GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--John Gehling, a senior volunteer with Meals on Wheels, has been selected as the recipient of the Humana Starlight Award, honoring the efforts of senior citizens who volunteer in the Grand Rapids area. In recognition of his service, Humana awarded a one-time, $10,000 grant to Catholic Charities West Michigan.
Gehling has provided exceptional dedication for more than 16 years to God’s Kitchen, a program of Catholic Charities West Michigan. After retiring, Gehling began driving for the Meals on Wheels program. Through Michigan’s notoriously chilling winters, Gehling braves the snow, sleet and ice to provide warm meals to recipients of the program. Gehling does more than provide food to homebound seniors, he also delivers hope and compassion.
“I always remember this lady,” Gehling said. “She had a nice house and her husband had passed away but she still lived in their home. When I’d come, she’d open the door, and because of her chronic back problems, she’d be bent way over, almost parallel to the ground. I’d say hi to her and she’d start to talk. By the time I left, she’d be almost standing up and we’d both look forward to the next conversation.”
Gehling’s commitment and consistently positive attitude help to brighten people’s lives who may not otherwise see a friendly face for days.
“We were pleased to honor Mr. Gehling. He is representative of the thousands of volunteers who help at God’s Kitchen and other programs of Catholic Charities West Michigan,” said Deborah J. McCormack, president and CEO of Catholic Charities West Michigan. “We couldn’t serve so many in need without our volunteers’ support.”
Nonprofit organizations from throughout the Grand Rapids area nominated their top senior citizen volunteers for the 2008 Humana Starlight Award. Nominees are evaluated on the dedication and leadership they have demonstrated, as well as the impact their volunteer efforts have had on others in the community.
“John’s positive, giving spirit makes him an ideal recipient of the Humana Starlight Award,” said Deborah Gracey, president of Medicare Operations in the Great Lakes Region and chair of Grand Rapids Starlight Award. “We couldn’t begin to count the many seniors who have benefited from John’s efforts to look out for their well being. He makes sure they have good conversation and a good meal. Grand Rapids seniors have a real friend in John Gehling. He truly demonstrates the power of volunteerism.”
Humana, one of Michigan’s leading providers of Medicare health plans and prescription drug plans, created the Starlight Award to honor an exceptional senior citizen volunteer, as well as to provide financial support for a nonprofit organization whose good work benefits the community. The second annual Humana Starlight Award was presented at a special recognition ceremony Thursday, October 30, 2008 at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel.
The Humana Starlight Award began three years ago in Nebraska and is also now presented in Des Moines, Salt Lake City, and Grand Rapids. Anyone who is 65 years of age or older and has served as a volunteer for a nonprofit organization in Kent County, is eligible for the Humana Starlight Award. To nominate a senior citizen volunteer, nonprofit organizations must be classified as a 501(c)(3) and serve the community in one of three areas:
For more information about the Humana Starlight Award, visit http://www.humana.com/about/company_information/starlight.asp, or contact the local Humana office at 5555 Glenwood Hills Parkway SE, Grand Rapids, MI, 49512, or call 616-942-6701.
Humana Inc., headquartered in Louisville, Kentucky, is one of the nation’s largest publicly traded health benefits companies, with approximately 11.7 million medical members, including more than 170,000 in Michigan. Humana offers a diversified portfolio of health insurance products and related services – through traditional and consumer-choice plans – to employer groups, government-sponsored plans, and individuals.
Over its 46-year history, Humana has consistently seized opportunities to meet changing customer needs. Today, the company is a leader in consumer engagement, providing guidance that leads to lower costs and a better health plan experience throughout its diversified customer portfolio.
More information regarding Humana is available to investors via the Investor Relations page of the company’s web site at http://www.humana.com, including copies of: