HWPI Volunteer Spotlight History
HWPI Volunteer Spotlight: Peter and Patti Feeney
HWPI is very pleased to introduce two amazing volunteers, Peter and Patti Feeney. This couple has made immeasurable contributions to HWPI and the B2B over the last few years. Their interest in building local trails began while biking in Colorado. They were impressed by the fabulous trails and paths around the country and wanted to bring them to Washtenaw County. While out on a western trail, Patti suggested, ‘Somebody should build trails like this in Michigan.’ That somebody soon included both Peter and Patti when they joined the effort led by Jeff Hardcastle, Tim Eder and a team of others who began exploring how to bring trails to Chelsea.
While they are quick to downplay their efforts, both have made a huge impact. Peter has played a critical role in fundraising, serves on HWPI’s Board of Directors and has been instrumental in engaging other leaders in our work. Patti recently became immersed the development of an Interpretative Master Plan (IMP) for the B2B. She has lent her creative perspective to develop interpretive opportunities and design features across the B2B. All of these activities, combined with sponsorship of the trail, has advanced the trail project.
According to Peter:
“This is already a fantastic area to live and raise a family. The B2B will raise the areas visibility and really help attract young families to a community with great schools, arts and recreation. Two of the largest state recreation areas are right on our doorstep. They have been our playground for years and we can now access them by the B2B. What a great place to live!”
Community support is in the Feeneys’ DNA. In addition to volunteering with HWPI, they provide leadership to several community organizations and manage a local insurance provider, Chelsea Rhone. Thank you, Peter and Patti, for bringing your time and talent to HWPI. You are truly helping bring active, healthy lifestyles to our community!
HWPI Volunteer Spotlight: Tim Eder
HWPI is pleased to introduce another remarkable volunteer, Tim Eder. Tim’s community leadership is longstanding. He recently played a primary role in the effort to “deny the mine” in Lyndon Township, through the Friends of Chelsea and Lyndon Township group. After helping successfully stop the development of the gravel mine, Tim and The Friends group chose to use their energy and enthusiasm for other constructive community efforts. The group saw the beautiful B2B segment in Dexter and were inspired to take on bringing recreational trails to Chelsea as their next mission.
The HWPI board then formed in late 2014, with Tim as a founding member. He currently serves as the Vice Chair. His contributions to the organization and the B2B success have been many, including providing leadership on the Executive Committee of the Board and assisting with fundraising. His wealth of nonprofit experience is an asset to HWPI, as we grow as an organization and partner with governmental agencies.
Tim has spent most of his professional career focused on the preservation and conservation of the Great Lakes. He currently works at the Mott Foundation, managing a grantmaking portfolio that addresses freshwater challenges. When not working or volunteering, Tim enjoys spending free time with family and friends at his favorite places on the lakes: A Lake Michigan beach in Sturgeon Bay during the summer; and the storm-tossed coast of Lake Superior, north of Marquette, during the winter.
Tim is married and has two children. He is quick to acknowledge the support of his family, and identifies his children a key reason for his commitment to the environment and the quality of life in our region. When asked why he devotes his time to HWPI, Tim responded, “I believe in service and being a part of the HWPI Board is one way that I can help shape our community. Completing the B2B will be transformative and I am thrilled to be a part of that effort.” Thank you Tim, for your years of service to HWPI and the B2B! Your involvement has truly made an impact.
HWPI Volunteer Spotlight: Melissa Sundermann
HWPI would like to introduce another amazing volunteer, Melissa Sundermann. As longtime a friend and training partner of Karen McKeachie and Lew Kidder, Melissa jumped into action upon Karen’s passing in 2016. When Lew announced that Karen’s Legacy project would be creating safe non-motorized trails, she was immediately on board with doing anything and everything to tell Karen’s story and help build Karen’s Trail.
Melissa is very active with HWPI, serving as a Board Member, a committee member for our Donor Appreciation Reception, and volunteers at several events throughout the year. On any given day, you can find her wearing a Karen’s Trail bracelet or hairband, and telling Karen’s story.
When Melissa is not working in her medical practice or volunteering for HWPI, she enjoys spending time outdoors with her family – running, biking, skiing, hiking and camping in yurts! When not participating in sports, you can find her watching her kids play soccer and dive off 10m platforms. Melissa considers herself a true blue Wolverine, despite having medical degree from MSU.
When asked why she volunteers with HWPI, Melissa said, “Each day I think of Karen and miss her in my life. Her death hit home regarding the need for safe pathways for bikers, runners and walkers. I know Karen would be so proud of this trail and the community that has come together around her legacy project.” Thank you Melissa for your extreme dedication to building the B2B. You contribution is truly making a difference in our community!
