Civilian of the Year
Ms. Connie VanHouten of the Wayland Post was named Civilian of the Year.
The MSP Civilian of the Year Award is named in honor of the late Floyd R. Bell Jr., a 42-year employee of the MSP, who continuously demonstrated commitment and dedication to the department and his community.
“Ms. VanHouten is the go-to person at the Wayland Post for just about everything,” said Etue. “Her positive attitude and comforting presence make an impact not just at work, but also in her hometown. Her commitment to bettering the lives of those around her makes her an obvious choice for the Civilian of the Year Award.”
VanHouten is the primary organizer and fundraiser for at the Wayland Post for many events that benefit the less fortunate. Thanks to her commitment, the events are always a great success resulting in the collection of thousands of pounds of food or monetary donations.
Though invaluable at work, what she does at home and for the children in her community is what makes VanHouten really remarkable. A strong advocate of foster parenting and adoption, VanHouten has adopted eight children, including two groups of siblings, into her family.
Sharing her story to help others understand what a rewarding experience fostering and adoption can be has become her mission. As a result, 20 children have been adopted by her friends.
VanHouten is active in a number of programs that help provide food, clothing and school supplies to low income families.
VanHouten joined the MSP in 1997. She serves as a secretary at the Wayland Post.