Community Health Hero Past Recipients


Community Health Heroes from Previous Years

Here are the Community Health Hero Recipients from previous years. 

2018 Recipients

Cyndi Jacobi, SEA (Substance, Education, and Awareness) Manistee Coalition Volunteer

Cyndi Jacobi receives her award

Honored by Manistee Hospital for her role and involvement in volunteering for the SEA Manistee Coalition. Cyndi also was involved in hosting the 2018 Regional Opioid Symposium, has offered the Cooking Matters Classes for patients, and hosts many other health-related activities through her work at MSU Extension.


Health Department of Northwest Michigan

Health Department of Northwest Michigan with their award

Honored by Charlevoix Hospital for their community collaboration and partnerships. The health department provides the energizing force behind the Community Health Innovation Region and has taken the lead in the new regional community health needs assessment, MIthrive.


Jean Mahoney

Honored by Paul Oliver Memorial Hospital, the late Jean Mahoney is recognized for her community health legacy that includes the free 10-week Journey Program for newly diagnosed cancer patients. The program helps participants regain strength and return to normal during and after treatments. She diligently worked with other facilities in northern Michigan to develop trainers for the program allowing it to spread to new locations to support more people.


Kalkaska County Commission on Aging

Staff from the Kalkaska County Commission on Aging receive their award

Honored by Kalkaska Memorial Health Center for their work in providing coupons for residents 60 and older to use at local stores and farmer’s markets for fresh Michigan-grown produce. The commission also offers exercise classes, walking groups, and dances for seniors in addition to offering meal preparation classes and meal deliveries.


Muriel Stehouwer, Volunteer and Former Missionary

Muriel Stehouwer receives her award

Honored by Cadillac Hospital, Muriel Stehouwer, 88, has volunteered for more than 30 years at Cadillac Hospital providing spiritual care for patients under the direction of the hospital chaplain. Muriel and her husband, missionary doctor Ed Stehouwer, raised six children on four continents and traveled internationally providing care in third world countries. Muriel and Ed were also instrumental in establishing the Stehouwer Free Clinic for the uninsured in Cadillac.


Robert Cooney, Grand Traverse County Prosecutor

Robert Cooney receives his award

Honored by Munson Medical Center for his work on the opioid crisis in northern Michigan. Robert has been an advocate and quiet champion in bringing law enforcement, education, healthcare, and social sector groups together to find new and effective ways to stem the opioid epidemic. He was integral to creating the Grand Traverse County Drug Free Coalition.


Tammy Tyler, Crawford-Roscommon Child Protection Council Coordinator

Tammy Tyler receives her award

Honored by Grayling Hospital for her tireless efforts to promote healthy children and families. In addition to helping re-energize the Child Protection Council, Tammy has spearheaded work on food insecurity in Roscommon County, serves as the vice chair of the Crawford County Human Services Collaborative, works with state police to offer Child Passenger Safety technician training, and cares for her own family of nine children.


Previous Recipients

Mary Manner, Great Start Early Childhood Collaborative

Mary Manner receives award

Mary Manner, Executive Director of Great Start Early Childhood Collaborative received the Community Health Hero Award for her focus on early childhood development and the related ongoing health, social, and emotional impacts. The Great Start Early Childhood Collaborative partners with the Traverse City Intermediate School District and other organizations to focus on children and their families from prenatal care through age five. Part of its goal is to increase access to affordable, early care and learning options for children. It also works to provide family-friendly best practices for employers that can positively impact the workforce and benefit area businesses.



Norte! poses receiving award

Norte! received the Community Health Hero Award for their work to build a community of safe biking in Traverse City. Norte offers bike trains to several local elementary schools, encouraging kids to bike to school and helping to develop biking as a habit. Other Norte programs include sidewalk audits for local schools, “slow roll” bike rides, and “Winter Walk Wednesdays.” All programs promote an active lifestyle and healthy culture in Traverse City. 


Freedom Builders of America

Freedom Builders receiving award

Community Health Hero Award was presented to Freedom Builders and its Executive Director Skip Brown for the faith-based organization's focus on home repair projects for the needy in communities across northern Michigan. The organization works with volunteers to do nearly 150 projects a year for clients who may be just one step from homelessness. Projects may involve anything from building a wheelchair ramp or fixing plumbing, to patching leaky roofs, plugging holes in floors, and much more. Some of the projects qualify as complete home makeovers. Read more about their recognition.


