Community leader Carol Griffith was honored as the 2018 Citizen of the Year at the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce Annual Dinner on Jan. 24, 2019, at Crystal Gardens. Pat Convery, the 2017 Citizen of the Year, made the announcement after recounting anecdotes and achievements in Carol Griffith’s life.
Griffith is a third-generation Realtor and vice president, co-broker at Griffith Realty. She and her brother Scott are key partners at Griffith Realty. Their father, Harry, still works at the firm. Griffith has held leadership positions in the National Association of Realtors, Michigan Association of Realtors, and Livingston County Association of Realtors.
A lifelong resident of Brighton and graduate of Brighton High School, Griffith is also past chair and vice chair of the Livingston County Board of Commissioners. She has been on the board since 2009.
Griffith has co-chaired the Livingston County United Way Campaign twice, is a Tour de Livingston volunteer and member of the Howell Rotary. She was instrumental in seeing Howell Main Street’s wall mural become a reality, is a high-energy community supporter and unsung hero.
In addition, Griffith enjoys golf, coffee and traveling. She has an amazing sense of humor, infectious laugh, and has two children.
The annual Citizen of the Year Award has been presented by the Howell Area Chamber of Commerce since 1957. The award winner is selected by a committee of previous winners and is a closely-guarded secret until the announcement at the annual dinner.
This year’s event was sponsored by Saint Joseph Mercy Livingston and PNC. Financial Plus Credit Union was the Awards Sponsor, and the Hospitality Sponsor was Ascension Michigan.
Other awards presented
The Howell Area Chamber of Commerce presented six other awards,and recognized the accomplishments of those people and organizations that have made exceptional contributions.
Two Decades of Service Awards were presented – one to Concerts at the Courthouse and the other to Saint Joseph Mercy Livingston.
Anyone who has spent a Friday night in downtown Howell in the summer, knows this city rocks! Activity centers around the courthouse amphitheater where thousands gather to hear nationally-recognized bands. These sounds of summer — known as Concerts at the Courthouse — have been presented by the Livingston Arts Council for 20 years — two decades of service to our community.
The second Decades of Service Award was presented to an organization that contributes to the well-being of the community and has contributed to the good health of many. In fact, their impact to the area is REMARKABLE.
Recently celebrating 90 years, the hospital is recognized for embracing evidence-based medicine in the areas of heart failure, heart attack, pneumonia, and surgical care. In addition, Saint Joseph Mercy Livingston works with the Michigan Stroke Network and uses technology to improve care and outcomes to stroke patients.
Services include an award-winning 24-hour emergency department, inpatient and outpatient surgery, including joint replacement, a variety of diagnostic and outpatient services and over 300 physicians serving patients.
A Game Changer Award went to Cleary University for the new Lake Trust Stadium on campus. Borrowing a line from the movie “Field of Dreams” — if you build it, they will come — many of the game changing collaborations in the Howell area have started as a big dream. Cleary University reintroduced collegiate athletics in 2011, but the university’s vision was greater than its local teams. The athletic department is now home to nationally-ranked sports teams, some of whom play in the new Lake Trust Stadium, a $2.5 million investment.
Jake Andrews, Financial Plus Credit Union, received the Young Professional Award. He is a dedicated volunteer at the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest and Fantasy of Lights. His service extends to other community events and organizations such as the Howell Rotary, food bank and Habitat for Humanity. As branch manager at Financial Plus Credit Union, he is a leader in his career and has leadership positions in his volunteer work as well. In addition to serving, he is a regular attendee at many chamber programs and activities.
The Spirit of Community Award was presented to Colleen Hunter of First National Bank. She can be seen volunteering at many of the chamber’s special events – the Michigan Challenge Balloonfest, Fantasy of Lights and Golf Classic. Her background in banking makes her a perfect fit to co-chair the finance committee at balloonfest. You can also see her helping in the information booth and answering the same questions hundreds of times, always with a smile on her face. Hunter takes no break after the balloonfest ends in June,and gets back in the swing of volunteering as chair of the annual Golf Classic in July. At the Fantasy of Lights, she works with volunteers on course security during the 5K and parade.
A Community Collaboration Award was presented to the Zemp Legacy. Duane Zemper was a local award-winning photographer whose pictures documented the history of the area and World War II. He served in the war and was a veteran. Zemp, as he was called, was a Rotarian for 68 years with perfect attendance. He was a cross country athlete and record holder for completing 3,457 sit ups in 3 hours and 47 minutes.