Grayling volunteer recognized for her service in the community and region
Dan Sanderson | Staff Writer
A Grayling volunteer was recently recognized at the Michigan State Capitol in Lansing for giving thousands of hours of her time to better the community.
Terry Tody received a Community Action Volunteer Award presented by the Northeast Michigan Community Service Agency at a ceremony held in Lansing on May 2. She was one of five volunteers from throughout the state to be recognized with the award.
Tody also received a special tribute signed by Rep. Daire Rendon, R-Lake City, and Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer for volunteering over 4,000 hours to community agencies and programs.
Terry and her husband, Frank Tody Jr., moved to Grayling from the Village of Ortonville in 2000. Frank retired from his job at General Motors.
“We always had a cabin here, so we would come up every summer,” Terry said.
At first, Tody was following in her family’s footsteps when she started volunteering. Her aunt, Mary Clark, from Cadillac, drove people to medical appointments through the Retired Senior Volunteer Program.
Terry owned and operated a family restaurant downstate for a dozen years. Her mother-in-law, Leoma Tody, encouraged her to stay busy when she retired.
“My mother-in-law said to me: ‘If you sit around, you just die,’” Terry said.
She started volunteering for the Crawford County Community Christian Help Center, where she also serves on the board of directors. Terry choose to volunteer at the food pantry because Frank once had to get food stamps to buy food for his four children when employees at General Motors went on strike.
“He went and pushed a broom for $7 per hour just to have money for the kids,” Terry said.
Terry said she appreciates being there for area residents who are struggling to make ends meet and putting food on the table for their families.
“I want to uplift people,” she said. “I want to be happy when I go out of here.”
Terry stepped up her volunteer hours five years ago after Frank unexpectedly died. She was at the Help Center the next day with former director Marianne Gosnell.
“I just told her I had to get out of the house. I couldn’t be there,” she said. “It was a total shock because he had not been sick. He had a heart attack. I just had to keep busy, and from then I just stayed busy.”
Terry also organizes and oversees food trucks, which come to the Mt. Hope Lutheran Church five times a year for free food distributions. She is on Michigan District Lutheran Women’s Missionary League Board and also serves as a zone president. Terry is among a group of women who knit blankets at the Mt. Hope Lutheran Church every Tuesday. She also serves on the advisory board of the Retired Senior Volunteer Program, and assists the Crawford County Toys for Tots program at the Help Center.
Terry said she has been blessed in life, which encouraged her to volunteer to help people in the community.
“I’ve always felt God gave me a good life, so I can help other people,” she said. “It’s the love of the heart.”
Terry stressed that she represented all people who volunteer their time as she was recognized with the award.
“Just because I could put all those hours in doesn’t make me a better volunteer than anybody else,” she said. “It’s just that I have more free time.”
Cindy Hummel, the director for the Crawford County Community Christian Help Center, accompanied Tody to the awards ceremony and luncheon.
“It’s totally amazing,” Hummel said. “Never in my lifetime have I had anybody put in excess of 4,000 hours to better the community.”