2016 Volunteer Service Award Recipient

Bob and Ann Helmic began volunteering at Bennett Woods Elementary School in 2001 as part of the Michigan Mason’s Beacon Project, which encouraged members of our state’s Masonic Centers to volunteer in their local elementary schools. Bob and Ann heeded the call…and have kept at it for 14 years. With only 1 year off while Bob took on a leadership role with the Masons, the Helmics have spent every Tuesday and Thursday morning lending their support to Bennett Woods 3rd grade students and staff. They work one-on-one with students who need individual attention, read to groups of students, help kids learn their math facts, sharpen pencils, prepare activities, provide extra adult supervision on school field trips, offer a friendly smile…or do whatever is needed that day. They have become part of the Bennett Woods family, and students and staff alike look forward to seeing Bob and Ann arrive in their signature red shirts.

Bob and Ann have lived in the Lansing area all their lives. Ann attended Okemos High School (Class of 1963); Bob attended Sexton. Both graduated from Michigan State University and enjoyed careers in the Lansing area. Ann was a nurse; Bob became a landscape architect and worked for the Department of Natural Resources, designing campgrounds, roads, and playgrounds for the State Parks Department. They have two grown children, a daughter in Grand Rapids and a son in DeWitt, and 6 grandchildren.

The Helmics are both life-long members of the Okemos Masons, a social fraternity that emphasizes philanthropy. The Helmics clearly embrace this message and live it as a shining example for all of us. “I don’t think I have ever met two people who share of themselves with others in a more kind, dedicated and considerate manner,” says retired Bennett Woods teacher Linda Yaske. What do the Helmics say about why they continue to volunteer? “It makes us feel good to watch a child succeed. I think we benefit more than the kids do.”