Hutchison named Grange’s Community Citizen of the Year

Published 11:02 pm Tuesday, April 26, 2005

By By ERIN VER BERKMOES / Niles Daily Star
NILES - For the past 24 years during National Grange Month the organization in Sumnerville has honored two citizens for their outstanding efforts in the community and in education.
The local Grange which has members from Niles and Dowagiac is also celebrating its own 85th anniversary this year.
The recipients this year are Mickey Hutchison of Niles for the Community Citizen of the Year award and Bob Franz of Dowagiac for the Educator of the Year award.
Hutchison was quite surprised when Master of the Grange Kevin Young announced her award.
Hutchison explained her position as director of the Four Flags Plaza in Niles.
Hutchison has been the director of the Four Flags Plaza since it opened in 1983.
Receiving the award for Educator of the Year was Bob Franz who is the principal at Justus Gage Elementary School in Dowagiac. He has been in the education field for over 20 years, both as a teacher and administrator.
Franz was recognized for his achievements in education, with the most recent one being a mentoring program he helped to start at his building.
Franz added that many of the students at his building don't come from the best of homes. Their parents are often working to make ends meet and the children sometimes miss out on a caring relationship.
The mentors from the First Christian Church, come to the building and spend time with the students getting to know them and showing them that they can count on someone and have a solid relationship.
Franz added that the children who are now in their second year of participating in the mentor program have shown an improvement in their academics.