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Grosse Pointe Farms honors former councilwoman

By: K. Michelle Moran | Grosse Pointe Times | Published December 17, 2019

 Former Grosse Pointe Farms City Councilwoman Sierra Leone Donaven was honored for her community service and for being a “positive force” in the city at a Dec. 9 Farms City Council meeting.

Former Grosse Pointe Farms City Councilwoman Sierra Leone Donaven was honored for her community service and for being a “positive force” in the city at a Dec. 9 Farms City Council meeting.

Photo by K. Michelle Moran

GROSSE POINTE FARMS — Her tenure on the Grosse Pointe Farms City Council might have been relatively brief, but former City Councilwoman Sierra Leone Donaven left a lasting, significant mark.

Donaven, who was appointed to fill a vacancy in July 2018 and served until November 2019, when she lost her seat in a contested council race, was honored with a resolution from Mayor Louis Theros during a City Council meeting Dec. 9.

“Sierra’s one of my favorite people in the Farms,” Theros said. “She’s been a great ambassador of the city.”

Donaven has been a member of the Farms Beautification Advisory Commission for a number of years, and the devoted dog mom also serves as a liaison with the city’s dog park users and residents. Theros said city officials “really appreciate your service to the community,” and they were glad to say she’d continue to volunteer her time and talents in the Farms.

Donaven was the first African-American city council member in any of the Grosse Pointes. Her appointment was hailed by local civil rights advocates as an important step toward greater inclusivity and diversity. In November, Grosse Pointe City voters elected the first African-American man to a council seat in the Pointes when they selected attorney Terence Thomas during a contested council race.

In a brief and funny story, Donaven recounted her experiences speaking with Theros by phone.

“He’d call and in the same breath say, ‘I’ve got to go,’” Donaven said with a smile. “In that short time (on the phone), he imparted humor, wisdom, insight and friendship.”

The resolution in Donaven’s honor reads, in part: “Sierra Donaven was always one to appear at City Hall or meetings with City Council and administration with her signature professional politeness, her good nature and infectious smile that would lift everyone’s spirits; she was admired by her colleagues for her diligence. … At all times, Sierra has exercised good judgment, and has been a positive force that greatly benefited the city of Grosse Pointe Farms.”

The resolution also recognizes that her “keen eye for esthetics and willingness to provide hands-on involvement has contributed to the beauty of the community.”

City Councilwoman Beth Konrad-Wilberding said Donaven’s “vivacious personality and neighborliness” were an asset to the community.

“Sierra Donaven is a bridge builder,” Konrad-Wilberding said. “She was a bridge builder in this community — and a legendary one.”