Category Archives: Doing Good

DAR honors Farmington Hills couple

Three Flags Chapter DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) recently honored Farmington Hills residents Gene and Mary Buchan with DAR Community Service Awards recognizing their years of volunteerism.

Three Flags Community Service Awards 2017
From left: Gene Buchan, Mary Buchan, and Three Flags Community Service Chairman Sally Kirsten. (contributed photo)

The DAR award recognizes worthy individuals for unpaid voluntary achievements/endeavors within their local community.

Mary has served for many years as the secretary of the Farmington Area Commission on Aging. For the last eight years, she also facilitated a bi-monthly Caregivers Support Group that meets at the Costick Center. She is also a cheerful, eager volunteer at many other senior events hosted by the Senior Division at the Costick Center.

Gene has also been very involved with the City of Farmington Hills Senior Division. He taught computer classes for older adults, creating the manuals, lesson plans and mini exercises for the classes. Gene has served on the Oakland County Senior Advisory Committee for over four years and is also active in planning and volunteering at senior events.

Both Gene and Mary are active volunteers within their faith community and have served as Stephen Ministers in a confidential ministry with church or community members who are going through trying times.

Press release


Farmington Hills woman’s fundraiser aims to end multiple sclerosis

A Farmington Hills resident has organized a fundraiser to ensure that no one has to hear the dreaded words, “You have multiple sclerosis (MS).”

An Auction to End Multiple Sclerosis will be held April 29, 6 p.m.-9 p.m., at The Farmington Garage, 33014 Grand River Ave. in downtown Farmington, with all proceeds benefitting the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, Michigan Chapter (NMSS). Organizer Tanya Nordhaus began raising funds to fight MS at age 17, not knowing that the disease would personally touch her life.

After 10 years of fundraising for the NMSS via the Bike MS rides (formerly known as the MS 150 rides), Nordhaus lost her ability to walk or even crawl without falling over. On February 20, 2001, a neurologist walked into her hospital room and delivered the terrible diagnosis: “You have multiple sclerosis.”

Although wheelchair bound at that time, and just learning how to stand on her own, Nordhaus pointed to a picture of her crossing the finish line of one of the Bike MS rides and said, “See that picture of up there? That’s me crossing the finish line of the MS 150. I will do that again!”

While her doctor believed her fierce determination would get her there, he said, “Just not this year.”

In a press release, Nordhaus said that statement “lit a spark in me. In my mind, my hands were on my hips and I was shaking my head saying ‘You don’t know me. I will do that ride again this summer.’.”

After just five months, she did. Nordhaus has participated in the Bike MS fundraisers ever since and is one of the state’s top NMSS fundraisers. Her goal this year is $25,000.

The April 29 event will be catered by The Cheese Lady Farmington, Jim Brady’s Royal Oak, Sunflour Bakehaus, and Ideal Bite Catering of Farmington Hills. Rosie Burns-Pavlik, Megan Cromwell, and students from Axis Music Academy will provide musical entertainment.

Tickets will be at the early bird price of $35 until February 28. In March, tickets will be $45 each, and in April, tickets go to $50 each. To reserve your spot, visit

Businesses that have an item or service they would like to donate, can do so until April 21. Ads can also be purchased in the event program, and VIP Host sponsorships are available that include four free tickets to the event, along with other benefits.

To learn more, write to And follow the auction on Twitter at @EndingMSAuction.

Harrison Men’s Leadership Academy collects for kids in need

The Young Men’s Leadership Academy at Harrison High School will be collecting, wrapping, and giving giftts December 10 to kids in need in Farmington Hills.

Hawks Giving Back to Kids will be held from 10 a.m. until noon in the Auditorium Lobby, on the school’s east side. Hot chocolate and cookies will be served, and face-painting will be provided by Harrison art students.

Farmington Hills residents are invited to sign up for this event here:

The group is accepting:

  • Cash or gift card donations
  • Unwrapped Gift/toy donation (for boys and girls ages 1-5, 5-10- 10-15 and 15-18
  • Clothing, blankets, school items

Donations can be made in the donation box located in front of the main office at 29995 W. 12 Mile Rd.

Young Men’s Leadership Academy is a boys-only club designed to help young men who may be struggling socially or academically. The goal is for members to become future leaders, better students, and great young men.

YMLA is sponsored by Social Studies Instructor Dominic Carino and Assistant Principal Angela Leach. Hawks Giving Back to Kids is the brainchild of YMLA mentors/leaders Carl Hanpeter, Jimmy O’Connor, Jad Mourad, Lindon Ivezic and Joe Madrid. Joe’s mother, Rayna Madero, coordinated similar efforts at Joe’s previous school. She is the Social Media consultant and parent coordinator in the effort.

To learn more, contact Leach at 248-426-2858 or write to

Farmington nonprofit hosts Santa at holiday party

After serving more than 200 people at its annual Thanksforgiving dinner, Farmington-based nonprofit S.O.U.L. (Source of Universal Love) will host Santa during a December 17 holiday party.

