(Chelsea Update would like to thank Julie Frost and Nancy Paul for the information in this story.)
Annually, Faith in Action recognizes a community member who has shown an exemplary commitment to the residents of our area.
Called the Howard S. Holmes Humanitarian of the Year Award, named for the Chelsea Milling leader, who while building his business empire never forgot the needs of the poor and vulnerable of our area.
Howard Holmes was instrumental to the success of Faith in Action in its early years and each year the Board of Directors recognizes a person whose actions are in the spirit of FIA, helping those among us who need a helping hand.
This year John Hansen of Dexter has been chosen, in recognition of the scores of ways he has helped promote the education and well being of our communities. He came to Dexter in 1974 when he was hired as principal of Dexter High School.
Hansen will be celebrated at the Faith in Action Annual Benefit Banquet on Saturday, April 29, at the St. Joseph Mercy-Chelsea dining room.
In 1984, Hansen became superintendent of the district and served until 1998 when he stepped up and ran for the Michigan Legislature. He served two terms as the State Representative of District 52, which includes both Dexter and Chelsea.
After leaving the legislature he began career number three as an intentional interim. He held nine temporary positions managing school districts, townships, non-profits, and the City of Chelsea. In 2015, he co-founded the Dexter Forum, with friend and former judge Karl Fink. The forum provides an opportunity for local citizens of all persuasions to “Listen and Learn” about community issues in a respectful environment, providing a much needed venue for civil discourse.
Communities from throughout the area are mentoring with Hansen and Fink to replicate this calm and respectful forum in their own communities.
But Hansen’s efforts go well beyond his resume, as Julie Frost, FIA chair says. When her father’s memory began to fail and he was cared for at home, John would come and spend time with him, and Julie recalls with great appreciation that he would take him to the Men’s Luncheons at church.
“Even as Dad’s memory slipped away, John found ways to engage Dad with the memories that he did have, made it fun for Dad to get out, gave us a break, and we all knew he was in good hands,” she said.
Educators, friends, fellow Rotarians and countless others have fun and heartwarming stories to tell about him.
Hansen is known for sharpness in both his written and verbal communications, but even more for his humor and insight, which serve to bring people together and working positively. He’s got a story for any occasion and can always make you laugh with his jokes and quips.
He and his wife, Sandy, a landscape architect, are celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary this year. They are the proud parents of Claire, a Chelsea resident, the proud in-laws of Eric, a Chelsea teacher, and the proud grandparents of Alex, CHS class of ’28. He is a member of Dexter Rotary Club and of St. James Episcopal Church.
Hansen has been a long-time supporter of FIA with his time, talent and treasure, serving as its playful and entertaining auctioneer at the Annual Banquet for many years.
We are happy to recognize him for a lifetime of humanitarian service.
Visit www.faithinaction1.org to purchase tickets, or call 475-3305.