Foundation members visit projects in Evart

EVART — Members and guests of the Osceola County Community Foundation gathered in Evart last week to hold their annual meeting; do a little business, see how funding affects grant awardees, and honor a few dedicated supporters.

The annual meeting was held in the cafeteria of Evart High School, with Foundation vice president Alan Bengry at the helm.

After a period of socializing and fellowship, those attending were treat to a three facet tour of the high school facilities to see three different ways in which Foundation grant moneys were being put to good use.

One break-out group was taken on a tour of the high school greenhouse operation by program facilitator Jay Wallace. Wallace not only told the visitors how the greenhouse functions and where OCCF grant money was used, but also explained how the greenhouse was being used as a stand-alone curriculum opportunity as well as a complementary class tool.

Inside the high school, two other groups were treated to a discussion of how laptop computers purchased with OCCF funding were being put to use in the alternative high school classroom, and how these “tools” were enhancing the learning experience for students better preparing them for not only their school experience, but for life after high school as well.

Finally, a third revolving group was offered an explanation of “smart” whiteboard technology being used in a language arts classroom — technology that allowed students to more actively interact with lesson offerings.

This approach made white board work more of an adventure, more interesting and more memorable.

Upon returning to the cafeteria, those gathered settled in for the awarding of the annual Chief Osceola Award. This prestigious award is offered special people from throughout the community — and further afield — who have gone above and beyond in their support for the Osceola County Community Foundation and it’s work.

This year, two individuals and a couple were named recipients of the OCCF honors.

Tommy and Harriet Thompson were honored for their contributions made in honor of their friend Russ Gerber which made possible the completion of a office facilities that are now “home” to the Foundation’s administrative team.

“The Thompson’s generous contribution in honor of Russ Gerber, made it possible for the Foundation to furnish and equip the office in The Depot in Reed City,” explained Bengry.

“With their support, we have been able to steadily add the items that we’ve needed in order to function efficiently.

“We appreciated the Thompson’s foresight in providing this gift allowing us to grow and touch more lives in Osceola County.

“The board of the Foundation expresses its heartfelt appreciation to Tommy and Harriet Thompson.”

The Thompsons were out of town, and will be awarded a commemorative plaque upon their return to the area.

Next to be honored with the Chief Osceola Award was OCCF office coordinator Sandy Gingrich.

“Sandy accepted the position of administrative secretary less than one year ago,” explained Bengry.

“Her exceptional performance and constant effort have improved the internal workings and external visibility of the Foundation in a remarkably short time.

“She has ensured the Foundation was well represented at a wide range of events around the county.

“She is an excellent representative of our Foundation.

“In our appreciation for many jobs well done, the board awards Sandy Gingrich with the Chief Osceola Award.”

Last to be honored was Bob Jordan, vice president for philanthropic services with the Fremont Area Community Foundation — the parent organization for the OCCF.

“Bob has been instrumental in the growth of our Foundation,” noted Bengry.

“His presence, leadership and wise counsel over many years has assisted the OCCF in countless ways.

“We want to recognize his role in our success by presenting him with the Chief Osceola Award.”