2010 Recipient Bios

Community Award
East Lansing Meridian Lions Club
The East Lansing Meridian Lions Club has contributed to a number of community development projects and donated time and services to the East Lansing community for several decades.
Proudly reaching out to the community under the motto “we serve,” members of the East Lansing Meridian Lions Club have tirelessly donated their time and efforts to raise funds for a number of great community causes. Club members (along with volunteers) can be seen at MSU football games and at the East Lansing Art Festival selling hot dogs and brats. They also make their presence known by soliciting community contributions during the Lion’s annual White Cane donation drive and collecting old eye glasses and hearing aids to be reused by those in need.
In 1925 Helen Keller asked the Lions Club to serve as “Knights of the Blind,” to crusade to cure preventable blindness. Today, sight and hearing projects are the club’s primary cause. Funds raised through many of the club’s community efforts are used to provide affordable eye care – exams and glasses to the underinsured and uninsured members of the local community. Contributions are also given annually to the Michigan Eye Bank and blindness prevention organizations such as the Lions Club International Fund and the local leader dog training school. Eye glasses and hearing aids collected by club members are recycled to those less fortunate in both the local community and missions in third world countries. The club also supports the Lions Bear Lake Camp, an outdoor recreational/educational facility providing opportunities for people with special needs.
Funds raised by Lions Club members have also been used to provide food baskets to East Lansing residents during Christmas and the club recently made a contribution to Haiti to assist in earthquake relief efforts through the Lions Club International Fund.

In addition to donations to those in need, the East Lansing Meridian Lions Club has contributed to many community development projects, including the rebuilding of Patriarche Park’s play equipment and the new Splash Park at the East Lansing Family Aquatic Center. The club has also donated funds to the East Lansing Public Library for large-print books.

All of the above activities are performed in an atmosphere of generosity and service to the community and fellowship toward one another.

Art Korroch
Art Korroch is a beloved volunteer and unofficial handyman of the East Lansing Prime Time Seniors’ Program. Korroch has been fixing small, broken appliances for more than 10 years at Prime Time’s Small Appliance Workshop. He has been instrumental in helping seniors keep their favorite gadgets while raising funds for the Prime Time program. Korroch also helps out the senior population when needed by putting up rails and ramps at senior residences through Habitat for Humanity.

In addition to his services to the local senior population, Korroch is also an avid volunteer for the American Cancer Society. Korroch is a 10-year cancer survivor who has reached out to patients by providing them with information, offering a listening ear and even driving cancer patients who can’t drive to their doctor appointments around the state.

Korroch recently joined the East Lansing Seniors’ Commission and is recognized by those around him as a humble, behind-the-scenes “doer.”

Carol & Tom Luster
Carol and Tom Luster are recognized for their tireless efforts to enhance the quality of life for a special group of citizens in the East Lansing community - Sudanese refugee youth known as the Lost Boys of Sudan. The Lost Boys of Sudan were separated from their parents as children, when their villages were attacked during the Second Sudanese Civil War (1983-2005). They fled for their lives and resettled in the United States. The Lusters were the first to answer a call for volunteers to help care for the Lost Boys resettling in the mid-Michigan area. They soon became mentors for the young refugees and even took on the role of parental figures for some. They played an instrumental role in integrating the boys into the community by helping them develop the financial, emotional and social support they needed.

Carol helped teach them how to do laundry, set up budgets, shop for food, fill out job applications and make doctor’s appointments. Tom assisted the youth with learning to drive (a sometimes harrowing experience) and tutoring them in English, writing and other skills needed to be successful in school. In addition to helping their boys with practical skills, the Lusters took them into their family and helped them to learn the more subtle aspects of American culture. They included the youth in family celebrations and holiday dinners, had pizza-and-game nights over at their apartments on the weekends and even took them on trips to places like Lake Michigan where they could take in Michigan’s beauty.

Carol was the consummate mom to the boys – always there to celebrate their successes and support them when they were down. One caseworker assigned to the boys said, “In the army of helpers, Carol was a battalion!” In his quiet way, Tom also supported them as a dad. He admired their accomplishments and expressed confidence in their ability to succeed. He also extensively researched their experiences in Sudan and encouraged them to tell their stories to those around them. By telling their stories, the youth were able to make meaning of their difficult experiences and help those left behind by making the world sit up and take note of what had happened in their homeland. Many of the youth that Carol and Tom mentored are working or have completed college; some have even found lost family members and are working to help Sudan.

In addition to the Lost Boys, Carol and Tom Luster have selflessly opened up their hearts to others in need in the community through various other volunteer efforts as well. Tom passed away unexpectedly last year, but his memory lives on in his family members, friends and the countless people he has touched in his remarkable life.

Business Award
Creative Wellness
Creative Wellness chose East Lansing as its home to start a new chapter in the area healthcare industry and develop a holistic health center where alternative health services could enhance the wellness of the community. Today, Creative Wellness offers a diverse selection of natural health services, including acupuncture, chiropractic services, massage, hypnotherapy and a variety of classes.

Due to the tremendous support of the East Lansing community, Creative Wellness has remained the largest holistic health center in Michigan and was able to demonstrate that it is possible to develop a new industry in East Lansing and become an economic model in the area.

Creative Wellness and its family of service providers donate time and expertise toward numerous fundraisers and charities in East Lansing and the Greater Lansing area. One of Creative Wellness’ stated priorities is to give to the community as much as possible. They do this by asking every employee to volunteer their services in the community on a monthly basis.

They are also continually working on ways to improve the lives of individuals by raising health awareness in the community through the services they offer, lectures they conduct and workshops they administer. In 2009, Creative Wellness’ service providers participated in approximately 45 local events by providing complimentary health services, primarily with local businesses, school, hospitals and civic groups. In addition, they have donated to various fundraising events by providing gift certificates of health services to help raise funds for each given charity.