Local resident named Dowagiac Elks Lodge Citizen of The Year

DOWAGIAC — Janie Reinfenberg has been giving back to the city of Dowagiac for years.

Her actions did not go unnoticed, as the Dowagiac Elks Lodge recently named her its 2019-20 Citizen of the Year.

The award is presented annually to the person the Lodge believes has contributed greatly to the quality of life both in the lodge and in the community.

“Janie is a caring, charismatic individual,” said Elks Inner Guard Susie Gendron. “She gives back to the community on a daily basis and is involved with many organizations. She has a generous spirit and embodies what the award is all about.”

Reinfenberg is the Community Assistant Vice President at Honor Credit Union, 56337 M-51 S., Dowagiac. The position allows Reinfenberg to engage communities and to find ways to make a positive impact in Dowagiac, Decatur, Cassopolis and Edwardsburg.

“I think this role allows me to be readily available in the first steps for all of our members and our businesses in the community. I really see myself as an ambassador for [HCU] serving our community so I serve the greater Cass County area. My values and everything aligned perfectly with Honor Credit Union’s culture, and so I feel like if it weren’t for Honor Credit Union, I wouldn’t have received the award because I would not have been able to do what I’m doing.”

“Honor Credit Union does a lot,” Gendron said. “They’re very kind and are a great bunch of individuals that have a great giving spirit.”

The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic has impacted all walks of life recently. Reinfenberg and HCU have worked with citizens and businesses to offer financial advice and options during these uncertain times.

“Most recently, one of my roles as community assistant vice president was to work with our businesses in the area and those are members and non-members alike that were hugely impacted by the pandemic,” she said. “With our paycheck protection program loans, we were really able to help a tremendous number of businesses during that during a very difficult time. They were able to get some money into their pockets so that they could keep their businesses open.”

In addition to her work at HCU, Reinfenberg has volunteered with several local organizations in recent years, including the Elks Lodge and Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac.

“I helped with Elks’ Guys and Gals Golf Outing,” she said. “I felt like I could do a couple of things for them and drop off some Honor swag and some gift cards to make it fun for those who were able to participate in the outing. I really try to support anything they’re involved in. I’m involved with the Young Professionals of Greater Dowagiac. I supported them with their fireworks show and the Daddy-Daughter Dance. I also support Feed the Hungry and the Dowagiac Lions Club.”

Reinfenberg and HCU do much for Dowagiac Union Schools, including helping with the Dowagiac Scholarship Pageant and working with the athletic boosters and the drama department, she said.

Love for both her job and her community keeps Reinfenberg energized.

“I do this because I love it,” she said. “I do this because [Honor Credit Union] encourages me to do it and gives me the tools to do it. We created this position so that we can be involved in our communities and our schools. It just makes my heart happy because my passion is people.”

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