Senior Volunteer of the Year - Jan Thomas

Jan Thomas

Jan Thomas grew up on a fruit and vegetable farm in small northwest Michigan town where she learned the importance of good work. Farming alongside the migrant workers her parents hired inspired her spirit of service. Jan has served others in Marilla Township. A retired teacher, she’s served youth by leading a Boy Scout troop, organizing a neighborhood nursery, starting a Ranger Rick club to teach children about the natural world and watching children after Hurricane Ike in Texas. She led efforts for the Marilla Museum and Pioneer Place, where she has organized and maintained a complex of historical buildings for the past 20 years. While serving on the board for the Arts & Culture Alliance of Manistee, Jan channeled her passion for uplifting migrant workers and helped raise $6,500 to create a sculpture in their honor. It is known by her community that she always finds a way of making the impossible a reality. “If you want something done and done right, you call Jan Thomas,” said local resident Dixie Howes. As a testament to her life of service, Thomas’ acts of kindness have become an inspiration to others to make life better.