SOUL Thanksforgiving
More than 200 people attended S.O.U.L.’s Thanksforgiving dinner, held last month at North Congregational Church in Farmington Hills. (contributed photo)

The November 18 dinner took place at North Congregational Church in Farmington Hills. The church supported S.O.U.L. with the venue, as well as a food drive. Hundreds of people donated items for “give-away” tables, which offered families an opportunity to choose items they need, as well as holiday gifts for those they love.

In addition to music provided by Alvorada (Geoffrey Esty and Jade Fairfax), children made holiday cards for seniors, and families submitted their holiday wish lists. S.O.U.L. reaches out to its supporters to help make those wishes come true.

The Holiday Party, held from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. at North Congregational Church, will include cookies and cocoa, good music, a visit for the children with Santa, warmth and kindness. Call 248-318-6691 to learn more.

Established in 2003, S.O.U.L. is a volunteer-based organization. To learn more or donate, visit

Essential Family Chiropractic volunteers deliver holiday meals

Last year, clients and staff at Essential Family Chiropractic in downtown Farmington delivered Thanksgiving meals to 25 families served by Farmington/Farmington Hills Neighborhood House.

The effort went so well, that Alyssa Zeglen, D.C., and Natalie Nedanovski, D.C. decided to bump their goal. Last week, 18 cars delivered turkeys and boxes and cans of food to 50 local families. Zeglen said Loretta Zahn, client support specialist with Neighborhood House and a patient, introduced them to the local nonprofit.

Essential Chiropractic
Volunteers pack and wrap Thanksgiving dinner baskets at Essential Chiropractic in Farmington.

“We do outreach during the year, especially in our local community,” Zeglen said. “We want to focus on our immediate area.”

Patients contributed both food items and cash, then volunteers gathered on November 18 for a light dinner, then packed festive, decorated baskets for delivery that evening. Last year, Essential Chiropractic received thank you notes from all recipients, but the greatest reward, Zeglen said, was meeting the families.

“That’s really special,” she said. “You really make that connection.”

Alan Maxey, president of the Neighborhood House board, said the economy has picked up, so while the number of clients served this year has remained about the same, their needs are greater.

“These are people who are much worse off,” he said.

Volunteer Terri Hanson said Neighborhood House still sees new clients who are facing evictions, utility shut-offs, and other emergencies. In addition, a program that provided certificates for fresh produce at this year’s Farmington Farmers and Artisans Market also created some new awareness and brought in some clients.

Essential Chiropractic
Suzanne Deglen of Novi, mom of Essential Chiropractic doc Alyssa Zeglen, took charge of wrapping Thanksgiving meal baskets.

Zeglen said Essential Family Chiropractic plans to make the Thanksgiving project an annual event. In 2017, they’ll be coordinating delivery from a new 4,000-square-foot space in the Downtown Farmington Business Center, next door to the Post Office.

“We hope to really expand this next year,” she said.

Learn more about Essential Family Chiropractic at Learn more about Neighborhood House at


Correction: Essential Family Chiropractic’s business name was incorrectly reported in the original version of this post. Also, Alyssa Zeglen and Natalie Nedanovski are Doctors of Chiropractic (D.C.).

Rotary Gala honors six Farmington area residents

Six local residents will receive Rotary Foundation awards December 6 during a Farmington Rotary gala celebrating the foundation’s centennial.

Held Glen Oaks Country Club in Farmington Hills, the 6:30 p.m. event is open to the public and will honor Oakland County Commissioner and former Farmington Hills police chief Bill Dwyer, former Farmington Hills council person and mayor Nancy Bates, local historian and videographer Brian Golden, long-time Farmington High band director Norman Logan, Harrison High Assistant Principal Angela Leach, and Farmington Schools teacher and Operation Common Good founder Dr. Tera Shamey.

As the funding arm of Rotary International, the Foundation has grown and supported projects of Rotary Clubs around the world. An initial donation of $26.50 has grown over the past 100 years to endowment fund of over $1 billion.

Gala registration is open now; write to for a registration form.

Harrison Think Pink raises $2K for cancer charity

The Harrison High School Think Pink Club raised a total of $2,260 during a week’s worth of activities at the school October 10-14. In addition to the club’s sale of t-shirts, pink donuts, pink bandanas and socks, the Harrison volleyball team, Power Middle School, and the Harrison football team supported the effort.

Harrison Think Pink

Funds will be donated to a cancer related charity. Over the past eight years, the Think Pink Club has raised more than $8,000. In July of last year, the group donated $4,000 to the Karmanos Cancer Center.

Farmington Hills teen orchestrates fundraiser

Rosie Burns-Pavlik
Rosie Burns-Pavlik will play Romberg’s “Sonata in C Major” during the Orchestrating for Freedom concert. (Photo by Dane Gussin)

Faced with the challenge of organizing a creative service project for an International Baccalaureate class, Harrison High sophomore Rosie Burns-Pavlik decided to orchestrate something special.

