This week we continue our series of blog posts highlighting the awards recipients for the 2014 Hometown Heroes Celebration hosted by the American Red Cross of West Michigan. Each year the American Red Cross celebrates the community heroes who inspire us through their commitment to service and their recognition of the humanity of their neighbors down the street, across the country, and around the world. The event will be held on Thursday, May 1 from 6:00PM-10:00PM at DeVos Place in Grand Rapids. For ticket information please visit our Hometown Heroes event page.
Story by Gwen Vryhof Bultema
6 Things You Should Know About Shelly Loose, Miss Wheelchair Michigan
At this year’s Hometown Heroes Celebration, the American Red Cross of West Michigan will honor Shelly Loose, president of Miss Wheelchair America, with the Mabel Boardman Spirit of Volunteerism Award for her outstanding volunteer efforts. Below are 6 things you should know about Shelly, before she accepts her award on Thursday, May 1:
1) She is a musician and a teacher. Shelly has always been passionate about music and its ability to move and inspire people. Shelly pursued her undergraduate degree in music education and her Masters in the Art of Teaching at Aquinas College.
2) She is an advocate. Shelly lost her ability to walk following a car accident. She was crowned Miss Wheelchair Michigan in 2007 and spent the next year speaking to young children about disabilities, in an effort to break barriers that so often limit individuals with varying abilities.
3) She is a volunteer. Shelly is currently the president of Miss Wheelchair America. She spends much of her time encouraging women with disabilities – from across the nation – to be assertive, to think big, and to pursue their dreams.
4) She is a wife. Shelly met her husband, Ken, at Mary Free Bed, when they were both rehabilitation patients. They were married on the Regis and Kathie Lee show and sent to the Cayman Islands for their honeymoon. Shelly and Ken are both in wheelchairs, but have learned to take care of one another in a remarkable way.
5) She is a mother. Shelly and Ken have a combined three children: Angela, Benjamin, and Katherine. Katherine is the youngest and, like her mother, spends a lot of time her time volunteering (must be in the genes). Katherine is passionate about theater and can often be found at the Civic Theater in Grand Rapids.
6) She is a woman of faith. Shelly is a member of Frontline Bible Church in Byron Center. Her faith is central to who she is and how she spends her time. She has always known that God would use her to make a difference.
Learn more about Shelly and her work on May 1 at our Hometown Heroes Celebration!