89-Year-Old Pancreatic Cancer Survivor From Ludington Wins Award
Lyle Gunderson is an 89-year-old World War II and Korean War veteran. The Ludington resident has also survived pancreatic cancer despite being given only a 1-percent chance of survival.
On Monday, Gunderson was honored for unselfishly sharing his time as a Michigan Senior Volunteer of the Year.
38 winners of the 2018 Michigan Governor's Service Awards were announced by the Michigan Community Service Commission on May 1. The awards are given to individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations that commit to volunteering, service or philanthropy.
Lyle Gunderson grew up in a poor household raised by a single father. Lyle worked to support his family at a young age. Later, Lyle volunteered to serve in World War II and the Korean War.
When Lyle was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and given a 1-percent chance of survival, he said, “I’m not going to sit in a chair and die.” He beat those odds.
Today, Lyle isn't slowing down. He serves his community by mentoring youth, serving food to residents in a nursing home, volunteering at Habitat for Humanity of Mason County, and through many other ways.
Here's the full list of 2018 Governor's Service Awards winners:
- Gov. George Romney Lifetime Achievement Award: Lowell Spieth (Hillsdale)
- Lifetime Humanitarian Award: John and Cleo Leppien (Alma), Marsha J. Smith (Traverse City)
- Volunteer of the Year: Timothy Danielson (Ludington), Kenyetta Dotson (Flint), Connor Miller (Traverse City), Wendy Jo Morrison (Brighton)
- Senior Volunteer of the Year: Sarah “Sally” Fallon (Hillsdale), Lyle Gunderson (Ludington), Virginia Ellen Abbott-Maxwell (Benton Harbor),Doris McCutcheon (Auburn Hills), Mary C. Payne (Muskegon), Jan Thomas (Copemish), Sandra Bowden-Whelton (Williamston)
- Youth Volunteer of the Year: Allison Heath (Bloomfield Hills), Desiree Herrst (Bellaire), Ahmad Hider (Dearborn), Chintan Maheshwari(Farmington Hills), Katie Sesi (Ann Arbor), Katharine Shao (Northville), Christopher Wendt (Newberry)
- Mentor of the Year: Lee Ellen Kerr (Auburn Hills), John Noling (Muskegon), Khali Sweeney (Detroit), Charles Thomas (Sterling Heights)
- Outstanding Volunteer Program: Lake Superior Volunteer Corps (Marquette), Life Remodeled (Detroit), Team Rubicon Michigan(Statewide)
- Outstanding National Service Program: Advise MI at Michigan College Access Network (Lansing), RSVP at Valley Area Agency Aging(Flint), Rural Opportunity VISTA program at Community Economic Development Association of Michigan (Lansing)
- Corporate Community Leader: Dort Federal Credit Union (Grand Blanc), Lansing Board of Water & Light (Lansing), Sachse Construction(Detroit), teamGM Cares (Detroit)
- Education Service Leader: Jackson College (Jackson), Michigan State University (East Lansing), University of Michigan-Flint (Flint)
- Community Foundation Philanthropy Award: Charles “Charley” Janssen (Lansing), Carlene Walz Lefere (Jackson)