Longtime FRB volunteer receives President’s Volunteer Service Award

Longtime FRB volunteer receives President’s Volunteer Service Award

Norm Braksick of the Kalamazoo/Portage MI office of Foods Resource Bank (FRB) recently received President Obama’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA) for Lifetime Achievement, in recognition of his many years of volunteer service, not only to FRB but to other organizations and causes. 

A minimum of 4000 hours of volunteering over a lifetime is required to obtain this award, and Norm has far surpassed that figure at FRB alone as volunteer Executive Director of Foods Resource Bank from 2000-2005, and volunteer Regional Development Staff from 2005 to the present. Added to his volunteer activity as board director with organizations including Salvation Army, Ministry with Community (Kalamazoo), Habitat for Humanity, and Wider Church Ministries and Global ministries of the United Church of Christ, Norm has given at least 15,000 hours to others in service, primarily to FRB.

The award was presented by Bev Abma, FRB’s former Executive Director of Overseas Programming, at her retirement celebration, which took place in August as part of the organization’s Annual Meeting, held this year in Byron Center MI. Bev and Norm were among FRB’s founders in 1998.

Norm grew up on a farm in Missouri, and graduated in 1961 from the University of MO with a B.S. in Animal Husbandry. He worked for 30 years in the Animal Health industry for Upjohn Pharmaceuticals, progressing through a number of sales and marketing positions, and became vice president of their North American Animal Health Operations in 1991. Until he retired in 1997 Norm was president of the Asgrow Seed Company, a major supplier of vegetable seeds and corn and soybean seed owned at the time by Upjohn. He’s delighted that his business experience and the connections he nurtured over his years at Upjohn and Asgrow allow him to get the word out about FRB to many people and businesses in the ag sector who are interested in being a part of growing solutions to hunger. 

When asked why he volunteers, specifically for FRB, Norm said simply, “It is what we are all called to do to help others, especially in retirement.  Plus, it is very rewarding to work with so many generous people.  After spending all my working life in agriculture, I was drawn to FRB’s ag development model.  It has a tremendous multiplier effect.  All people have the opportunity to give their own unique gifts, and in a short time see it multiplied 3- or 4-fold. And I get to meet and work with very loving and compassionate people all over the world. Alone, I can do my thing. Together, we can do great things to alleviate world hunger. 

FRB staff, board of directors, member organizations, and volunteers and friends from all over know Norm for his friendly and invitational ways, his networking skills and great suggestions on how to others involved in FRB. We are all grateful for his strong spirit of volunteerism, which not only strengthens FRB but our nation and our world.

Congratulations, Norm, on this well-deserved recognition of your commitment to your local and global community! Keep up the good work!

11/06/2013 | Comments: 0 | Add Comment