2017 Recipient Bios
For more than 14 years, Mike Wylie has dedicated his time, talents and efforts to the East Lansing community. He is a leader and integral member of the downtown East Lansing merchant community, serving as the store manager of the Student Book Store and volunteering his time for several years on the East Lansing Downtown Management Board. Whether helping to plan and spread the word about downtown East Lansing events, advocating for and supporting fellow merchants or working to promote downtown East Lansing as a destination location for residents and visitors alike, it is evident that Mike loves the downtown and wants to see it thrive. Currently, Mike is serving as the chairperson of the East Lansing Parking Taskforce, an advisory committee to the East Lansing City Council that evaluates parking opportunities and experiences in the downtown.
Michael Moquin served as the chair of the East Lansing Financial Health Review Team in 2016. In this leadership role, Mike organized the team into subgroups, set goals and meeting schedules and attended each and every full team and subgroup meeting so that there would be a common thread to the deliberations. When the team’s work was completed at the end of 2016, Mike had officially attended more than 60 meetings over an 11-month period, presented twice to the East Lansing City Council and authored the team’s final report. His countless hours of service were all on a volunteer basis and his participation was central to the work and accomplishments of the team as a whole. His work, along with the work of the entire team, will go a long way toward addressing the City’s financial challenges and laying the groundwork for possible future solutions.
Gary Beaudoin’s name has become synonymous with “pickleball” in the East Lansing community. Following his retirement as a school administrator, Gary and his wife, Jane, both diehard MSU fans, decided to move back to the Greater Lansing area and retire in East Lansing. Gary has a love for people and immediately got involved in the community through his volunteer service on the Active Living for Adults Program Board and, later, the Parks & Recreation Advisory Commission. While serving on the latter, Beaudoin expressed an interest in starting up a pickleball program in East Lansing. Working with the commission, he was able to secure an indoor space at the East Lansing Hannah Community Center and had the program up and running in 2014. He dedicated a significant amount of volunteer time to organizing the program in the beginning and continues to volunteer his time to keep the program going from year to year. In an effort to bring the sport outdoors in the warmer months, Gary also helped raise matching funds to bring new pickleball courts to Patriarche Park. The pickleball program’s email list has since grown from 123 to more than 450 people in the area and last summer, with the help of the USA Pickleball Association, Gary helped bring the first pickleball tournament to East Lansing, drawing participants from all over mid-Michigan. Gary’s willingness to invest his personal time and energy has been instrumental in bringing this life-enhancing sport to the East Lansing community and it has helped keep community members of all ages, especially the senior population, active and healthy.
MARY HOWARD & ABBOTT NURSERY SCHOOL
Abbott Nursery School has been an institution in the East Lansing community since 1967. The dedicated and long-serving staff members at the school have made it a place that goes well beyond preparing children for kindergarten. It is a place where children, 3-5 years of age, learn music, make art, take field trips and, most importantly, learn the importance of being kind and giving to those in need. The young children at Abbott Nursery School participate in a number of charitable giving activities, including, but not limited to food drives for the Greater Lansing Food Bank, collecting diapers and other household necessities for Haven House and providing warm socks to children at Sparrow Hospital and homeless people at the City Rescue Mission. Abbott Nursery School is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and is sure to continue to be successful in the years to come. Mary Howard has served as the director of Abbott Nursery School for more than two decades and has made it, along with her wonderful staff, an extremely special and caring place for young children. It is under her guidance that the children learn the importance of philanthropy at a young age and Mary practices what she teaches outside of the classroom as well, giving back to her community through various volunteer efforts. Mary has served on the East Lansing Educational Foundation, assisted with the East Lansing High School Girls Tennis Team for eight years, volunteered as a Girl Scout troop leader and served in various capacities at Peoples Church. She also currently serves on her neighborhood association board. Mary will be retiring this year, but she is sure to continue to have a positive impact on the East Lansing community in the years to come.