We are so pleased to announce Camille Bodziak as our Volunteer of the Year for 2017! Camille not only delivers a route every Friday with her husband, but she also volunteers her time twice a week helping out our office staff with odd jobs, organizational tasks, and special projects. Camille and her husband, Mike, have been delivering route 35 for just over a year now, and shortly after beginning to deliver meals with us, Camille felt that she wanted to get more involved with our organization and thus began to volunteer in the office.

The entire office staff can agree that Camille has been a wonderful asset to our team. Riana Pearce, In-Home Services Manager expressed that “Camille has helped support our mission significantly. Not only has she been a dedicated delivery driver, one of the most important roles one can hold here, but her assistance in the office has allowed for a more organized and up-to-date work setting. She is a huge asset to myself, the other staff, and our clients!”

Before settling in Grand Rapids, Camille and her family have lived in several different parts of the world. Camille was born and raised in a small town near Buffalo, NY called Lackawanna, where she met and married her husband, Mike. As Mike was in the Air Force, he was sent to Vietnam for a time and after he returned from service, the couple was sent to England to reside for three years, where they traveled around the country as much as they could and became friends with their British neighbors. They then were stationed in Omaha, Nebraska for the next 18 years, where they raised their three boys.  Then, the next and final stop was Grand Rapids, where Camille and Mike have lived for over 22 years and where their family has expanded with five wonderful grandkids.

Before retiring, Camille worked for MSU Medical School for 20 years, where she would help students with enrollment, scheduling, credit counts, international electives, and generally guiding them to find their paths at the university. There, Camille got to build relationships with these students and watch them grow and succeed, which she describes as one of the very best feelings one can experience.

While both still working, Camille and Mike had the desire to get more involved in the community and give back so they began delivering meals at Sunset Retirement Home once a month and have been volunteering there for over 16 years now. After retirement, they decided they had more time to give and found Meals on Wheels as their next destination to help. This wasn’t their first interaction with the organization, however. In Omaha, Camille wanted her children to interact with the senior population more and sought out the local Meals on Wheels Program. The family delivered meals together in between the kids’ sports seasons for a few months. Camille is amazed at how much that experience stuck with her family, so much so that her children still talk about it to this day, and remember some of the clients they delivered to by name and often re-tell stories they learned from them.

Camille herself was drawn to this community because she has a soft spot for seniors, as she was very close to her grandmother. She also empathizes with these seniors and feels bad that people don’t have enough food and can’t get out to get more.  She relates some of the clients that she sees to her mother, whom she says she could’ve have benefitted from a program like Meals on Wheels. As far as her thoughts on volunteering, Camille is very humble. She says, “as long as I am able to do something to help people, why not?” She describes the clients she sees on her delivery route and talks about how she enjoys finding more out about people and getting to know them and says, “the more you learn about people, the more you begin to identify with certain parts of them and build that human connection. Knowing you helped someone along the line that needed assistance just makes you feel good.”

We are so grateful for Camille and her hours spent giving to our organization, her passion and commitment to our mission and her dedication to our overall program. Camille is a wonderful example of why volunteerism is important to organizations like ours, as well as to one’s own happiness. Thank you, Camille!