Fleury is Bonifas ‘Volunteer of the Year’

ESCANABA – Phyllis Fleury, a volunteer at the Bonifas Arts Center, was selected Volunteer of the Year at a recent holiday brunch held to honor the center’s volunteers.

“We couldn’t do what we do here without our wonderful volunteers,” said Events Coordinator Cindy A Bender. “It’s only right that we honor them. This year we selected Phyllis Fleury, who has helped with a myriad of tasks when we’ve needed her.”

Fleury, who lives in Gladstone, has a bachelor’s degree in art from the University of Texas at Austin. She works with the Gallery crew, hanging and striking shows, and was instrumental in putting on this year’s Waterfront Art Festival and Concerts in the Park.

John Stacey of Escanaba received a special “Caped Crusader” award for his work on the facility, painting and trimming the studio and entrance areas as well as working to repair water damage to the building.

“John came in and was a constant presence here through the problems we’ve had,” Bender said. “It really did seem like he flew in to save the day, just like a caped crusader.”

As much fun as the volunteer awards are, there’s been one problem with them.

“These are one-time awards,” Bender said. “They’re given only once to each person. The problem, then – and it’s a good one – is that we’ve had volunteers in the past who do so much for the Center that we want to honor them more than once. This year, we awarded our first “ArtTime” Achievement Award to Barb Lindstrom for a lifetime’s worth of help here.”

Lindstrom is a retired teacher who, according to Bender, “pours time and energy into work in the community.” At the Center, she’s been responsible for facilitating two huge tasks: the Youth In Art exhibit each year, and the annual Auction for the Arts.

“Barb has been there for us for many years,” Bender said. “The inventorying of hundreds of pieces of student art and the acquiring and arranging of hundreds of donations for the Auction are enormous tasks. She’s the one who has been there with our staff over the years, making things work.”

Lindstrom lives in Bark River and also volunteers at the OSF St Francis Hospital Gift Shop.

Volunteers are welcomed at any level of involvement, Bender said. To find out more, call her at 786.3833, ext. 16.