WMMI’s “Hammer Award” presented by Hammer Restoration! Vote Now!

Just as Hammer Restoration hammers out our problems on the home front the My 1043 Hammer award presented by Hammer Restoration wants to honor those on the front lines hammering out the problems we face every day in Mid-Michigan!

From volunteers, firefighters, coaches, teachers, or anyone who just gets things done in our community.  It may be that persons job, but those who go above and beyond the duty deserve some extra recognition.

We all have that friend or relative in Mid Michigan that deserves credit for their hard work, so nominate those you think deserve some extra kudos…and some awesome prizes!  Find our nomination form below and every month Tina, Shawn, and Chris pick their favorite to win that months hammer award!!

The winner of the Hammer Award will win a sweet trophy from JNR Engraving, some love on the radio and an extra classy prize package!  So check back every month, every week, or everyday to recognize those in our community that Hammer our the problems Mid Michiganders face every day with the Hammer Award with Hammer Restoration.

Have any damage to your home? Hammer Restoration is the only name you need to know; where they respond, recover, and rebuild.

Honor Hammer Restoration with your business just as they honor our great community  members with the Hammer Award!

Who Should Win This Month’s Hammer Award!

The Mt Pleasant Community Foundation is a stranger to no one who has tried to raise funds for a cause in the Mt Pleasant area!  In the simplest terms the Mt Pleasant Community Foundation is like a credit union for charities; if you wanted to start a scholarship in a teacher’s name..they can help!  They give charities in Mt Pleasant a leg up to get their foothold in the community, just head to their website to see all the charities and partners they have here in our great town!  The hammer award is all about honoring those who make Mid Michigan great, and those who volunteer their time to this great organization are exactly what Hammer Award is all about!  So vote for your favorite officer below (we would love to honor all board members, however we can’t have that many voting options)!


Brian Rush
Mary Ann O’neil








Cheryl Gaudard
Al Kaufmann









Congrats to Annie our latest winner!!!!

Annie Sanders nominated by Shawn: Annie is a lifelong resident of Mid-Michigan, who helps hammer out the needs of the youth in our area, by serving as President/CEO of United Way of Gratiot & Isabella Counties; along with being part of the Mt. Pleasant Jaycees, The Rotary, Special Olympics & other local organizations, where her abilities & skills can be utilized to the fullest. She has a strong passion for our community & the desire to improve the quality of life for those around her.  Annie says she loves this community & everyone in it, and continues to strive to make it a better place to work, live & raise our families.  Cast your vote for Annie, for this months Hammer Award!


Congrats to our winning band director JoAnn Gross!!!! As we were honored to nominate our band directors from our local high schools!!  Football coaches aren’t the only ones leading our youngsters on Friday nights in Mid Michigan, marching bands are working as a team just like those on the gridiron.  They also teach band, sometimes jazz band, music class, or whatever is needed from them at school.  Safe to say band directors make Mid Michigan a better place to live, exactly what the hammer award is all about!  This is a video her husband Jay made for her to gather votes!  Jay and JoAnn are now our first couple to have both won the hammer award!! Congrats and thanks you two!

Congrats to our latest winner from our battle of Mt Pleasant entities….Mt Pleasant Parks & Rec is one of the best communities to live, work, and play.  This is made possible by our great team that represents us and does our dirty work.  While we would love to nominate all of those individuals because they deserve it.. That would take years of Hammer Award nominees…So we are going to put these great folks up against each other!  Vote now and vote often!




Thank You to everyone who voted for your favorite coach. Kelly is one of the winningest coaches in Michigan high school football history and is extremly grateful for this opporunity!



Justin Travis nominated by Chris: Justin  graduated from Shepherd High School in 2007. He attended Central Michigan University and graduated in Spring 2012 with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration for Accounting. Upon graduation, Justin started full time with Boge, Wybenga & Bradley PC as an Accountant and has been employed their ever since.
He has been a member of the Board of Directors of Girls on the Run of Central Michigan since May 2015. He has served as their Treasurer, Interim Executive Director and is the current Chairman of the Board, going on his second term. The best part of Girls on the Run of Central Michigan is that no girl is turned away because they can’t pay. We make is so all girls can enjoy Girls on the Run. The 5k is the best day to see the culmination of all of their hard work as they cross the finish line, realizing their limitless potential.
As the son of a dairy farmer, he participated in the Isabella County Youth and Farm Fair. Justin started in Clover Sprouts, showing his sister’s horse. He went on to show rabbits and sheep.His favorite part of 4-H was all of the friends he made a long the way that had a deep love for their animals.
Justin’s quote: “If you can dream it, you can do it.” – Walt Disney


Brad Vavzincak nominated by Tina from Isabella County Child Advocacy Center: is originally from Ohio, and has lived in Mid-Michigan for over 25 years. He has worked with youth for over 20 years, including at-risk youth, runaway homeless youth, and currently works in the prevention program at the Isabella County Child Advocacy Center. Brad, or “Mr. Brad” as he is known in the schools, teaches the Protect Yourself Program to the 1st grade classrooms in Isabella County, and empowers the children to recognize and respond to dangerous situations. Brad also helps with forensic interviews of children that have been victims of sexual abuse, and helps with setting up services to start the healing process. Brad has been married for 24 years, and has 2 children. Brad also has 4 Pugs, which he considers family as well! 

