GRAND RAPIDS, Michigan – Molina Healthcare celebrated the good deeds of four community heroes Wednesday night at the inaugural Community Champions Awards in Grand Rapids. Winners included Patty Kolb and the FOX 17 team, David Struyk of Wyoming, Ron Friday of Muskegon and Dr. Herman Chavis Sullivan of Ada.
The Community Champions program celebrates the vision of Dr. C. David Molina, the founder of Molina Healthcare, as well as community partners who work together to care for society’s most vulnerable individuals. Each Community Champion was nominated by a community-based organization and also received a $1,000 grant to give to a deserving nonprofit organization of his/her choice.
“We proudly recognize the hard work of these extraordinary individuals,” said Stephen Harris, president of Molina Healthcare of Michigan, “It was a pleasure honoring this year’s Molina Community Champions for their dedication to serving those in need in the community.”
The awards presentation was held at the Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park.
THE 2015 COMMUNITY CHAMPIONS AWARD WINNERS:
- Patty Kolb, general manager of FOX 17, and her entire team work hard to provide the community with accurate news and reporting, but also go above and beyond to be involved in the local West Michigan communities. The team started the “Pay it Forward Challenge” to honor and recognize individuals who give back to those in need and are passionate about helping others. The challenge has awarded $15,000 to local charities and spurred the franchise of the program that exists today. FOX 17 also has many longstanding partnerships in the local community including March of Dimes, Humane Society of West Michigan, LaughFest and the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. The FOX team often takes the entire crew on the road to small towns throughout West Michigan to support special events and highlight extraordinary work being done in the community. Kolb and the FOX 17 team have chosen to donate their $1,000 to The Salvation Army Kroc Center.
- David Struyk, a local pastor, has worked tirelessly to support North Godwin Elementary, a school that was faced with losing its afterschool program due to lack of funding. Struyk and his church worked with the school’s staff to create a unique program that not only offers after school care, but also includes volunteers that provide tutoring and help the children with their homework. Struyk and his team of volunteers also support the school’s attendance program by providing rewards to children who have good attendance. Because of Struyk’s devotion to strengthen his community, North Godwin now has a successful after school program and a strong support system of volunteers working to make the school a better place for the children. Struyk has chosen to donate his $1,000 grant to Community Christian Reformed Church.
- Ron Friday has been a volunteer at Catholic Charities for over four years, helping countless families through his work to support those in need. When the organization opened a baby pantry, Friday jumped at the opportunity and has helped the new program thrive. The baby pantry offers the resources and supplies that mothers and fathers need for their children. Friday’s efforts leading the baby pantry have resulted in an increased number of donations and volunteers and it has become an extremely valuable source to the local community. Friday is constantly advocating for the pantry by going out in the community and speaking on the organization’s behalf at local events. Friday will give his $1,000 grant to Catholic Charities of West MI, God’s Infant & Toddler Pantry.
- Herman Chavis Sullivan, a neurologist and medical director at Mercy Health Saint Mary’s Hospital, has dedicated many years to improving the health of individuals with multiple sclerosis (MS). As a result of Dr. Sullivan’s research, clinical trials and studies related to MS and neurology, Mercy Health St. Mary’s recently created a MS clinic where patients have a dedicated medical home and are cared for by an expert in the field. Dr. Sullivan dedicates his time supporting patients and providing his expertise on the disease. In addition to all of his time spent working in the field, he still finds time to attend meetings, be a board and committee member and participate in lectures. Dr. Sullivan has chosen to donate his $1,000 grant to the Grand Rapids African American Health Institute.