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Sara Hardy Humanitarian Awards Presented October 4, 2021

by Colleen Paveglio
Wednesday, September 29, 2021

September 29, 2021 - 

The City of Traverse City’s Human Rights Commission will present the Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award on Monday, October 4, 2021. The celebration will take place at the Governmental Center, 400 Boardman Avenue, at 5:30 pm. in the Lower Level Cafeteria, with the award presentation at 7 pm. in the Commission Chambers.

This year’s recipients of the 26th year award are Ryan Hannon, Outreach Coordinator at Goodwill Industries, and Bill and Michelle White, creators of the nonprofit "5 Loaves, 2 Fish".

Hannon has a long history of working with the homeless population in Traverse City. He has helped establish the 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, Traverse City Human Rights Commission Chairperson.

Last year’s recipient, Tom Bousamra, will also be recognized during the presentation. Bousamra is the President of Before, During and After Incarceration (BDAI). He's served as a volunteer Catholic chaplain at the Grand Traverse County jail for the past thirty-four years.  He's a current member of the Family Partnership of Grand Traverse, a Deacon at St. Francis Catholic Church and past chair of the St. Francis Peace and Justice Commission.  Bousamra has helped to prepare those incarcerated for re-entry into our community through Life Skills Classes, Coaching/Mentoring programs, and Family Support Dinners. 

Meeting the criteria of the Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award, this year’s recipients have each made a positive impact on the community.

The Sara Hardy Humanitarian 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.

To learn more about the Human Rights Commission visit