Local volunteers recognized by county board

By: Maria Allard, Thomas Franz | C&G Newspapers | Published July 8, 2015

MACOMB COUNTY — More than 60 volunteers from throughout Macomb County were honored by the Macomb County Board of Commissioners on June 25.

In order to be recognized, volunteers were required to donate at least 150 hours toward organizations throughout the county and region.

“As we all know, volunteers are the heart of our community. Contrary to many aspects of our lives, volunteers do not have to do anything. Instead, they offer their time, their talent and their resources because they want to help others,” board Chair David Flynn said during the event.

Each volunteer in attendance was individually recognized by their respective commissioner, who spoke briefly on each person from their district.

“The gifts of selflessness and compassion that these volunteers bestow on our communities deserve to have the spotlight,” Flynn said. “This group tonight has put in 10,000 hours of time and energy that was donated to various organizations throughout this county and this region.”

Peter Karrer was recognized in District 3, for which Veronica Klinefelt is the county commissioner. The district covers Warren, Eastpointe, Grosse Pointe Shores and St. Clair Shores.

According to an event press release, Karrer was acknowledged “for the incredible number of hours he donated in service at St. John Hospital and Medical Center for the many hats he wears as a volunteer.”

Karrer is a “Guiding Star” once a week, directing visitors and patients to their various destinations. He also serves as a facility dog handler, taking Hope — the facility dog — on rounds to visit patients and visitors throughout the hospital. Karrer is always present at hospital blood drives and contributes as a speaker at new volunteer orientations.

In District 1, served by Commissioner Andrey Duzyj, of Warren, the following volunteers were honored: Jolanthe Bassett, Kingsley Sears, Jeffrey Cutter, Wendy Watters, Kelly Weidemann and Jenny Hobson. 

Bassett serves as the leader for the TACOM Lifecycle Command’s Spouses and Civilians Coffee Group, is a board member for Rochester Area Youth Assistance, is an ambassador for Common Ground, and serves as a Michigan ambassador for the Yellow Ribbon Fund.

Bassett also volunteers with Guardian Angels, a nonprofit organization based in Williston, Florida, that rescues, raises and trains service dogs for people with physical and mental disabilities. Many recipients are U.S. veterans who suffer from  brain injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder. In addition, Bassett is an active volunteer at the schools that her two daughters attend.

Sears has served as a volunteer to the Warren Symphony Society since 1976, and contributed more than 150 hours this past year to researching and composing the program notes for every subscription concert program. For nearly 40 years, he has composed program notes for 783 musical selections in 191 concerts. During the current season, there have been program notes for 20 musical selections.

“His dedication and commitment to this volunteer service is admirable and appreciated,” according to the press release.

Cutter was recognized for guiding the Warren Concert Band since 1998, where he has held the roles of
treasurer and president. During this time, he has shared his organizational vision, leadership skills and community contacts to stimulate interest in the concert band through public concert performances. To achieve this, Cutter volunteered more than 150 hours this past year.

According to those who know her best, Watters is one of the most dedicated volunteers at Roose Elementary in Center Line Public Schools, where “she is always willing to lend a hand to a teacher or a family and is an integral part of the school.”

As an active member of the school’s Parent Teacher Organization for the past six years, Watters fulfills her commitments and has donated hundreds of hours to help make the school a better place. She has supported school initiatives such as the Green Schools program and March Is Reading Month.

Weidemann is a dedicated volunteer at Willow Woods Elementary in Warren Consolidated Schools. Whether it’s helping with breakfast and lunch duty or supporting staff at the school, Weidemann is always willing to contribute. In addition, she participates in school events and fundraisers, and always goes the extra mile to ensure that the children at school have the best educational experience possible.

“Jenny’s work reputation over the past 30 years at the Detroit VA Medical Center is exemplary,” the event press release stated about Hobson. “Every Monday, she and her fellow ‘Pink Shirt Ladies’ from the Warren VFW make sure that all veteran inpatients receive comfort items. Her dedication and caring for America’s veterans is an outstanding service.”

Hobson also shares birthday wishes, including a song, card and gift, with patients who are spending their birthday in the hospital.