HWPI Volunteer Spotlight: Chris Wolfe
HWPI would like to introduce another incredible volunteer, Chris Wolf. Chris first became involved with HWPI when Karen McKeachie, Chris’ sister-in-law by marriage, was tragically killed on a training ride two years ago. Chris and his brother-in-law, Lew Kidder, started thinking about some way to create a worthwhile tribute to Karen that would benefit future generations. While Chris’ involvement with HWPI began as a tribute to Karen, it has turned into a real passion for him. He has been instrumental in helping HWPI develop relationships in the community and with donors. His unique talent in working behind the scenes to share and garner support for our vision to develop the B2B has been invaluable. In addition to this great contribution, Chis has helped lead the planning for our donor appreciation event and has served as the highly engaging emcee at this event for the past two years.
When not volunteering for HWPI, the retired corporate lawyer spends the winters enjoying his five-year-old granddaughter in Austin, Texas. Chris enjoys being outside, hiking, biking, swimming, and running in the warmer months and skiing in the winter. He and his wife, Linda Kidder, enjoy travel, especially travel that has physical activity required. They went on a six-week adventure travel trip in New Zealand and a two-week cycling trip in the San Juan Islands earlier this year. They have also enjoyed many bicycle adventures in Spain, France, and Italy over the years.
Chris believes that the trail will become one of the most appreciated amenities in Washtenaw County for residents and visitors. When the Border-to-Border Trail is completed, it will be because visionary people like Chris Wolfe were willing to pitch in. It really does take a village to build a trail. Thank you Chris!
HWPI Volunteer Spotlight: Kathryn Beauchamp
HWPI was very fortunate to have a fabulous volunteer intern this summer, Kathryn Beauchamp. Kathryn is currently an Environmental Studies and Sustainability major at Michigan State University, and a Chelsea native. She is an avid runner and hiker, with a passion for trails.
Over the summer, Kathryn assisted in the HWPI office with everything from social media outreach to research to general office support. She was most helpful working at community events, including the Tri Goddess Tri and the Oberun. Kathryn’s willingness to jump in and try something new, her positive attitude, and her work ethic were great assets to the HWPI team during our busiest season.
When asked what motivated her to volunteer with HWPI, Kathryn said, “I love working on a project that is so beneficial to our community. It’s really rewarding to see the great progress on the B2B. I feel fortunate to have worked with HWPI and learned from so many amazing people. I can’t wait to start using the trail!”
Thanks to Kathryn for her great contribution to HWPI!
HWPI Volunteer Spotlight: Rob Mahan
As one of the original founders of HWPI, Rob helped kick off the very first meeting of the group in November of 2014, at Aberdeen Bike and Outdoors, and he has not stopped supporting our efforts to build the trail since!
In HWPI’s early days Rob wore many different hats as a volunteer, to say the least. He served as HWPI’s Supporters Coordinator along with his wife Linda, who coordinated public events. Rob also acted as merchandise manager, website developer, social media guru, and newsletter publisher. As the scope of HWPI’s mission has grown, Rob is now focusing on providing technology support for HWPI, including website management, newsletter publishing, email and file management, and perhaps most importantly for the HWPI staff, key troubleshooter and problem solver for the organization’s IT challenges. Rob’s behind-the-scenes role is critical to HWPI’s success, and to our ability to support trail construction.
When asked about his motivation behind his volunteer efforts, Rob said, “A robust network of non-motorized trails will provide county residents of all ages with safe opportunities to be healthy, active, and connected with one another. Accessible trails have a positive impact on property values. Businesses in communities connected by trails will see enhanced revenues. Once completed, The Loop, forty-four miles of contiguous trail through Washtenaw and neighboring counties, will attract events and participants from near and far. I am excited to play a small part in providing safe trails that will be enjoyed by neighbors and visitors now, and for generations to come.”
Regarding his role a dedicated volunteer, Rob shared, “Volunteering with HWPI has afforded me the wonderful opportunity to work with and get to know many passionate and talented people. I’m looking forward to sharing the completed Border-to-Border Trail with each and every one of them, and soon!”
Thanks to Rob for his incredible dedication to HWPI for many years. He is truly changing the landscape of our community!
HWPI Volunteer Spotlight: Susie Paisley
Susie Paisley, a friend of Karen McKeachie, wants to do whatever she can to help complete the B2B and honor Karen’s legacy. Susie is an avid runner, all-around athlete, compassionate soul, and a whiz with spreadsheets and numbers. She has turned her CFO skills and a roll-up-your-sleeves attitude toward supporting HWPI and the B2B by serving on the HWPI Executive Committee as Treasurer. She is also a regular volunteer at HWPI events.
When talking with Susie about why she loves to be involved with HWPI, she shared multiple times that people involved in the project have energized her and made her so proud to be a part of the mission. THANK YOU, Susie, and all of our volunteers and supporters, who generously give their time, passion, expertise, and money so that our communities will have this amazing resource for years to come.
Stay tuned for future Volunteer Spotlights. There are many talented people involved in this project!