Community Round Table thanks hardworking volunteers
Community Round Table thanks hardworking volunteers
Parade Committee chair, Biggby Coffee, Kmart named top winners.
By Andy Kozlowski
C & G Staff Writer
MADISON HEIGHTS — Each year, the Madison Heights Community Round Table (MHCRT) brings together dozens of local charities, churches, schools, city departments and community-minded businesses, recognizing their best volunteers for work well done.
At this year’s luncheon, held at the Club Venetian May 16, the MHCRT recognized Martha Kehoe as the 2012 Volunteer of the Year, the ceremony’s most prestigious award.
The room roared with applause as the Madison Heights resident blinked back tears. Her name had been kept a secret, hinted at repeatedly by MHCRT vice-chair Fran Kirchoff as she reviewed Kehoe’s many contributions leading up to the grand reveal.
In recent years, Kehoe’s most visible form of volunteerism has been as chair of the Parade Committee, which has kept the Memorial Day Parade going strong after the city cut funding for the cherished tradition in 2009. It takes countless hours of hard work each year, putting together the fundraisers that bring in the roughly $9,000 necessary.
A good chunk of the money — $3,000 — came from the city’s first-ever pub crawl on May 12, when more than 100 people toured 10 bars and restaurants across the city, traveling on buses provided by the city. The event was sponsored by the GFWC Madison Heights Intermediate Women’s Club, of which Kehoe is a charter member of 35 years.
“We should all take a small part of our year to support our troops and thank our vets, and honor those who lost their lives,” Kirchoff said. “(Kehoe’s) support and passion shows all year long.”
Kehoe is also a longstanding member of the Historical Commission, and over the years, she has served on the Crime Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Charter Amendment & Ordinance Revision Committee, and Senior Advisory Board at the Senior Citizen Center. She’s an active member of St. Vincent Ferrer Catholic Church, serving on the ushering committee, participating in bake sales and other church community events, and working with a new committee to draw people back to church.
Kehoe has also been very active with the Jaycees and helps with tending to the nature center gardens, decorating the nature center and public library during the holidays, preparing and serving meals at Ronald McDonald House, volunteering in the Heritage Rooms, coordinating the collection of Campbell Soup labels for the library, and clipping and mailing thousands of coupons for overseas military bases.
“We, the Madison Heights Community Round Table, believe our city benefits greatly from the works of this passionate, good-hearted woman,” Kirchoff said.
Representatives of City Council and Linda Williams, the city’s economic development coordinator, announced one of the event’s other big awards, Corporation of the Year. This year’s honor went to the Madison Heights Biggby Coffee, 31055 John R.
The Biggby Coffee, owned and operated by managing partners Dan Bora, Dan Banu and Mike Guler, was credited for its support of the city’s Holiday Tree Lighting, the Downtown Development Authority’s Around the Globe in Madison Heights taste festival and cultural show, the city’s February Coffee Concerts, the city’s “Eat, Work, Love Madison Heights” campaign, and as host of the monthly E-Lounge sessions.
And for its 27th year, the awards ceremony introduced a new category, the Lifetime Corporation Community Service Award. The Madison Heights Kmart, 29101 John R, was named the first recipient of this honor.
Since coming to Madison Heights more than 30 years ago, the store has allowed groups like the Salvation Army to solicit donations outside the store, offered extreme discounts for such programs as the nonprofit Shoes and Coats for Kids, and facilitated Christmas shopping for the Mental Retardation Association of Michigan, for which the MRAW bestowed the store with its Charitable Business Award earlier in the ceremony.
The Madison Heights Kmart has been the launching point for the Memorial Day Parade for decades now, and it has also been active with the Boys and Girls Club, local band boosters and Cub Scout groups. It has helped the Karmanos Cancer Institute and the city’s Crime Commission, which gave the store its Community Service Award.
The Madison Heights Kmart has also sponsored the March of Dimes and St. Jude’s Children Hospital, allowed Mission Outreach Youth Group to conduct its annual fundraising carwash at the store, and has also run a program called Kmart Cares, an initiative to help local charities.
“It would be easy to cut down on their endeavors when competition and the economy are having a hurtful effect, but the store still makes charity a major part of its focus,” said Linda Newton, MHCRT chair. “Where many of the large corporations are now having to cut back on their donations and solicitations at their store or at best are giving $25 gift cards, Kmart is still trying to make the well-being of the Madison Heights community a huge part of its business model. We believe this recognition is well overdue.”
You can reach C & G Staff Writer Andy Kozlowski at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (586)498-1104.