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Senior Volunteer of the Year - Mary C. Payne
Mary C. Payne has dedicated thousands of hours to serving, advocating and giving to her community and others. The 91-year-old has been recognized by more than 15 nonprofit organizations to which she personally gives her time, money and support. Her volunteer efforts have typically focused on children, women, the under-served and under-represented. Most recently she has been a force in bringing playgrounds to inner city housing, as well as instilling a love of music and art to underprivileged children, and has financially supported countless community causes. Mary has been a lifelong supporter for social justice, serving as chair of the League of Women Voters and the Community Corrections Board for years. The Muskegon County Bar Association awarded her the Liberty Bell Award, recognizing her outstanding service to strengthen the American system of justice and solve community needs. Her desire for justice is also reflected in her volunteerism. Mary served on the original advisory group to consider mediation as an alternative to the local court system. She trained as a mediator in 1993 as part of the first class, and has volunteered for it ever since. In her role with the United After Work retiree group, she is an inspiration to her younger peers, showing them the importance of volunteering, advocating and giving to the community. "Mary is certainly one of the most humble, thoughtful and generous people that I have worked with in my career. We appreciate Mary and her impact on our community every day," said the president of her local community foundation.