Volunteer nominated for governor's award

Michael (Mike) Jones has been nominated for the 2011 Governor's Service Award - Volunteer of the Year, according to the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce.

"Jones gives selflessly of his time, energy and talent because he truly believes in building a better community and that volunteerism is the backbone of this country," a Chamber spokesperson said.

"He gets no professional benefit from his volunteer service. In fact, he often uses his own personal vacation time and works longer hours to make up for time away from the office. On top of that, Jones brings a positive energy and optimistic attitude with him wherever he goes."

Christine Quinn, executive director of South Central Michigan Works! said that "Mike's energy is contagious."

Jones currently serves as the Vice Chair of the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce Board. During his four years as a member of the board, he has chaired Party Politics (a get-to-know your candidate event), developed and presented Participating In Politics (how the public becomes involved in the process), served as Chair of the Legislative Committee, provided logistical support to the Candidates Forum, attended the County Commission board meetings and study sessions on behalf of the Chamber, conducted the Public Speaking and Developing Your Strategy sessions for the Jackson Leadership Academy, facilitated the Chamber Strategic Planning session and served in a number of other capacities.

"Mike recently established the Michael M. Jones Industry Leadership Award for one outstanding Academy for Manufacturing Careers student to attend the Jackson County Chamber of Commerce's Leadership Academy by personally committing to fund the scholarship," said Annette Norris, director of the Academy for Manufacturing Careers.

"Mike is changing the lives of the people he serves."

Outside of his Chamber commitments, Jones is involved with Jackson Area Manufacturing Association and Academy for Manufacturing Careers as an instructor.

"Mike has trained over 1,000 people and through them he has impacted practically every manufacturing firm in Jackson County, and a few beyond," said Bill Rayl, executive director, Jackson Area Manufacturing Association.

"Many of the folks he trained in the early days of the program are now CEOs, presidents, owners, and plant and operations managers."

One of Jones' students sent this letter to him. "I wish I could still come to class. But I found a job working seven days a week. In 90 days I will be in the UAW. I want to thank you for all the help and making me believe in myself again. What you showed me and had me read helped in my interview. I was one of 11 people out of 200 to get a job. I am going to take more classes when I can. I hope to have you as an instructor again some day."

Jones serves on the board for South Central Michigan Works!, is a former area governor and president of Toastmasters International, is a commissioner for the Jackson County Road Commission, assists in a local food pantry and is a trustee at his church.

Arbor Grove Congregational Church Reverend John Doud: "Mike jumps in with both feet...and arms and head. The whole body goes in because he's that kind of guy. When something needs to be done, he does it. No one asks him to do these things. He just does them."

The Jackson Citizen Patriot recognized Mike as one of the 2010 Distinguished Citizens.

Jones was a solicitor of small to medium size companies for United Way, was a Big Brother, served as Solicitations Director and Secretary for Jackson Area Hockey Association, participated in the Walk America and Crop Walk, assisted Vandercook Lake Schools merge elementary schools, was an adjunct professor at Jackson Community College, and has led countless strategic planning sessions for Jackson County organizations.

During all of this, Jones has also been a full time employee of Consumers Energy for 35 years.

To an outsider, it may look like Mike is motivated for the attire because he's always sporting some type of logoed gear, whether it's a South Central Michigan Works! sweatshirt or a Jackson County Convention and Visitors Bureau jacket.

To those that know him, we understand that wearing our logo is just one more way he's helping - by being an ambassador wherever he goes.

The most succinct description of Jones came from Dr. Rob Rando when he said, "Everyone is looking for a Mike."

"Whether it's in your personal life or professional life, having a 'Mike' makes life easier and better," the Chamber spokesperson said.

"He makes one look good. He lifts up people so they can lift up their organization and their community. Many people in the community think they know Mike Jones, but few know all he's done for our community because he doesn't talk about how he helps others. He just does it because it's the right thing to do."

Published: Thu, Jul 28, 2011

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