‘An inspiration to all’: Knauf honored with Governor’s Service Award

Dave Lein, Editor

Photo by Dave Lein

Ginna Holmes, a Bellaire native and executive director of the Michigan Community Service Agency, presents Karl Knauf with a Governor’s Service Award, as one of seven Senior Volunteers of the Year honored throughout the state this year.


BELLAIRE – In late July, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer and the Michigan Community Service Commission announced the 43 winners of the Governor's 2019 Service Awards. The winners were individuals, businesses and nonprofit organizations that were selected for their commitment to volunteerism, service or philanthropy.

Karl Knauf, of Bellaire, was selected as one of seven Senior Volunteers of the Year honored in Michigan. He was set, along with the others, to be officially recognized during a special ceremony on Sept. 5 at the Detroit Opera House.

However, Knauf, 84, couldn’t make it – so the award came to him on Monday, Oct. 28 via a special in-person delivery.

“Karl couldn’t make it on Sept. 5, so we decided to bring it to him,” said Ginna Holmes, executive director of the Michigan Community Service Agency. “And I, personally, wanted to make the presentation.”


 Holmes knows the route from Lansing to Bellaire very well. She grew up in town and graduated from Bellaire High School.

“I wouldn’t pass up this chance to honor Karl and visit my hometown,” Holmes said, who joined Karl’s nominator Ashley Redinger (volunteer program coordinator at Catholic Human Services), and a host of well-wishers Monday at Meadow Brook Medical Care Facility in Bellaire.

In her presentation of the award, along with a special proclamation from the State of Michigan and certificate of special recognition from U.S. Congressman Jack Bergman, Holmes reiterated the comments made in an original release from Whitmer’s office announcing this year’s winners.

According to that statement, the following was written about Knauf:

“He has been on a mission to comfort senior citizens who suffer from isolation and seclusion. At the age of 84, he is a Senior Corps volunteer and spends 20 hours a week visiting lonely seniors in nursing care facilities within the Bellaire area.

“Karl makes every moment with those he visits memorable. He brings various board games to play when making his visits and typically gets people involved with activities outside of the assisted living center to keep them up to date with the community.

“The most inspiring thing about Karl is his ability to treat others without discernment. Whether it’s someone who has a disability or battling a disease such as Alzheimer’s, he makes it a priority to connect with them. Karl is a positive person who likes to be involved and has proven to be an asset to many organizations. People in the community are very appreciative of his efforts and how he continues to give to so many people,” the statement concluded.

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