John Monahan (1946-2002) was the first openly gay community activist and organizer in the Tri-City area.. He was involved with local groups – Dignity Tri-Cities and Wellness Networks Tri-Cities and talked with local elected leaders in Lansing. John moved to Detroit and became a co-founder of the Triangle Foundation and served as the president and was involved in other LGBT groups..(The Triangle Foundation is called Equality Michigan now.) John demonstrated a lifetime commitment to equality, fairness and justice for the LGBT community. We recognize this and remember that he did for us.
Bill Giorgis (Saginaw) is a giving, considerate, thoughtful, helpful, unselfish and supportive person — describes one of several individuals who nominated Bill. Another said, ― “I can’t tell you how many times that man has come to my rescue.” As the owner of Mike’s Wrecker Services, Bill was inducted into the International Towing Hall of Fame 2002. He has served as President of Michigan Towing Association for over a decade. Bill is an active member of several community groups including the Saginaw Area Fireworks & the Lawn Chair Film Festival and has donated generously to the LGBT community. He regularly purchases and then donates tickets for events like tonight’s Pride Banquet and the Holiday Party. He has made generous donations to the Perceptions Auction and most recently donated space for the Perceptions general meetings. Bill is man who’s generosity knows no bounds.
Randy Hasso (Saginaw) is no stranger to serving others. In his younger years Randy was a member of the Peace Corp in Africa. Since those early days of international service Randy has lived and worked in the Saginaw area. He has been generous in time, talent and resources and a treasure to the LGBT and HIV/AIDS communities on the local, regional, state and national levels. Randy has been an officer or board member of Dignity Tri-Cities, The NAMES Project-AIDS Memorial Quilt, Wellness Network Tri-Cities, and Perceptions Saginaw Valley. He is a tireless worker who goes above and beyond the call of duty. He puts in many hours behind-the-scenes for the success of dozens of projects and does not seek the spotlight.
Rev. Kathy VanBuskirk (Saginaw) is a mother of three adult daughters and a grandmother of six. Ordained in 2005, she ministers at Divine Light Interfaith Ministry. Kathy has counseled individuals and couples in parenting, sexuality, custody and the other issues, especially people in the LGBT community. Kathy organized the first public local LGBT Pride Festival on Saturday, June 25, 2011 at Objiway Island. About 2,000 people attended the wonderful experience. Kathy has demonstrated the ability to cooperatively work with a multitude of people and groups for the overall betterment of our community.
Bob and Denise Malosh (Midland) learned that their youngest son, Kent, was gay when he was 12. Kent was bullied at school and in the community. Finding PFLAG, they learned how to support Kent and live an authentic and happy life. They attended workshops, learned about LGBT issues, lobbied in Lansing and contacted elected leaders. They became leaders of Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG Tri-Cities) – Bob as president and Denise as secretary. Their involvement with PFLAG helped dozens of other families to learn that a child’s sexual orientation is not a dividing issue but it is a blessing.
The Magic Bean Cafe (Saginaw) receives the Business Pride Award for several reasons: being welcoming venue with loving open arms, posting LGBT events, welcoming the Perceptions trans-gender support group meetings, and hosted Las Vegas fundraisers for HIV/AIDS. The Magic Bean Cafe have contributed time, money, resources, and support to the LGBT community.