Ceremony was held March 11 in Monroe
TECUMSEH — A resident of the Tecumseh community for the past 30 years was honored in March and was bestowed with the award of “Volunteer of the Year” courtesy of the United Way of Monroe and Lenawee County.
Anne Walker was named this year’s recipient of the award during the United Way’s 18th-annual Everyday Heroes Celebration held March 11 in Monroe. The celebratory occasion was held in time, as later that same week was when Michigan’s coronavirus policy of social distancing and “stay home” orders began to take effect.
Walker was also recognized for the award during the month of April. April is recognized annually as “National Volunteer Awareness month.”
“Anne is a wonderful person and a terrific volunteer,” said Connie Carroll, the Executive Director of the United Way of Monroe and Lenawee County in a recent news release. “Everything she does, she does well and with great enthusiasm. That includes helping with — and promoting United Way activities and events. The United Way and the Tecumseh community are blessed to have Anne Walker as a friend and supporter. Everyone who meets her, loves her.”
Walker, who located to Tecumseh from Ann Arbor in 1991, currently holds several volunteer leadership positions with the United Way and throughout the Tecumseh community. Carroll called Walker a “valuable member” of the United Way’s Lenawee Advisory Committee. She is also the volunteer coordinator for the United Way’s bi-annual Adrian area health check events, which have been held over the past two years.
The announcement of the United Way’s Volunteer of the Year award is provided at the start of the annual event. Along with Walker during the presentation were her husband John, daughter Laura Wanke and granddaughter Isabelle Wanke.
“My favorite part of serving on the United Way Advisory Board is connecting with the people United Way brings to the table to serve the people and needs of Lenawee County,” Walker said in the news release.
In addition to her service at the United Way, Walker remains very active throughout the community of Tecumseh. She is a member of the First Presbyterian Church of Tecumseh, participated in the hand-bells at the St. Andrew’s Choir, held the Deacon and Elder positions and currently co-manages the charitable “Mercy Fund” for the church.
She is a board member of the new local Fresh Food Initiative based out of the Tecumseh United Methodist Church, she has chaired the Tecumseh Appleumpkin’s Scarecrow contest for the past seven years and many in the community refer to her as the “Founding Mother” of the Tecumseh District Library. In 2003, Walker helped form and co-chaired the library’s millage campaigns. She also served two years as library trustee.
In 2004, Walker and her husband helped the City of Tecumseh’s Economic Development staff plant community gardens throughout Tecumseh. For years, she has delivered meals for the Meals on Wheels programs, as offered by the Lenawee County Department on Aging. Her most common route of meal delivery was on Route 6 in Raisin Township.
Walker has sung tenor in the Tecumseh Community Choir for many years and has helped with the annual Habitat for Humanity Great Pasty project fundraisers since its beginning. She is also a long-time member of the Kiwanis Club of Tecumseh, helping to form the AKTION Club, which assists developmentally delayed adults at the Adrian Hope Center, among other activities for the club.
“You’re supposed to give back what you have been given,” Walker said. “It’s not just for you. And I can’t sit still.”
One of her greatest inspirations is Dr. Carleton Cook, who passed away at the age of 92 last year. In the release, Walker stated that Dr. Cook was a role model on how to properly live a life.
“Think global, act local is a lifelong motto of mine,” she said. “And your hardest critic may well be your best ally. Be open to other perspectives and not quick to judge.”
Walker comes from a long line of first families in Ohio, whose motto has always been “we build the community.” She has a long list of ancestors who did remarkable things in the state of Ohio. When she came to Michigan as a child, the family moved to Ann Arbor, where he father was a law professor at the University of Michigan. Walker went on to graduate from Eastern Michigan University as an occupational therapist, eventually specializing in mental health occupational therapy.
Her career work took her from her first job working in an assisted living facility with seniors, to 12 years working with children and adolescents and 13 years working with adults and forensic clients.
“Each setting and population taught me many important life lessons,” she said.
John, Walker’s husband, is a retired fiscal analyst. Together the couple has four children and five grandchildren.