Sybyl Award winners announced

FLINT – One individual is the recipients of this 2017 Sybyl Award and one individual is the recipient of the Sybyl Life Time Achievement Award.

The awards are presented annually at the Sybyl Award Celebration to an individual or individuals who have provided outstanding volunteer service.

“We had such an amazing group of nominees that the selection committee agreed to honor one person with the Sybyl Award and one person with the Life Time Achievement Award,” said Lindsey Younger, Coordinator of the Celebration.

This year’s recipients are Amy Cuneaz, the Sybyl Awardee and the Honorable Thomas Yeotis, the Sybyl Life Time Achievement Awardee. The Sybyl Award Selection Committee chose the dual recipients from a pool of 17 nominees, all of whom were honored at the Celebration held yesterday at Genesys Banquet and Conference Center, Grand Blanc. ELGA Credit Union is the lead sponsor of the Sybyl Award.

The award honors the life of Sybyl M. Atwood, who served for more than 40 years as the program director for Volunteer and Information Services at Resource Genesee and its predecessor organizations. Atwood died in 2007.

Sybyl’s sense of community and boundless energy influenced and strengthened the human service sector of Genesee County for more than four decades.

Since 1993, Amy Cuneaz has been a dedicated employee of the YWCA of Greater Flint’s Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault Services (DVSAS) program. She has served in many roles working her way up through the ranks. Achieving a position involving administrative duties has never been Cuneaz’s motivation but after several terms as interim director of DVSAS, she finally accepted the director position in 2010 where she was able to provide leadership to the staff and continue what she was most passionate about – providing life-saving and life-changing intervention and support to individuals and families surviving domestic violence and/or sexual assault crimes.

Judge Yeotis is a retired Genesee County Circuit Court Judge. He was a licensed attorney for 49 years, serving for 32 years as an outstanding judge.

The Judge, whenever possible would try to give the defendant standing before him the fairest sentence that he could. He would also cite Aesop’s fables as a learning experience to those who came before him. Apparently some defendants were working on the great American novel and tried it out on Judge Yeotis.

Twenty-five years ago he was a founding member of New Paths, a program for released prisoners creating positive experiences and working to prevent relapses into criminal behavior.

Yeotis has served on over 30 non-profit community and civic organizations, often as chairman or president.

In retirement he continues to be an outstanding asset and pillar of our community

In addition to Cuneaz and Yeotis, this year’s nominees included: Glenda Beatty, animal rights activist and founder of PAWS; Geraldine “Geri” Clark, neighborhood activist and volunteer income tax preparer, Bernadean Clothier, retired Flint Community School teacher and volunteer for the Flint Classroom Support Fund, the Flint Olympian/ CANUSA Games, and Neithercut School; Traci Currie, lecturer in Media Studies, Communications, and Spoken Word at U of M – Flint; Father Thomas Firestone, Priest at St. John Vianney Catholic Church, Flint; John B. Henry, Executive Director of the Flint Institute of Arts; Dena Johnson; Program Associate for Communities First, Inc.; Regina Laurie, community activist and facilitator, Marilyn Lewinski, Hurley Medical Center Gift Shop Volunteer Manager; Jack Minore, retired State of Michigan Representative and community activist and volunteer; Geoffrey L. Neithercut, judge in the Genesee County 7th District Circuit Court; Kay Schwartz, Director of the Flint Public Library; Denise Smith-Allen; Agent in the Michigan State Department of Corrections and founder of Sisters United; Verona Terry, Business Liaison Officer at Flint Genesee Jobs Corps; and Harold Woodson, long time Flint Community Schools Board Member and community volunteer. – G.G.

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