EAST LANSING, Mich. — Three recipients were honored at last night’s 2019 Crystal Awards community reception for their contributions to community life in East Lansing.
Crystal Awards nominations are submitted by community members and then reviewed by a community selection committee. Three to four recipients are selected and honored each year.
This year’s recipients are:
For the past 12 years, Luke Hackney has been a tireless advocate for downtown East Lansing. He has dedicated his time, talents and efforts to supporting and marketing the business community in downtown East Lansing, while also working to keep East Lansing residents connected to the downtown and the City’s arts scene.
Hackney is one of the original founders and the current CEO and president of RetroDuck; a custom screen printing company that has been an anchor small business in downtown East Lansing for 14 years.
In addition to the hard work that comes with keeping a small business operating, Hackney also has volunteered hundreds of hours of his time serving on multiple boards and commissions, including, but not limited to: the East Lansing Downtown Management Board (DMB), East Lansing Arts Commission and the (SCENE) Metrospace Advisory Board. Currently, he serves on the East Lansing Downtown Development Authority and is the chair of the DMB Marketing Committee. He is also currently serving on the Impression 5 Science Center Advisory Board and is the chair of LEAP’s Local Development Finance Authority and a roundtable for the Lansing Regional Chamber of Commerce focused on the East Lansing and Meridian Township communities. Additionally, Hackney is a graduate of the East Lansing Emerging Leaders Program and, in 2012, he worked on Sunday Soup; a local project with the mission of providing grants to art projects in the City and neighboring areas, while gathering the community together for a hearty meal and lively discussion.
The best interest of downtown East Lansing and the community is at the heart of Hackney’s countless hours of public service. He is an integral part of the East Lansing community and is deeply appreciated by the many downtown business owners, City staff members and community members he has worked with over the years.
Patricia Robinson is the kind of neighbor that fellow neighbors dream about. She and her husband, Ed, have lived in the Brookfield Heritage Neighborhood for more than 40 years and, while living there, Robinson has taken an active role in enhancing, supporting and maintaining the neighborhood’s street trees. She works annually with City of East Lansing staff to walk the neighborhood, help take an inventory of the trees and note which ones need care, pruning or to be replaced. She also has researched new trees to be planted and has conducted fundraisers to help purchase them. Thanks to her efforts, more than 50 new trees have been planted in the neighborhood and the neighborhood has slowly transitioned from mostly Silver Maple trees to a mix of trees, including the more affordable and hardier Acer Freemanii trees - a cross between a Red Maple and a Silver Maple. In addition to her support of the street trees in her neighborhood, Robinson organized annual and sometimes biannual neighborhood plantings and clean-up programs at the Musselman-Ledebuhr Welcome Park located at the corner of the Grand River-Hagadorn intersection prior to it being donated to the City of East Lansing.
Robinson has also served on the Brookfield Heritage Neighborhood Association’s Board various times and has actively represented the association at various East Lansing City Council, East Lansing Planning Commission and Meridian Township Board meetings when items were on the table for consideration that could impact the neighborhood.
Because of her hard work and dedication, Robinson has added to the beauty and value of the Brookfield Heritage Neighborhood, making it one of the most desirable places to live in East Lansing. She is considered gracious and considerate by her fellow neighbors and her acts of service have inspired fellow neighbors to engage in their own volunteer efforts in the neighborhood.
Will Kopachik is a hard-working community volunteer who has provided his time and expertise to furthering the scientific knowledge and literacy of East Lansing students.
After noticing East Lansing High School (ELHS) didn’t have a Science Olympiad team, Kopachik took matters into his own hands. He worked countless hours to create a local Science Olympiad team, so that ELHS students would have an additional science experience that they wouldn’t otherwise have in a normal curriculum. When he founded and coached the team in 2015, he had fewer than 10 students participating. Since then, the team has continued to grow. In 2017, they had more than 50 members, five assistant coaches and they made it to the state tournament where they placed 18th. In 2018, they made it to the state tournament again and placed 13th.
From 2012-2014, Kopachik also planned and organized the “Science Palooza” event at MacDonald Middle School. The event provided students with an opportunity to conduct and present their science experiments to a group of classmates, community members and judges. Kopachik arranged every detail of the event, including booking science-related demonstrations for entertainment, having the MSU Graduate Women in Science judge the exhibits and arranging concessions, medals and prizes.
Kopachik is a retired faculty member at MSU and a tenured associate professor in the MSU College of Natural Science’s Department of Integrative Biology. The East Lansing Public Schools and the students of East Lansing have benefited tremendously from Kopachik’s passion for science education and his willingness to dedicate volunteer time and energy to providing positive science experiences for kids.