser.

Additional winners include the Fraser Eye Care Center for the Capital Improvement Award, along with Maria Palomino and Jean DeBruyn, who both won the “You’ve Made a Difference Award.”

Stein thinks having an event to recognize those making a difference in the community helps in a multitude of ways and encourages other people to help, as well.

“The more we say ‘thank you’ to people, the more people will usually do,” she remarked. “People love to be thanked and told they’re doing a great job. With the chamber doing that and recognizing people, it will encourage people to get out and give back even more.

“I think it’s important that every community recognizes the leaders in their community and encourages them to participate so the next generation participates and moves forward,” Weishaupt said.