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EPA recognizes two Detroit residents with President's Volunteer Service Award

Release Date: 05/05/2008
Contact Information: Pam Grant, 202-564-5777, Mick Hans, 312-353-5050,

No. 08-OPA082

(Detroit, Mich. - May 5, 2008) Two Detroit citizens were honored with the President's Volunteer Service Award on Monday, May 5, at the 2008 National Brownfields Conference at the Cobo Center in Detroit. The awards were presented by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Assistant Administrator Susan P. Bodine, who praised the recipients for answering the call to volunteer service and pollution prevention. Both citizens are active with Focus: HOPE, a Detroit community service organization.

Mary Simpson, a retired city of Detroit employee who holds a Master of Social Work degree from Wayne State University, has long been involved in neighborhood cleanup, revitalization and community development efforts. To address dumping in the neighborhood, she led a campaign for a small park with benches and landscaping. She organizes residents for the Motor City Makeover targeting eyesores and is involved in recycling drives as well as greening and beautification efforts.

Harold Ellis is a retired Detroit Public Schools teacher and administrator who became a founding member of a revitalization effort to build a playscape and basketball court at the Ford-LaSalle Playground. He is vice president of the Village of Oakman Manor, a new senior residence in a neighborhood that has seen little recent development. He has also led tours for Metropolitan Detroit Pond and Garden Club.

Simpson and Ellis are active members of the Oakman Boulevard Community Association.

"Today we honor Mary Simpson and Harold Ellis for answering the call to serve a cause greater than themselves," said EPA Administrator Stephen L. Johnson. "Dedicated volunteers like Ms. Simpson and Mr. Ellis are inspiring others to join them in delivering America a brighter, healthier future."

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