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ANN BUZINSKIF. EUGENE BAILEY
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MYKOLA KIRICHENKO
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Posted: 10/03/12

Oakland trustees surprise
2 women with rare awards

by STACY SOBOTKA
Observer Special Writer
      Two Oakland Township residents got quite a surprise prior to the Oakland Township Board of Trustees meeting Sept. 25.
       Jo Ann Kelly Bourez and Colleen Barkham came to the meeting, assuming it would be a regular Township Board meeting, only to discover they were each receiving the Presidential Volunteer Service Award.
       The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation was established in 2003 to recognize the valuable contributions volunteers are making in the community and to encourage more people to serve. The Council created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service.
       The President's Volunteer Service Award recognizes individuals, families, and groups that have achieved a certain standard<measured by the number of hours of service over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of a lifetime. There are four different types of volunteer awards given out, depending on how many hours of community service the recipient has performed.
       The Honorable Lisa L. Asadoorian of the 52nd-3 District Court presented the President's Call to Service Award to Bourez and Barkham, explaining that less than 1 percent of the U.S. population has received this award.
       "You're in the presence of the best of the best," she said.
       The President's Call to Service Award is given to those who have performed over 4,000 hours of community service over their lifetime. The award consists of a commemorative pin, a personalized certificate, and a congratulatory letter from President Barack Obama.
       Bourez and Barkham are retired schoolteachers. Their service to the community includes the Oakland Township Historical Society, the Paint Creek Cemetery Association, the Rochester-Avon Historical Society, and the Paint Creek United Methodist Church, as well as volunteering for local schools and assisting the elderly.
       Asadoorian was thrilled to be asked to give out the awards.
       "It's very special for me to give it out. They are a very elite group. I hope they inspire others to volunteer," she said. "They're people I am humbled to be in their presence."
       Fred Rosvold of Oakland Township was instrumental in getting Bourez and Barkham nominated. He has nominated other volunteers in the community for such awards in the hopes others will be inspired to make a difference.
       "These two people (were selected) particularly through the (Oakland Township) Historical Society," he said. "If we can get adults nominated, we can try to encourage young people to get involved in community service," he said.
       Both were clearly stunned to be receiving their awards.
       "I'm still very surprised," said Barkham. "I'm very honored and excited about it, and I'm very happy to share it with Jo Ann, my friend and mentor."
       Bourez admitted she thought the Paint Creek Cider Mill was up for discussion until her name was announced.
       "I'm absolutely stunned," she said. 
       Bourez then went on to say that she was proud to be serving her community.
       "I love being a volunteer. I tend to be involved in a great many things, but I love it," she said.
       The Board of Trustees also approved a Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF) resolution to approve a project agreement for a safety path and boardwalk project on the west side of Adams Road, between an existing safety path that dead ends at Delta Kelly Elementary School and connects to the Paint Creek Trail. A grant from the MNRTF is helping to pay for the project. They also approved resolutions to indicate matching funds would be available via the Trails and Safety Fund for the Transportation Enhancement grant for the project. Additional funding will be provided via millage funds.
       Township Trustee Marc Edwards said that the Parks and Recreation Commission had tried several times to get grants before receiving them and said the safety path would serve a large percentage of the community.
       "It is just a huge win for the township," he said.
       In other business, the Board of Trustees:
       • Heard a presentation from Rana Emmons of Post, Smythe, Lutz and Ziel, LLP of Oakland Township's audited year-end March 31, 2012 financial reports.
       • Approved the introduction and first reading of an ordinance amendment allowing the Historic District Commission to hold and conduct historic related activities.
       • Approved and accepted terms and payment for a temporary construction easement for the safety path project.
       • Approved two resolutions regarding acquisition of a temporary construction easement, declaration of necessity and takings, and good faith offer.
       • Accepted easement donations from Rochester Community Schools, the Paint Creek Trailways Commission, and John and Paula McClain.


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