November 07, 2012 - It was a night of ties and fancy dresses at the Second Annual Oxford Community Awards on Nov. 3 held at Oxford High School's Fine Arts Center.
Presenting Advocate of the Year Maria Martin. (click for larger version)
The Oxford Community Awards are designed to honor members of the community, public servants, investors, volunteers and nonprofit organizations whose efforts contribute to the growth and development of Oxford. The event included a dinner, music, and the awards ceremony. Masters of Ceremonies for the event were Parks and Rec. Director Ron Davis and DDA Director Madonna Van Fossen
Michelle Overton took home the top honor with the Diamond Award. The award recognizes an individual who contributes their time, energy, talents and resources to the betterment of the community.
"It's a big honor," Overton said. "I grew up in this town and love this town, so for someone to not only nominate me, but be voted for it is overwhelming."
Overton, who owns OCS Design, is the website developer and designer for all of Oxford's government entities as well as the Chamber of Commerce and numerous local businesses and nonprofit groups such as the Pink Ribbon Trailblazers, Tour de Shane and the Northeast Oakland Historical Museum.
Overton was nominated along with Anna Taylor and Rick Laidler.
Nominees for Advocate of the Year included C.J. Carnacchio, Chuck Schneider and Maria Martin. This award was for an individual who raises awareness, educates and informs the community about a cause or initiative for the enhancement of Oxford.
Martin, who won the award, said she felt honored just to be placed in the same category with Carnacchio and Schneider.
"Being an advocate for a town that sells itself and is a community that is so warm and embracing is one of the easiest jobs to do," Martin said. "We've lived here five years and we're very pleased to have called Oxford our home."
Martin works for the DDA as an administrative assistant, coordinates many downtown happenings from the crucial planning stages to detailed post-event evaluations. She also donates her time to help with the Girlfriends Walk, the school district's anti-bullying campaign, Clear Lake Elementary's PTO and the Blue Turf fund-raising campaign. She even volunteers in her daughter's classroom.
"Sitting back there listening to all the nominations and the award winners, people don't realize how much work goes into making our community what it is and to keeping our community what it is," she added. "We have a long history and a long heritage and there are so many people who deserve to be recognized for what they do and what they have done for so many years. It was a fabulous evening to be able to share that with everybody."
Tim Davidson, owner of Patterson Pharmacy, who won the Brick Award, agreed.
"Everybody at the awards the other night, particularly those (who were) nominated and given awards, know the real reward to all of this is having such a good community to live in as Oxford."
The Brick Award recognizes a new or existing business that contributes to the community through their entrepreneurial efforts.
"Our customers are our friends, our neighbors, and other business people," added Davidson. "We hope we give back to the community some value in what we do with our patients, but then we certainly try to support the efforts of the different groups financially as well and we're happy to do that. We always wish there was more we could do, but we do what we can."
Jack McMahon, received the Philanthropist of the Year award
McMahon, owner of the Oxford McDonald's restaurant for many years, has selflessly donated a great deal of money to the schools, parks and recreation and numerous nonprofit groups. He even donated 2.62 acres of land to the fire department to help meet its future needs.
Other nominees for the category included the Blue Turf Committee, and Ron Davis.
Public Servant of the Year award nominees included Maggie the Fire Dog, Jack Curtis and the Oxford Police Reserve force. This award recognizes a person or group holding a government position, either by election or appointment, who goes above and beyond in their service to the community.
Members of the Oxford Village Police Reserve force were the proud winners.
Non-Profit of the Year Award was given to the Pink Ribbon Trailblazers, which was founded by Pat Nolf, who has spent six years raising money to help provide free mammograms for uninsured and under-served women in Oakland County. To date, the group has raised well over $100,000 and no doubt saved countless women's lives through early detection of breast cancer.
The award recognizes a nonprofit organization that goes above and beyond standards that exist within the community. Other nominees for the award included I'm Third Club and The Oxford Optimist Club.
Also handed out were Community Service Awards that were presented to individuals who service their community outside of their paid position to the following organizations and government agencies:
• Kevin Wisely – Chamber of Commerce
• Rick Laider – Twp. Parks and Rec.
• Debbie O'Farrell – Oxford Village
• Theresa Myer – Oxford Schools
• Asst. Chief Dave Creech – Oxford Fire
• Officer Dave Churchill – Village Police
• Genevieve Otlewski – Oxford DDA
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.