KALKASKA – Kalkaska County Treasurer Valerie Thornburg is the 2018 Citizen of the Year for Kalkaska, while All Seasons Hotel & Resort is the community’s Business of the Year.
The recipients will be honored at the Kalkaska Annual Luncheon coming up Wednesday, April 25, from 11:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. at the Kalkaska Church of Christ. The Kalkaska Luncheon is presented by Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Michigan and the Grand Traverse Regional Community Foundation.
Several area residents commended Thornburg both for her public service and her charitable work in the community. “Valerie has made a difference in Kalkaska with her servant attitude and her ‘can do’ spirit,” one nominator said. She’s described as “polite, friendly and very helpful” and residents commended her for helping citizens understand and follow tax rules and procedures for the county, sometimes helping them avoid property foreclosures. She’s also credited with implementing cost-savings and efficiency measures for the county, while also serving as president of a non-profit organization known as Academea Club in Kalkaska which helps provide books for the local library, bicycles for local children, college scholarships, art supplies for local teachers and more. She’s also active in her church and in other community initiatives.
All Seasons Hotel & Resort was described by nominators as an “exceptional locally owned business in Kalkaska” featuring excellent service and clean, modern facilities. The resort allows community groups to use its facilities free of charge, and they also make their modern pool and spa facilities available to local residents.
Resort General Manager Tim Ellis, last year’s Citizen of the Year for Kalkaska, is well known in the community for hiring and mentoring area youth at the hotel. Ellis also serves on the Advisory Board of New Horizons Clubhouse in Rapid City, a rehabilitation program serving adults with mental illness. The program relies on area businesses to help its members share their talents and skills in the local work force, and the resort employs two workers through the program.
“Thanks to All Seasons Hotel & Resort, these two individuals are well on their way to greater independence and fulfillment…. (Ellis’) commitment and enthusiasm, as well as that of the entire All Seasons staff, is truly making a positive difference in the community,” said Christine Pion, a Psychosocial Rehabilitation Specialist for New Horizons Clubhouse.