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Heidi Fluck: 2011 Citizen of the Year

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September 14, 2011 - Nearly 20 nominations and a plethora of volunteer activities in the community made Heidi Fluck the clear choice for the 2011 Citizen of the Year.

Heidi, a Brandon High School senior, is the youngest ever Citizen of the Year, but at just 17-years-old, she has dedicated more hours to volunteer work than many people do in a lifetime.

"I'm really surprised and honored that other people would think of nominating me," said Heidi. "I'm interested in everything and I just really like helping people."

Heidi was presented a bouquet of flowers and told she was the 2011 Citizen of the Year while she was helping prepare for the Ortonville Community Emergency Fund Rummage Sale at St. Anne Church. OCEF and the St. Anne Youth Group are just two of the organizations for which Heidi volunteers.

As a member of the St. Anne Youth Group, Heidi has worked on making a "dress-up box" for children at the Grace Centers of Hope in Pontiac, by collecting, sewing and modifying costumes. The box includes fairy, princess, and pirate costumes for the children at the center, where she has previously volunteered. She has also taken a mission trip to Wisconsin in which she painted homes and did yardwork in an impoverished area, but much of Heidi's work with the St. Anne Youth Group has taken place right here in Ortonville. For many years, she has participated in "Teens and Seniors Rockin' and Rakin'," doing minor home improvements and general yardwork for senior citizens here. She has also visited adult foster care residents in the area and participated in the 24-Hour Fast for Famine.

"The thing that stands out with Heidi is her willingness to always help out those less fortunate," wrote St. Anne Youth Minister Kim Zernec in a letter of recommendation. "She comes up with ideas just by seeing a need in an area. She always serves with a joyful heart and that is definitely a gift!"

For the Ortonville Community Emergency Fund, Heidi has worked extensively-- not only during holiday food and gift sorts and distributions, but collecting school supplies, and toys and year-round she is responsible for updating posters at Bueche's that are displayed with the food collection box listing the needs list for the OCEF Food Pantry.

Heidi is proof that even a very young child can make a difference through their own initiative— when she was just 10-years-old, she approached OCEF Board members with the idea to hold her own bake sale during Septemberfest to benefit the non-profit organization that helps the less fortunate in the community.

"With some help from her mother, she obtained a table space, solicited baked good and ran the booth," recalled OCEF Treasurer Margaret Lee in her nomination letter. "After several years, she got some friends to help sell. Then in high school she found and trained replacements for herself and created the playbook. She did not want this enterprise to end at her graduation. It wasn't about her, but about helping those in need... WHAT A CITIZEN! We need more like her."

Heidi has also donated her efforts to the Brandon Township Library, helping with set-up and clean-up for after-school programs; was president of the Brandon Township 4-H Youth Conservation Council, helping to organize cleanup of the Kearsley Creek and participating in natural habitat planting projects; has written letters to military servicemembers and collected supplies to send to them overseas; created homemade Christmas cards, about 50-60 per year, for patients at St. Joseph Mercy Hospital and Genesys Regional Medical Center who were not able to go home for the holiday; did fundraising this year in addition to walking in the Relay for Life of Brandon/Ortonville which she has done in the past; and regularly picks up trash alongside the road in her neighborhood.

Heidi has done all this while maintaining a 3.7 grade point average at Brandon High School, where she is also co-captain of the varsity tennis team.

"I think the thing that strikes me most about Heidi, is that she is such a positive, energetic, inspirational young lady, a real leader," said Sue Roberts in her letter of nomination. "The planner, the doer, the person who inspires others to get involved, too. Always polite, always encouraging, always doing something positive for her family, church, school or community. She joyfully models and lives true character in her kind words to others, dedication and commitment to action! She is a true inspiration to me!"

Kara Lawson, said she is honored to call herself Heidi's friend.

"Heidi motivates people to try and make a difference aiding others and the environment," she said. "I hope that you can see and appreciate what an astounding person Heidi is. She is truly one in a million."

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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