May 12, 2023
East Tawas, Mich. - The Iosco County Community Foundation (ICCF) has named Linda Hock, of Oscoda, as the 2023 Citizen of the Year. Axel Raybourn, 18, of Oscoda, was named 2023 Junior Citizen of the Year. The Citizen of the Year award was created by ICCF to honor an adult and youth in Iosco County who go above and beyond by giving of their time, talent and/or resources to help their community.
Linda Hock is the Board President for the Oscoda AuSable Senior Center where she has volunteered for 30 years. She has helped bring visibility and increase the ways seniors and the community can use the center, making it a place where people can gather to get a healthy meal, play cards, participate in exercise classes like cardio drumming and line dancing, have baby showers and Christmas parties, arrange for bus trips, and even have access to a food pantry for those in need. She also has been involved with Iosco County’s Quota International Club, food giveaways at the schools, the Hope Shores Alliance store in Oscoda, fundraising for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, as a member and supporter of Shoreline Players Theatre, an honorary “grandma” with the Girls Scouts, and is a member of Christian Women in Action. With all this community involvement, and selfless giving of her time, she has no plans to slow down.
Axel Raybourn was chosen as the 2023 Junior Citizen of the Year, receiving two nominations for this award. Axel is a 4.0 student at Oscoda High School and is dually enrolled in college classes at Alpena Community College where he tutors other students in his German language class. What really stood out to the ICCF Board about Axel is his drive to be involved in his community, and to help others. He serves as the student representative on the Oscoda School board and the Oscoda United Way board. He has also been active in the Oscoda United Methodist youth group, as well as the Oscoda High School Rotary Interact Club where he has contributed over 120 hours of community service and raising money to help end polio. In fact, when Axel was chosen for this award, ICCF staff were unable to reach him right away because he was in an extremely impoverished area of the Dominican Republic working on projects to improve sanitation there. Locally, Axel was interviewed by engineers from the University of Michigan speaking out on the dangers of PFAS chemicals in water. Axel is also an accomplished musician, being part of his school’s marching band and the Tawas Community Concert Band, and is a member of the National Honor Society, the Oscoda High School Robotics Team, and Rocket Club, and has participated in Oscoda’s Track and Swim teams.
“We are so honored to be able to recognize these two incredible individuals for the difference they are making for our community and in the lives of others,” says ICCF Board President Cliff Miller. “Linda is involved in so many activities, and she does it all from the goodness of her heart. Axel is an incredibly well-rounded young man who seems determined to use his talents to do good wherever he is. This is the first year we’ve honored a youth with an award like this, and Axel is well-deserving.”
Nominations for Citizen and Junior Citizen of the Year are submitted by members of the public. Hock and Raybourn were honored at a special event on May 11 at Tawas Bay Beach Resort surrounded by friends, family, and community members.
For more information about the Citizen of the Year program, visit iccf-online.org.
The Iosco County Community Foundation is a charitable organization committed to providing people who care about the future of our area with unique and effective ways of supporting their community now, and for generations to come. Led by a volunteer board of local citizens, the foundation oversees a group of permanently endowed funds from a wide range of donors. Gifts of all sizes from individuals, families, businesses, and agencies are invested in a balanced, well-managed portfolio to build endowments, enabling support for local community nonprofits now and forever. ICCF is an affiliate of the Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan.
<PHOTO: Linda Hock and Axel Raybourn are presented with their Citizen of the Year and Junior Citizen of the Year awards at a special evening event hosted by the Iosco County Community Foundation on May 11 at Tawas Bay Beach Resort. Pictured left to right are Timothy Haskin (ICCF board member), Evan St. Aubin (ICCF board member), Andrew Johnson (ICCF board member), Tony Ommani (ICCF board member), Citizen of the Year Linda Hock, Cliff Miller (ICCF board president), Junior Citizen of the Year Axel Raybourn, Malia Robb (ICCF board member), and Christine Hitch (Community Foundation for Northeast Michigan Affiliate Director).