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Jelanie Bush has volunteered more than 13,000 hours with TrueNorth Community Services and Camp Newaygo over the past three decades.

Bush’s incredible commitment and dedication were celebrated on Thursday night with her honor as Senior Volunteer of the Year at the 2019 Governor’s Service Awards. She was recognized by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Community Service Commission in ceremonies at the Detroit Opera House in Detroit.

The accolades are “an amazing compliment, beyond my wildest dreams. When they called to say I had received the award, I was literally speechless, which doesn’t happen often,” she laughs.

The 69-year-old retired teacher readily shares the recognition, saying she realized early on that at TrueNorth “…it was obvious that a lot of good things were being done, in the right way, by people you wanted to spend time with.”

Her involvement with TrueNorth first came through the Camp Confidence summer program as a new elementary school teacher in Newaygo. That started a gratifying and mutual relationship with TrueNorth that includes a 27-year stint on the TrueNorth Board of Directors.

She has contributed to 52 TrueNorth programs over the years, including the Children’s Christmas Programs, the Camp Newaygo Advisory Board, Mud Bowl Mania and working in the kitchen for events ranging from The Shindig fundraising to the Senior Thanksgiving Luncheons.

But Bush isn’t showing any signs of slowing down. She volunteers now more than ever, putting in over 400 hours annually with TrueNorth and Camp Newaygo.

 “My mantra lately has just become: Nobody can do everything, but everybody can do something,” she says.

Bush was among 43 winners –  individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations –  honored  at the 2019 Governor’s Service Awards.

“Our state is lucky to have such outstanding Michiganders who work hard every single day to build a home for opportunity for everyone,” Whitmer said. “They do this work even when nobody's looking because they know that every contribution makes a huge impact.”

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