The Fraser City Council poses with the recipients of the 2021 F.A.M.E. Awards at the Fraser fire house on July 8.

The Fraser City Council poses with the recipients of the 2021 F.A.M.E. Awards at the Fraser fire house on July 8.

Photo by Brendan Losinski

Fraser hosts annual FAME Awards

By: Brendan Losinski | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published July 17, 2021


FRASER — Members of the Fraser community gathered together at the Fraser Firehouse on July 8 to recognize some of the community’s best and brightest as part of the Fraser FAME Awards.

FAME stands for Fraser Academy Member of Excellence and is hosted to recognize those who have made an impact on the community in the last year.

“We have such a strong community base, and everyone fights for each other and helps each other and supports each other, so this is a way for our residents to nominate somebody within the city and make sure they’re recognized for it,” said Fraser Mayor Michael Carnagie. “Hopefully, this inspires other people to step up and do the same thing.”

The event was organized by the Eastpointe-Roseville Chamber of Commerce, which also helps promote businesses and community projects in Fraser. It’s executive director, Linda Weishaupt, said that getting to be involved in the Fraser community has been a treat for those within her organization, and she is glad to get to celebrate some of its citizens.

“We’re just so excited to work with Fraser, and we want to recognize all the individuals in the community who stepped up even during COVID and made sure that everything was running well and that students were performing well,” Weishaupt said. “We take great pride in being able to present these awards to them.”

Gary Niedojadlo was selected as the 2021 Fraser Citizen of the Year. Described by the Chamber as “the heart and soul behind the Hanover Grove Cooperative,” Niedojadlo has worked to improve the living conditions for the facility’s residents, participates in all of the Fraser First Booster Club events, and has been one of the driving forces behind the improvements at the McKinley Barrier Free Park.

“I was absolutely shocked when I got the letter (telling me I was nominated),” said Niedojadlo. “It’s a humbling experience, and it’s a very honorable experience. I work with the most amazing people, and this city is just awesome. I wouldn’t want to live any other place beside Fraser.”

Niedojadlo said that he is inspired to act by the people around him and encourages everyone to look for ways to get involved in their community.

“I love working with children and making sure there are amenities for them to take advantage of, because (the Hanover Grove Cooperative) is a low-income housing development. Seniors also need to be given back to, because they’ve given all of their lives,” said. “Always reach for the sky. Never give up and remember that everybody needs a friend. Just stand up and work for your community.”

Shelly Hatchett was named the Posthumus Citizen of the Year for her work in the community. Hatchett died April 3, 2021, but an award was presented to her family at the ceremony.

“We moved here in 2006. I went to Regina High School so my mom wanted us to live closer to the school. Instead of choosing Warren, she chose Fraser because she liked that it was a small, tight-knit community and she wanted to make an impact on the community she lived in,” said her daughter, Kelli Moore. “She donated pool chairs at the pool. She would drop off food for one of my little brother’s classmates when their mom got sick. She was one of those parents who was very involved and wanted to help people.”

Moore said that her mother would be happy to see she is still a presence in the community she loved so much.

“It feels surreal. My mom was a very kind person. She really loved the community of Fraser,” she said. “To honor her in this way is the biggest compliment of all, not only to her but to our family. We’re very grateful to those who nominated her and I’m sure she’s very happy on this day.”

Elijah DiCerbo was named the 2021 Student of the Year. He graduated from Fraser High School as the Co-valedictorian of the Class of 2021 with a GPA of 4.113. He was a member of the National Honor Society, won the Macomb All-Academic Team Scholarship and participated in the Macomb Mathematics Science Technology Center.

Mya Baranski, an incoming senior at Fraser High School, was named Fraser’s Youth of the Year. Possessing a 4.0 GPA and serving as her school’s Student Council Vice President, she is a National Honor Society member, and a board member of HOSA – Future Health Professionals, which was formerly known as Health Occupations Students of America, and is a student athlete. She also is a member of the Fraser Goodfellows and has worked on several park, roadside, and neighborhood clean ups; run food drives; and organized a yard work program for senior citizens.

“It feels really good. I’m really happy and excited,” she remarked. “I think it’s really important that you get involved. You can just look on Facebook and see what groups are active in your community.”

The Business of the Year Award went to Yvonne Lewis, the owner of the Fraser Jazzercise Fitness Studio. She and her staff supported several local fundraisers, switched to virtual classes so people could stay healthy while socially distancing, and maintained a strong relationship with her class members to ensure everyone was safe during the trying months of COVID-19.

Additionally, Schott’s Market was presented with the You Made a Difference Award. The Chamber members said that Schott’s Market was presented with the award because its staff stepped up to meet the demands of the local community during COVID-19. They focused on stocking the store with essentials as fast as they could obtain materials from the supply chain. They also started curbside pickup and delivery service, created Pandemic Meal Bundles for quick and easy shopping, and donated gift cards and food so no one would have to go without essentials during the pandemic.

“These are the best and brightest of Fraser,” Weishaupt remarked. “I think it’s only right that they get some recognition for making the lives of others better.”