Dr. Dale Merkle, former president of the local chapter of Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG Tri-Cities) who as a member of the Bay City Board Educa-tion (1998-2002) was instrumental in establishing a non-discrimination policy that included sex-orientation in Bay City Schools. Dale has written more than thirty articles that addressed equal civil and human rights for lesbians and gays, and became PFLAG’s Gulf Regional Director after he moved to Atlanta, GA. Dale and his wife, Mary Lynn, has been an advocates for equality all of their lives. We will always remember your advocacy for the LGBT community. Thank you.
Rick Farrand has been active in the Tri-Cities GLBT community for almost 25 years. He was a founding member of Dignity Tri-Cities and helped with fundraising, candlelight vigils, making AIDS Quilt panels for members of the Tri-Cities who died of AIDS, marches in Detroit, Lansing, etc. in the 1980-90’s. He helped bring a portion of the AIDS Quilt to Bay City in early 1990’s. Rick was involved with the Buddy Program, when people visited, offered encouragement, rides, and a shoulder to cry on for those Tri-Cities residents living with AIDS. He served the LGBT community by volunteering and organizing numerous functions – dances, fundraisers, banquets, the Perceptions Adoption Highway Cleanup and the like. Rick’s mom, aunt and family became friends with the LGBT community and Rick never hesitated to help.
Alberto Jimenez, an openly gay Latino, has become an equality activist – something that he did not plan. To fight against LGBT discrimination, especially within the Latino community, he created an “Equality” float for Saginaw’s 34th Annual Cinco de Mayo
Parade on May 4th – the first LGBT-themed float in the Cinco de Mayo Parade and probably the first in Saginaw. Perceptions and PFLAG sponsored his Equality float that took 2nd Place! Alberto is no stranger with the community. He has volunteered for Tri-City Pride Festival for three years, was involved with La Union Civica Mexicana, Saginaw oldest Mexican American organization, and the Mexican American Council where he serves as a board member. Alberto is starting a business called Party Loco to use his creative skills. Thank you and good luck, Alberto.
Annie Boensch, member the Saginaw City Council, has been a leader and supporter of equal rights, not only for the gay community, but for all Saginaw City and County residents. She was the first Saginaw County political leader to sign her name a statement from Unity Michigan LEAD (Local Elect-eds Against Discrimination): Elected officials from across the State of Michigan who proudly support of non-discrimination protections for gay and transgender residents; and has encouraged other city council members and county elected officials to add their names to LEAD. Annie, as a political leader and a mother, has been a model Ally for the LGBT community. One person can be a difference. Annie is an example.
Kay Sural who consistently supported efforts to foster a positive image for the lesbian, gay, bisexual and trans-gender community and their allies, was known by her kind smile and dedication in the LGBT and the general community. Kay was able connect with everybody and became an excellent ambassador for goodwill. She naturally said “Hi” or “I’m Kay. Who are you?” to friends or strangers at a meeting, an event or at the Savoy Grill. She was able to accept others as they are. Kay served on the Perceptions Saginaw Valley board for six years including as Vice Chair.
The Pasong’s Café that serves fine Asian cuisine receives the Business Pride Award for its long-time full support of the LGBT community within the Great Lakes Bay Region. “Pasong” and her daughters, Nonnie Blondin and Tina Saycosie, are known by many in the LGBT community. Openly lesbian Tina is the current owner of Pasong’s Café. The restaurant has donated its services for Holiday Parties, Chocolate Par-ties and other fundraisers for years. The family and employees were involved with the AIDS Walk and other community projects, especially in Saginaw’s Old Town.