This year’s Appreciation Gala was held from 5:00pm to 6:30pm on Thursday, May 26 at City Park Grill in Petoskey. After two years of having this event via Zoom, everyone was delighted to be back together in person. Hugs, smiles, handshakes, laughter, even kisses seemed to be acceptable. Numerous, well-deserved acknowledgements were made. Two of NCM’s original Board members, Tina DeMoore and Dave Fershee, were present and thanked for the foresight thirty years ago. Present and past Board members were also recognized. Although major donors were acknowledged, Executive Director Jane Millar also stressed that no matter what the amount, it all adds up. Those mediators who persevered through COVID by adapting to the use of Zoom for mediations, as well as those mediators who learned how to use the technology of mediation were given special praise, as well as those mediators with five or more years of service were thanked. Special recognition was given to mediator Bruce Herbert for over 20 years of mediating for NCM.
Kate Scollin received the Rookie Mediator of the Year Award, which goes to a mediator who has completed the Forty-Hour Training or has come to Northern Community Mediation from another Citizen Dispute Resolution Center within the past two years.
Lee Kramer received the Veteran Mediator of the Year Award, which is presented to an established mediator who goes above and beyond. This is a person who does things such as re-arranging his/her schedule so that a last minute mediation can be scheduled.
Amy Stikovich ws recognized as the Advocate of the Year. To be supportive of NCM, it is not necessary to be a mediator or board member. Many members of the community are advocates of mediation and the Center. Consequently, NCM created the NCM Advocate of the Year Award.
Mary Louise Horan received the prestigious Leah Award posthumously and was accepted by her granddaughter Kirstyn Horan. Since 2005, the Leah Award has been presented to an individual who holds the same degree of dedication to and advocacy of NCM and the mediation process. This award represents an individual who has been devoted to NCM over the years. It is not necessarily awarded every year.