Burns-Pavlik and more than a half-dozen of her schoolmates will on November 11 present “Orchestrating for Freedom,” a benefit concert for Freedom House. The Detroit nonprofit provides a temporary haven for people who have escaped persecution in other countries and are seeking asylum in the U.S. and Canada.

“I like music, and I love Freedom House,” said Burns-Pavlik, who has volunteered as a babysitter for immigrants who take classes to familiarize themselves with American customs, traditions, and language.

Freedom House, she added, is one of the few shelters for people seeking asylum, the only one that fully covers legal costs, physical and mental health care, clothing, room and board. It helps immigrants start new lives.

“I love the community aspect of it,” Burns-Pavlik said. “They’re also so appreciative… They are really amazing people who have gone through a lot, and they’re so thankful for everything.”

Concert performers will include soloists playing pieces of their own choosing: Jeff Bell, senior, piano; Perry Kreiss, junior, trombone; Faith Berry, senior, violin; Darius Bonner, senior, cello; Anushka Jain, sophomore, piano; Veena Thamilsivan, junior, violin; Finn Birach, senior, percussion; and Burns-Pavlik on cello.

“We have people who are amazing musicians,” she said. “A couple will be playing their college audition pieces.”

The concert begins in the Harrison High Auditorium at 7 p.m., and admission is $3. Additional cash donations and gift cards from Target, Meijer, and similar stores will be gratefully accepted. The school is located at 29995 W. 12 Mile Rd. in Farmington Hills.

Smith Memorial Fund takes over Farmington Hills food pantry

A Farmington Hills food pantry that closed in June amid controversy has re-opened under new management.

The former St. Alexander Food Pantry doesn’t have a new name yet, but on November 1, the Farmington Hills-based Graham E. Smith Memorial Fund took over operations. The pantry has the same phone number, is located in the same building, and Hills resident Carol Greening has returned as coordinator.

St. Alexander Food Pantry
St. Alexander food pantry volunteers packed holiday food boxes last year for needy families.

The Fund, which also supports the activities of Farmington S.A.F.E. (Suicide Awareness for Everyone), was created by Farmington Hills mayor Ken Massey and his wife, Katherine, after their son succumbed to suicide. Ken Massey said the pantry fits with the Fund’s mission to support the community’s mental health and wellness needs.

“Nothing could be more stressful than not knowing where your next meal comes from,” he said.

Massey first considered getting the Fund involved after he was invited to an interfaith meeting where the fate of the pantry was discussed.

“It became very clear we needed to continue it,” he said. “A lot of the discussion was about finding a different group to run it … Being a person who looks for solutions, I said, ‘Let me talk to the (Fund) board.’.”

Permanent location needed

After getting board approval, Massey said, talks began with Fr. Krzysztof (Kris) Nowak at St. Gerald Catholic Church. That congregation took over the pantry after merging with the Servant Church of St. Alexander. Going through the process with the Archdiocese of Detroit, getting to the right people, moved opening under the new name from mid-July to November, he added.

“The pantry will stay in the same location for right now,” Massey said.

Discussions continue regarding a permanent location, but the St. Alexander site at 27835 Shiawassee in Farmington Hills needs some tender, loving care in the meantime. Volunteers will participate in a clean-up on November 12 (and November 13, if necessary), and issues with the boiler and heating are being addressed as well, Massey said.

There is also some thought toward expanding the food pantry site to include other organizations. The Michigan School of Professional Psychology in Farmington Hills would like to find a location for a community counseling center, and Oakland County Human Services has been looking for a local office, Massey said.

“Personally, I would like to find a way that we can coordinate a number of services in that spot,” he added.

Anyone who needs help, or who wants to volunteer or donate food items should call Greening, 248-474-5748. Monetary donations may be made to the Graham E. Smith Memorial Fund. Learn more at

Clarification: The sentence, “Going through the process with the Archdiocese of Detroit, getting to the right people, moved opening under the new name from mid-July to November, he added.”, was edited to clarify that the pantry was open at the time the new ownership was finalized.

Too much candy? Farmington area moms collect for troops

The Farmington Area Mothers Club hopes you’ll turn over your excess Halloween candy to help support U.S. troops overseas.

The club is hosting an Operation Shoebox drive at the McClary Bros. Tasting Room, 32621 Grand River in Farmington. Founded in 2003 by a military mom, the nonprofit sends care packages to supplement the basic necessities that soldiers receive while stationed abroad.

Hours for collection this week are Tuesday through Friday, 12 p.m.-6 p.m. and Saturday, 12 p.m.-4 p.m. Candies should be individually wrapped and heat-resistant – so no chocolate. Kids are also encouraged to make card or drawings to send, something soldiers particularly appreciate receiving.

The troops need more than candy, as well, and the Club will also accept donations of items listed on the Operation Shoebox website:

In addition to the care package items, the Club will include postcards and hopes to hear back from some of the men and women who received the packages.