Founders of the Diabetes Initiative

Doctors Butler and Lamie receive award

Community Health Hero Awards were presented to Marcia Bartlett, manager of Ambulatory Physician Practices; Diane Butler, retired manager of Munson Medical Center Community Health; and Steve Lamie, MD, an internal medicine specialist with a special interest in diabetes prevention and treatment. The Northern Michigan Diabetes Initiative was founded in 2006 as a collaborative effort between Munson Healthcare, Priority Health, Northern Michigan’s Diabetes Outreach Network, and numerous stakeholders and community partners in a 12-county region. All three honorees devoted significant time and energy to helping NMDI evolve and grow by focusing on three key areas – patients, providers, and community prevention. They helped ensure the success of this long-standing initiative by actively engaging physicians, educating others, and encouraging collaboration and partnership across northern Michigan. Read more about their recognition.


Oryana Natural Foods Market

Oryana Natural Foods Market receives award

Oryana Natural Foods Market has grown from a  small group of families distributing sacks of brown rice and oats from a Traverse City back porch into Northern Michigan's only certified organic retailer, with a large and growing customer base and full line of high quality grocery products produced in ecologically sound ways. The award was presented by the Munson Healthcare Community Health Committee to honor the 42-year-old cooperative’s continued dedication to promoting high quality, sustainably grown food as a foundation for the community. Read more about Oryana Natural Food Market's recognition.


The Children's House

The Children's House representatives receive award

The Children's House is an independent Montessori School founded in 1984 in Traverse City, Michigan. The Children's House prepares a Montessori learning environment that supports and respects the development of each unique child and nurtures them to become independent, curious, confident, lifelong learners who strive to contribute to their communities and the greater world. The award was presented by the Munson Healthcare Community Health Committee to honor the school’s efforts to support vaccinations for students in light of a whooping cough epidemic and measles outbreak in the region in late 2014 and early 2015. Read more about The Children's House recognition. 


Traverse Health Clinic

Traverse Health Clinic receives award

Traverse Health Clinic promotes health and wellness, manage and prevent chronic disease, and to support community health improvement by focusing on the unmet needs and root causes of poor health in the community. The clinic is focused on ensuring all people in the community have access to care, offering primary and preventive care services, including diagnosing and treating illness, routine check-ups, vaccinations and screening tests. The clinic also provides mental health counseling, low or no cost medications as well as access to dental care. The clinic has served the community for nearly 40 years and recently became federally designated as a Community Health Center. Read more about Traverse Health Clinic's recognition.


Manistee Community Kitchen

Manistee Community Kitchen receives award

Manistee Community Kitchen is a grass-roots effort to both eliminate hunger and obesity in Manistee County and to promote healthy foods and eating. The Kitchen provides training and support for low-income families so they can increase their access to fresh produce, and convert that produce into healthy and delicious meals. The Kitchen also works with area businesses, farmers, gardeners, and schools to promote healthy diet and local food sources. The Kitchen provides food for the Manistee Catholic Central Schools, has 48 community gardens. and recently launched its Iron Works Café project as a training facility and community farm on Main Street in Manistee. Read more about Manistee Community Kitchen's recognition. 



Many Rooms - Family of Faith Lutheran Church

Many Rooms' Community Health Committee receives award

"Many Rooms"  ministry helps provide free housing for community visitors receiving outpatient services or whose loved ones are patients at the hospital. After learning of the difficultly some visitors had in finding n affordable place to stay, the congregation, which has no permanent home of their own, were inspired to reach out and offer temporary shelter to those in need. The grass-roots effort pairs up people in the community who have a spare room in their home and want to share with those who need a place to stay while receiving outpatient medical care or supporting a loved one in the hospital. Read more about the Many Rooms ministry's recognition.



Progress Village

Community Health Hero - Progress Village

Progress Village is a group of neighbors who want to play an active role in their community's response to poverty by helping others understand the reality and challenges of living in the crisis of poverty. This grass roots effort of dedicated people is making a difference by creating opportunities and solutions to move people out of poverty and better serve those living in poverty. Since there is often a direct correlation between poor health and poverty, the work of Progress Village is making a positive impact on the health and well-being of our community. Read more about Progress Village's recognition.