By Marianne Boerigter
Photo by Faune Benson Schuitema
It was Volunteer Appreciation night at the Dogwood Center on Thursday, August 15. Dogwood volunteers provide countless hours of service that help make the Dogwood Center the strong cultural resources that it is. Over the past year, over 35 community members from all of our communities in Newaygo County helped with fundraising, ticket sales, technical needs, ushers and greeters, and all the components necessary for providing such a wonderful venue.
Dogwood volunteers were treated to complimentary tickets to the ragtime pianist Bob Milne concert as a special thank you for their help over the past year. That evening, Dogwood Board of Directors stepped into the volunteer roles of box office personnel, ushers and greeters.
The Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award is given annually to the volunteer whose service, dedication, and commitment embodies the Dogwood Center’s spirit. This award is dedicated to Don Heaven. Since the inception of the Dogwood Center, Don has worked tirelessly to make it not only a reality but also an excellent asset to Newaygo County. Over the past years, the Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award has been awarded to: Georgia Paxton, Irene Baker, Henrietta Van Meekeren, Marcia Eib, Julie Vanderboegh, Sandy Saliers, Shirley Hooker, Tom Shoecraft, Maxine McBride, Sandy Cruzan, Nevonda Lankhorst, and Dwight Austin. The 2019 Don Heaven Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Rob Johnston.
The Dogwood Center appreciate all of the time and extra effort Rob puts in to make the Dogwood experience special for everyone who walks in the door. He has been volunteering at the Dogwood for almost 7 years and works at any volunteer position that needs to be filled. Rob is a lover of the arts and that is why he volunteers at the Dogwood Center.
Rob has been retired from his position as Caretaker of Camp Echo since 2012, after 33 years on the job. At camp he was a mentor to many, hero to all, and is stilled called upon for advice and helpful hints by those who work at and enjoy camp. He is an amazing handyman and can fix anything. He has many hobbies including guitar, whittling, stained glass, mosaic, gardening, bee-keeping and underwater photography.
The Dogwood Center staff and Board of Directors appreciate and thank all of the wonderful Dogwood volunteers for all that they do! For information on how you can volunteer at the Dogwood Center, phone 231.924.8885. The Dogwood Center is located one mile east of downtown Fremont.