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2021 Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award Recipients

by Colleen Paveglio
Wednesday, June 16, 2021

June 15, 2021 - The Traverse City Human Rights Commission has announced the recipients of the Sara Hardy Humanitarian awards this year.

Ryan Hannon, Outreach Coordinator at Goodwill Industries, and Bill and Michelle White, creators of the nonprofit "5 Loaves, 2 Fish," are this year's recipients of the 26-year-old award. Hannon was chosen for his long-time service in championing the area homelessness. The Whites are recognized for their work in this difficult year of food insecurity. 

Hannon has a long history of working with the homeless population in Traverse City. He helped establish 86th District Court's Outreach program in 2007 and has long been an advocate for the homeless. Last year's Humanitarian award winner, Tom Bousamra said, in nominating Hannon, "I have witnessed his passionate advocacy for those experiencing homelessness."

Both Bill and Michelle White spent many hours each week planning, preparing and serving meals to those in the area experiencing food insecurity. While others also helped the Whites, the retired couple set the example of getting to know the recipients and making them feel welcome, according to several of the volunteers who nominated them.

“The Traverse City Human Rights Commission appreciates all of the nominations we received for several different nominees. Our local community is fortunate that many people are working on behalf of human rights,” said Susan Odgers, Chair of the Traverse City Human Rights Commission.

The award is given annually in honor of Sara Hardy, a longtime resident, who exemplified the philosophies and ideals of the Human Rights Commission to promote mutual understanding and respect among all people and to discourage discriminatory practices. This award recognizes Hardy’s contributions to the community by honoring an individual who exemplifies the Human Rights Commission’s ideals.

The recipients will be publicly recognized later this year when Traverse City governmental groups meet in person. To learn more about the Human Rights Commission visit https://www.traversecitymi.gov/humanrights.asp.