Jane Hayes has made a career—a life—out of helping others, and her work will be honored on Monday, March 17th, when Hayes will receive the 2014 Sara Hardy Humanitarian Award.

Hayes was chosen as this year’s winner by the Traverse City Human Rights Commission.  The award will be presented by Traverse City Mayor Michael Estes at the Traverse City Governmental Center, located at 400 Boardman Avenue.  The evening begins with a reception at 6 pm in the Government Center’s second floor training room; at 7 pm, Hayes will accept the award from Mayor Estes in the Commission Chambers, located on the 2nd floor of the Governmental Center.

Hayes and her work experience epitomize the qualities sought by the Traverse City Human Right Commission in choosing the Humanitarian Award recipient.  The selection process began with nominations submitted by the public.  “Jane received many wonderful nominations, and everyone who wrote a letter made it quite clear that she had impacted their life in such a positive manner,” says TC Human Rights Commission chairwoman Theresa Gardner.  “Clearly Jane was the choice for us.”

Now retired, Hayes was an educator at Grand Valley State University, where she taught at the School of Social Work.  She continues to serve on the boards of many social outreach organizations in Northern Michigan.

The award is named in honor of Sara Hardy, a long time resident who gave birth to the concept of a Human Rights organization in her community. Her conduct and professionalism exemplifies the philosophies and ideals of the Human Rights Commission to promote mutual understanding and respect among all people and to discourage discriminatory practices.

Recent recipients of the Humanitarian Award include Gertrude Morgan Springer, Jim Rowlett, Brian Simerson, Eugene Fox, Susan Odgers, Joe Lada, Helen Cook and Gladys Muñoz.

For more information, contact Theresa Gardner, Chair of the Human Rights Commission.

Photo(s) by Evan Perry