Lenawee Community Foundation honors couple with Lenawee Leadership Award
By DEB WUETHRICH
The Lenawee Community Foundation (LCF) presented the 2012 Lenawee Leadership Award to Gary and Janet McDowell on Thursday, May 3, during a special recognition at the Adrian College Tobias Room. The LCF recently took on the responsibility of the award, formerly known as the Maple Leaf Award, given out since 1953, and expanded its sphere of influence county-wide.
LCF Chair, David Hickman, said the Lenawee Leadership Award honors individuals or couples who “exemplify the underlying principle that the future of our county will be determined by the quality of its leadership.” He said the award encompasses all aspects of the quality of life in Lenawee County.
“The award mirrors the Lenawee Community Foundation mission to enhance the quality of life of the citizens of Lenawee in the areas of civic projects, culture, health, education and social services,” he said.
Gary McDowell served as mayor of Adrian for three terms, and Janet has worked with three superintendents including Bill Ross, Steve Krusich and Jim Philp, at the Lenawee Intermediate School District, and currently serves as the Executive Director of the Lenawee County Education Foundation which administers student scholarships. The couple have served as leaders in nonprofits, education, government, youth organizations, their church and more.
Friends, family and leaders in the Lenawee community toasted and roasted the couple throughout the event. Their good friend Ron Reeves, who is vice president of development at Adrian College, said, “You’re going to hear about an incredible couple who have dedicated their lives to service for others. And some it even resembles the truth.”
Krusich, who worked with Janet more than 20 years, rode into the hall on his motorcycle and told tales of road trips and camping in the rain with Gary. He also said Janet served as “the face of LISD” for many years, and talked of her influence.
“It’s impossible to measure and impossible to know the ultimate impact of Janet’s work,” he said, making special note of fundraising campaigns she helped lead for the school district and the growth of the Lenawee County Education Foundation scholarship program. “For those students, how many hopes and dreams have become a reality as they’ve taken their place in service and leadership? If the measure of responsibility is to leave the world a better place than you found it, Gary and Janet have already accomplished that and what’s neat is that they are not done yet.”
After Hickman and Barb Mitzel, representing Consumer’s Energy, who sponsored the award in honor of its 125th anniversary of service in Michigan, presented a tree-shaped award, the couple had their turn at the microphone.
“We have been blessed with many opportunities to be involved in this great community,” said Janet. “This truly does feel like a huge community hug.”
For further information about the Lenawee Leadership Award or the Lenawee Community Foundation, contact Sue Hammersmith at email@example.com or 423.1729.