Schroeder’s ‘lion heart’ honored at Harvest Moon Gala

GRAND RAPIDS — Joe Schroeder is the 2022 Volunteer of the Year for the Grand Rapids Art Council.

Awards and honors were presented during a night of food and entertainment at the Harvest Moon Gala.

Joe Long, recipient of the Volunteer of the Year Award in 2021, presented this year’s honor to Schroeder.

“This person has a lion’s heart when it comes to the Otsego communities,” Lynne Long said.

Schroeder volunteers many hours to the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce and is a vital part of Rapids Rally Days, the Applebutter Fest, Light Up the Night and other local activities while maintaining several successful businesses in Grand Rapids.

Schroeder was awarded a framed certificate and hand-blown vase made by Baker O’Brien.

The Harvest Moon Gala, sponsored by the Grand Rapids Arts Council, was held on Oct. 23 in the Ladyglen Ballroom at Nazareth Hall.

Suzanne Carroll, former host of “The Jazz Brunch” on 101.5, served as emcee. Guests perused the 60 items of the silent auction, including a glass creation by Baker O’Brien, paintings by Brian Burchett and Cathy Wieging, gift certificates from the Grand Kerr House and Buchavida, alpaca items from the Natural Fiber and Yarn Store, themed baskets assembled by Robin Dudley and children’s clothing and toys handcrafted by Hayley Babcock. The meal was prepared by Nazareth Hall Chef Eric Eberly.

After the meal, Carroll introduced Lynne Long, president of GRAC, who recognized the arts council board members: Susan Conda, Dona Curtis, Robin Dudley, Public Relations Manager Amy Fitch, Christine Fowler, Ruth Gahler, Treasurer Craig Hamilton, Madelynn Kannen, Gary Lobochefski, Angie Miller, Carole Sarkan, Mark Sarkan, Vice President Diana Pulschen Votava and Secretary Kate Votava.

Loboschefski was recognized for his hard work, faithfulness and service to the council since 2008. He will be retiring from GRAC at the end of the year.

Long was honored for her 10 years of serving as president of GRAC. Carroll read comments from board members and awarded Long with flowers and a glass creation from Baker O’Brien.

Drawings for the door prizes followed; they included gift certificates to Waymaker’s, Knucklehead’s Kafe, Miss Lily’s, Snyder’s Pizza and Subs, Wild Side and Hock’s Bike Shop. The winner of the 50/50 drawing was guest Dale Works who donated the money back to the council.

Entertainment for the evening was provided by Dewayne Hill, comedic magician.

The gala serves as a fundraiser for the arts council. It helps provide funding for events of the council throughout the year such as children’s summer art camp in June, silent movies in the Town Hall, plein air artists along the towpath, Sunset Jazz and Art Fest in August, Children’s Area during the Applebutter Fest in October, “Ghostly Gilead” Halloween Decorating Contest, Gingerbread House Decorating during the Village Christmas Open House in November, and Memorial Snowflake project in December. In addition, the council donates to the Grand Rapids Area Chamber of Commerce, Historical Society of Grand Rapids and Grand Rapids Area Swimming Pool.

(The headline has been corrected in this story.)