Press Releases

Lifetime Leadership Honorees Sought

The National Cherry Festival ( and Senior Events Sponsor Grand Traverse Pavilions ( announced today that they are soliciting nominations to honor individuals for decades of leadership, volunteerism, and service to their community.

“As an organization that believes in honoring our elders, we are excited to once again sponsor this honor,” said Kory Hansen, Administrator/CEO of the Grand Traverse Pavilions. “We are looking for those who stand out as a community role model and motivate and inspire those around them.” Nominees should be individuals who have gifted a significant part of their time and talents to the community, including civic, church, and other volunteer contributions.

Nominations will be accepted until June 1. The award will be presented at the Lifetime Leadership Award Breakfast at 9 AM on Monday, July 2 at the Traverse City Elks Lodge.

Selection criteria:

Benevolent service and achievements in their community.
Encouraged and motivated others to assume leadership roles in philanthropy and increase community involvement.
Outstanding public service in the community through acts of volunteerism.
Aged 65 and older and a resident of Antrim, Benzie, Grand Traverse, Kalkaska, Leelanau, or Wexford Counties.
Winners must be willing and able to attend both the Monday, July 2 Lifetime Leadership Award breakfast, and ride in The National Cherry Festival Heritage Parade on Tuesday, July 3.
Previous winners (formerly known as the Very Cherry Distinguished Senior Award) are not eligible.

“This community is fortunate to have so many individuals who have a deep commitment to their community,” said Deborah Allen, Executive Director of the Grand Traverse Pavilions Foundation. “The past winners are all truly inspiring individuals who have worked to make our area a great place to live.”

Past winners include:

2017: Leo Hughes
2016: Rev. Dr. Homer E. Nye
2015: Barbra Mikowski
2014: Dr. Hank Johnson
2013: Michael Sheehan
2012: Ralph Soffredine
2011: Hettie Molvang
2010: Sandra Svec
2009: Rev. Edwin Thome
2008: Bea Houghton
2007: Jim Rowlett
2006: Virginia Olds
2005: Joe Lada
2004: Clara McManus
2003: Mary Jean Brick
2002: Margaret Dunn
2001: Peg Simmons

“This event has been part of the National Cherry Festival for eighteen years,” said National Cherry Festival, Executive Director Kat Paye. “While we have always honored those that are important to the Cherry industry, this award gives us the opportunity to recognize those who make Traverse City great. Volunteers and community leaders are important to making the festival run and it is a privilege to be able to acknowledge these individuals for their volunteerism and leadership.”

Those wanting to nominate a worthwhile individual can do so by submitting their information on the National Cherry Festival website at

About Grand Traverse Pavilions
Grand Traverse Pavilions is the region’s first and only nonprofit Continuum of Care. Providing services for more than 300 residents and 100 daily program participants, Grand Traverse Pavilions is a community of caring and innovation primarily for our region’s low-income seniors, with Wellness Center programs for the entire community. Grand Traverse Pavilions is working to bring PACE, Program of All-inclusive Care for the Elderly to the northern Michigan region. A recipient of the Governor’s Quality Care Award, The Pavilions is owned by Grand Traverse County and governed by the Grand Traverse County Department of Health and Human Services Board.


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