2012 Outstanding Citizenship Awards

April 16, 2013



Congratulations to our three recipients of the 2012 Outstanding Citizenship Award – Bob Scolnik, Bonnie Witt, and Pastor Samuel Greer!

Bonnie Witt served as a special education teacher most of her life, is a current member of the Women’s Division of the Chamber of Commerce, and has been the Beachwood-Bluffton Neighborhood Association President or Co-President for more than thirty years. Her passion and love for the community shows through the many activities/initiatives she has spearheaded in the neighborhood.

Bonnie has organized many teen dances, coordinated fundraisers to place a basketball court at the park, oversees the Winterfest at Beachwood Park, and created “Go Garbage Go” a neighborhood wide clean-up day. She also produces a neighborhood newsletter, coordinates the door-to-door delivery of the newsletter, and organizes the annual neighborhood picnic.

When the City eliminated recycling, Bonnie took it upon herself to lead a drive in the neighborhood to get residents of the neighborhood to sign for a self-paid subscription service and she continues to push recycling efforts throughout the neighborhood. This list represents only a small portion of what Bonnie has done for the Beachwood/Bluffton Neighborhood over the years and her dedication to the neighborhood and City are to be commended.

Pastor Samuel Greer has served as Pastor of the Queen Esther Baptist Church for the past 23 years as well as serving as President of the General Baptist State Convention of Michigan (consisting of 21 churches), and Dean of Students and Faculty member for the Muskegon Christian School System.

Pastor Greer is the Chair of the Social Justice Commission of Muskegon County that was formed in 2011. The Commission includes clergy, law enforcement, Prosecutor’s Office as well as the school systems and it was created to address the safety and health of our community with a special focus on our young people.

Under his leadership, the Commission has organized a gun buy back program as well as operation “Safe Days Quiet Nights” a program addressing truancy and curfew issues. The Commission created the “Good Buddy Bucks Program”. JAAR Partnerships (McDonald’s) partnered with the Commission to provide certificates for free apple dippers or ice cream. Certificates were provided to police officers to issue to youth who were found displaying good character. It provided the opportunity for positive mentoring contact between youth and police officers. In its first season approximately 2,000 certificates were issued.

Pastor Greer remains as enthusiastic today as he was when the Commission was first instituted. He is a caring individual who has a sincere desire to see a better, safer future for the entire Greater Muskegon Area.

Bob Scolnik is a County Commissioner, has served as Chairman and a major financial contributor of Visiting Nurses, lead donor for the Scolnik House of the Depression Era, past Campaign Chair for the new United Way Human Services Center on Clay Avenue, and serves on many other boards too numerous to list. He’s produced several fundraising concerts at the Frauenthal for various local non-profit organizations raising over $100,000 for United Way, the Red Cross, and the Child Abuse Council.

In 2012 Bob learned that the community would be without fireworks on the Fourth of July. He started a social media campaign to preserve the July 4th fireworks by rallying the community to raise the needed funding to arrange a spectacular show in less than six weeks time. His efforts did not go unnoticed as the Community Foundation offered a match up to $10,000. Bob also sought and received the assistance of other organizations such as the Fruitport and Muskegon Lions Club and the Muskegon Rotary.

Bob was driven to offer Muskegon a safe and spectacular fireworks display and he did not disappoint. He is a persistent individual who takes negatives and turns them into positives. He believes in Muskegon and the people of Muskegon.