Quote: Knowing what’s right doesn’t mean much unless you do what’s right. Theodore Roosevelt 

Kevin Ricketts nominated by Tina:Kevin is originally from Louisville Kentucky. Moved to Michigan in 1994, and started working for the Saginaw Chippewa Tribe, and presently holds the position as the court bailiff for the Tribal court. 25 years working for the Tribe
Kevin has also worked as a volunteer firefighter, for the Tribal Fire Department for 10 years, He is the co-founder of the Michigan United Tribal Youth Basketball League, founder & coordinator of the Drug Free Teen Club, a volunteer assistant boys varsity basketball coach at Mt Pleasant High School 2013-present and currently is the head coach of the 1st ever Mt Pleasant High School BASS Club. Kevin says he has accomplished everything because of God and his Beautiful Wife Alice Jo Ricketts. He says never leaves the house without praying, for both Family and Friends. He encourages everyone to dream big, and never let anything deter you from victory.

Quote: The Youth are the Light of the World, without their light there is no future.

Amy Powell nominated by Tina: Amy earned her Bachelor degree from Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, and worked for Old Kent Bank, Aquinas College and the Otsego County Commission on Aging. She moved to Mount Pleasant in 2003 to attend graduate school at CMU, and worked in various CMU departments before joining Art Reach in 2016. Amy is active in the community, serving on multiple committees at Immanuel Lutheran Church, volunteering for many community organizations and her children’s school. She’s also active with Rotary in Mt. Pleasant. Amy is passionate about human rights, and eliminating social injustices.

Amy’s quote: Romans 12:12, Let your hopes keep you joyful, be patient with your troubles and pray at all times


Chris’ Nominee Explore Chiropractic–  Explore Chiropractic in Mt Pleasant provides great service to those with back pain in Mid Michigan with a specialty in pediatric and Pregnancy health care.  However, Explore believes in a cause bigger than themselves, and that’s community.  That is why you will find them at every kids event in Mid Michigan, like Play it Safe Kids Day, Boo Bash, Kids Expo, The Isabella County 4h Fair and many others. This holiday season Explore Chiropractic is benefiting the care store in Mt Pleasant with their giving tree, last year the proceeds helped 4 local families have a happy holiday! The Undy 500; collecting diapers and underwear for those in need was a fantastic charitable effort that was lead by Explore Chiropractic. This past year they also allowed “local gems”(local artists and locally owned businesses) to display items in their waiting room.

Explore Chiropractic’s Quote: We believe in a cause greater than ourselves


Congrats to Lois Breidnetstein as she bested all of her kids in the voting!

My1043 has been honored to nominate individuals and last month organizations that benefit kids here in Mid Michigan; these individuals and organizations make Mid Michigan a great place to live, but sometimes it’s a family affair!  That’s why this month My1043 and Hammer Restoration are proud to nominate the Breidenstein family!  Ask Chris, Tina, or Shawn and they will tell you that the Breidenstein family is what Mid Michigan is all about.  Whether caring for others, volunteering with non-profits, making Mid Michiganders beautiful, or providing locals with great food and great times… The Breidenstein family makes Mid Michigan a great place to call home, and I haven’t even brought up their charity work that they do in Mid Michigan that benefits among other charities the Isabella County Child Advocacy Center..So this month go ahead and pick your favorite Breidenstein (or Blizzard), as they all deserve the Hammer Award!


Congrats to our previous winners:

PEAK-Nominated by Chris-  PEAK is an After School and Summer Camp that serves the youth and their families in Mt. Pleasant and surrounding towns. They work in partnership with Mt. Pleasant Public Schools, the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe, and United Way to provide a safe, educational, and enriching environment for our youth during out of school time. We provide an After School program in each of our public schools in Mt. Pleasant and turn the schools into ‘recreational learning centers’ in the summer months.

This past year they have put an emphasis on teaching our kids to give back and take an active role in the community. We raised over $750 to donate to United Way through our ‘Penny Wars’ this summer. We have also worked with a local nursing home and our Vowles Kindergartners have become pen pals with their residents, we were lucky enough to take a field trip and meet our pen pals in person at the end of the school year last year! We also had a very successful food drive and collected over 1,100 items to donate this past summer.

Not only are the kids in PEAK in a safe, enriching environment, but they also LOVE to go! PEAK is so much fun and such a wonderful program, and they are so happy to be nominated for this amazing award!

Thanks to Mary LaChance for her write up on PEAK, and thanks to PEAK for hammering out out of school education in Mid Michigan!

Chris’ Nominee (Per Jay Gross) Shelia Barnaby: Shelia is a Shepherd High graduate, with a Bachelors Degree in Human resource management and small business management from Davenport University. Shelia currently works as  Executive Director of the Mid Michigan Foster and Adoptive Coalition- the organization that runs the Gratiot County foster closet.

