April 13, 2016

Morning Sun

Heidi Barnaby’s sister has been her hairdresser for years.

That didn’t end when her sister moved to Key West; Barnaby just traveled to Florida to get he hair cut and styled.

For the next year, Barnaby won’t have to travel that far, after being named the CFX Graff Mt. Pleasant Woman of the Year Thursday night at the annual “Salute to Working Women” the Comfort Inn Conference Center in Mt. Pleasant.

Barnaby, a teacher at Luce Road Elementary School in Alma, won an assortment of prizes, including free salon services for a year from Salon 7, a globe from JNR Engraving, a sash and $500 from Graff Mt. Pleasant.

When Barnaby heard her name announced at the event Wednesday, she was stunned.

“Everybody in there deserves it,” Barnaby said of the crowd of women attending the event and the other women nominated for the award.

Barnaby stood out because of her dedication to her students and family, according to the friends and relatives who nominated her for the award.

Barnaby works tirelessly with all of her students, some of whom are very young with behavioral issues, her family and friends said.

All of Barnaby’s students need all the love and education she has to give.

Barnaby’s co-workers said she gives her students everything she has and does it all with love in her heart and a smile on her face.

When school is out, Barnaby goes home and gives “110 percent” to her family and friends, they said.

“She embodies the highest standards of teaching as she individualizes learning for each child, implementing carefully devised lessons with enthusiasm and obvious care, concern and love for her young students,” her nominators said.

Barnaby was one of five finalists for the award, given annually to a mid-Michigan woman who goes above and beyond in her career and for others.

Other finalists were Elissa Richmond-Gagne, director of operations at the Central Michigan University Research Corp.; Melissa Ryckman of American Mitsuba; Dalis Hitchcock of D-Tails and Meri Degroft of Mercantile Bank.

All of the runners up receive a $50 gift card from Level 7 Salon.

Richmond-Gagne has been instrumental in implementing the CMURC programs and services, and believes in working hard and playing harder.

Ryckman is an amazing mother, sister and friend who works more than 80 hours a week and still takes care of eight children while working midnights, according to friends and family.

Hitchcock is a hard-working, generous woman and the owner of D-Tails Pet Grooming in St. Louis who has and continues to rescue many animals, friends and family said.

Degroft is optimistic and positive, holding her head high even after getting news that she will face health issues in her life and recently returning to work despite some everyday tasks being a struggle, according to friends and relatives who nominated her for the award.

During the event, women and men alike mingled, visiting booths showcasing area businesses and tasting free food provided by BW3, Newcombe’s Family Restaurant, Max & Emily’s and the Fireside Grille.

There were various door prizes and other giveaways as well.

Wednesday’s event also kicked off the CFX and United Way of Isabella County Knock Out Hunger campaign, with donations being accepted for local food charities.