Mulder named Citizen of Year
Imlay Chamber celebrates community servants at dinner dance on Saturday
December 05, 2007IMLAY CITY — As of Saturday, they might have operated 'under the radar' but by the time Citizen of the Year John Mulder, Merit Award winner Austin Stroman and Service Club awardees, the Extreme Angels, were recognized by the Chamber of Commerce, their myriad of good deeds were out in the open for admiration.
The awards were handed out at the chamber's annual dinner and dance at the Country Side Banquet Center.
Former barber and current community servant, John Mulder, 69, received the highest honor.
"He is a man that I've known as always being humble," presenter Randy Jorgensen said.
|Citizen of the Year John Mulder thanked wife, Sharon for her encouragement and support over the more than 40 years he barbered and volunteered in Imlay City. photo by Maria Brown.|
"He is a wonderful and deserving selection for Citizen of the Year."
John graduated from Imlay City High School in 1957 and went on to serve in the Army before returning to Imlay City where he began barbering in 1964.
Until his retirement in 2003, John only missed two days of work at Mulder's Barbershop on Third St. and tallied more than 203,000 haircuts.
While a business owner, John served on the Downtown Development Authority Board for 21 years and sat on the township's library board. He's also given of his time to the Imlay City Christian School, most recently serving as board president and is also active in the Imlay City Christian Reformed Church.
Currently, he works a regular shift at the Imlay City Food Pantry, visits with and leads Bible studies at the Lapeer County Jail through Forgotten Man Ministries, gives of his time at the Imlay City Historical Museum every week, volunteers with United Hospice Service and sits on the Imlay Twp. Board of Trustees.
As a member and current chaplain of American Legion Post 135, he organizes Imlay City's Memorial Day ceremony, offers prayers at memorial salutes for veterans and is a regular participant in honor guard duties at the Great Lakes National Cemetery in Holly.
John said he was grateful for the many blessings in his life, particularly wife Sharon for her support and encouragement over their 40-plus year marriage.
"I'm thankful we could live here and raise our family here," John said.
They have three sons and a daughter—Randy, Jeff, Tim and Maria—and seven grandchildren.
"I want to thank the community for what you've done for us. Sharon and I both enjoy volunteering in the community."
"It was great to have a business in Imlay City. I still miss my customers," John concluded.
Resurfacing and cleanup of the Polly Ann Trail, construction of the new AYSO soccer complex in Imlay Twp. and supporting the Lapeer County 4-H and FFA groups—those are just some of the projects Austin Stroman has lent a hand to.
Friend and presenter Ken Franey said his desire to better the community stems from a determined attitude that's benefited his business too.
Since the early 1960s, Austin and his wife, Nancy, have expanded their business from trucking and digging septic fields to underground construction and laying asphalt.
"He's always done what he could," Franey said. "Austin's a dream maker."
Sue Howard, owner of Extreme Cheer and Dance and leader of the Extreme Angels, accepted the award on the group's behalf.
For two years, a group of 10-15 year-olds have been writing to veterans, visiting Casa Maria, bringing food to soup kitchen and are now giving Imlay City's homeless shelter a makeover. When it comes to fundraising, they must earn the money themselves or solicit local businesses.
"They are receiving great life lessons," she said.
"This (award) will mean so much to them."
The chamber and interim Director Yvonne Wilson recognized and thanked their most recent director, Sally Reinhardt, for her years of service to the community.