At the foster closet, they provide new and like new clothing items to foster families. In addition to clothing, they offer items to pre-Adoptive families that are working to get licensed, provide essentials to foster families, including foster/Adoptive specific books and other resources to families. They are continually adding resources and connections within the community for current and previous foster families.

Shelia has also been the Human Resource Generalist for Clover Technologies Group in Ithaca for 6 years. She was Awarded Child Advocate of the Year by Child Advocacy for 2018, is on the board of Directors for the Women’s Resource Center and the Child Abuse and Neglect (CAN) Council for Gratiot County. She is the adoptive mother to 4 year old twin boys, she has been a licensed foster parent for 3 years.

Shelia’s Quote:  “Be who you needed when you were young”


Mike Evans director at Odyssey Middle High School- Mike has been working at Odyssey for several years now, returning as director after having completed his student teaching there several years before, he also serves as the local student homeless liaison.  Mike has dedicated his career to helping at risk youth.  He grew up in Harrison, attended CMU, and has been working in the education field, now going on his 8th year of working in alternative education.  He has a total of 12 years of working with at risk youth.

Mike is hammering out alternative education in Mid Michigan, and providing young kids with the guidance and opportunities to graduate high school.  Mike along with his great staff provide a hands on learning environment focused on environmental and experiential learning.  At Odyssey kids take the normal classes, but are also building things (miles of trails and a disc golf course for example).  This hands on approach  helps promote responsible thinking and provides a student centered educational experience.

Brian Dufort teacher at Odyssey says of Mike, “Mike is always looking for new ideas that we can use to make Odyssey a place that better suits the wide variety of our students needs.  The question, what is best for his students is what guides his decision making.”

Mike’s quote- “Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better.  It’s not” -The Lorax

Here is July/August winner!

Tina’s nominee Kara Bouman:  Kara grew up in Shepherd and has made Mid-Michigan a great place to live since she was a kid. Kara call Mt Pleasant home with her husband Brent and their two children. Kara is the Director of Marketing for the Laurels of Mt Pleasant.  It is hard to believe that she has a job, considering all that she does for our community.  Just as the hammer award is intended…Kara hammers out problems we face every day in Mid-Michigan

Kara works with CARE, VANNIC, Mt Pleasant Jaycees, Mt Pleasant Craft Beer Festival, Shepherd Maple Syrup Festival, the Shepherd Chamber of Commerce, along with others.  If there is a community event raising money for a good cause…there is a good chance Kara is doing some work behind the scenes.  That is all on top of her job at The Laurels of Mt Pleasant.

Through her volunteer work with the Jaycees Kara plans events like memberships drives, social outings, and the Foster Closet Christmas Party!  With the Shepherd Chamber Kara organizes their golf outing, helps with the outdoor movie nights, and more!  IN the little free time that Kara has she enjoys crafting, boating, and anything that includes her family!

Kara truly makes Mid Michigan a great place to live through her volunteer work and positive attitude that she carries everyday…If you know Kare you without a doubt know that smile.  If you don’t know that smile…Start volunteering!

Here is June/July winner!

Dalis Hitchcock

Dalis Hitchcock has surrounded herself with creatures of all shapes & sizes, since she was a little girl. She has a passion for animals, which inspired her to open up “Dalis to the Rescue” in St. Louis, next to her pet grooming business. She’s totally honored to be a nominee for this months Hammer Award with MY1043.

The thing she loves about animals is that they don’t lie, cheat or steal.  She believes people are complicated & that animals are “pure!”

Dalis dedicates (7) days a week, (365) days a year, to all of her furry little friends! Dalis is the daughter of (2) pet shop owners & loves “hammering” out animal abandonment here in Mid-Michigan.

Although she tries to show as much affection as possible to her furry creatures, she refrains from naming them so she doesn’t get “too” attached.  Her sacrifice of time, space & pocketbook, are all worth it for her.

Dalis’ quote: when Dalis talks about spaying and neutering she wants people to “be part of the solution not the problem.”


Congrats to Jay B Gross our first Hammer Award winner!!!

Jay Gross

Jay B Gross English Teacher Shepherd High School; nominated by My1043’s Chris Spachman

If Mr Gross was your teacher at Shepherd High School chances are you still talk to him, whether your 22, 32, or even 42.  He becomes a mentor for life after being your teacher.  Jay is graduate of Central Michigan University and is finishing his 27th year of teaching at Shepherd!

Along with teaching Jay also speaks at various functions all over the country with words of wisdom, courage, and positivity.  In sports it is said that the great players make those around them better, well Jay Gross is a great player in life, and betters the lives of those around him.

Jay is currently hammering out adolescent turmoil in Mid Michigan.  From teaching at Shepherd, speaking to kids at other local schools, and being there for any former student. Jay makes Mid Michigan a great place to live by mentoring thousands in our area.

Jay also has a heart of gold when it comes to animals, if you see a lost dog post in our area, there’s no doubt he has shared it on Facebook and with his reach those dogs most always find there way home…Did I mention he has 7 rescues himself!

Jay not only hammers away at adolescent turmoil in Mid Michigan, he helps everyone he meets hammer away at life!  His quote is one that I have heard since my days in high school; it’s simple, but says it all “No Excuses.  Period.”


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