MARQUETTE - It came as quite the surprise to Christine Myers, chief executive officer of Teaching Family Homes of the Upper Peninsula, when she realized she was the 2012 Evergreen Award recipient.
"It's amazing," Myers said after receiving the award Monday. "I know so many wonderful nominees, and I'm used to being behind the scenes."
The award is given away annually to a person based on three criteria: assisting or mentoring women and girls in reaching their leadership potential, demonstrating excellence in their business or volunteerism and providing exceptional service to the community.
Evergreen Award winner Chris Myers, left, speaks, while Evergreen Steering Committee Chairwoman Pam Stewart looks on. (Journal photo by Jackie Stark)
According to Marquette-Alger Regional Educational Services Agency Superintendent Steve Peffers - a member of the selection committee that was handed the task of sifting through the nominees and choosing one winner - Myers embodies all three of those qualities.
Peffers said Myers has worked her entire life for the betterment of women and young girls and was a deserving recipient of the Evergreen Award.
"Chris has been a candidate in the past," Peffers said. "Her work at Teaching Family Homes, which helps children from all over the area and the state, is important to us in Marquette, especially young girls at Teaching Family Homes."
The award is always a surprise to the recipient, whose name is kept secret until announced at the annual luncheon.
Pam Stewart, chairwoman of the steering committee, offered the record crowd inside Northern Michigan University's Great Lakes Rooms a highlight tour of Myers' background.
Myers said she knew she was the 2012 award winner as soon as Stewart began describing her.
"Right at the beginning, when she said the name of my hometown, it hit me right away," Myers said. "This year, I haven't been as involved in this because I've been so busy ... It's an honor (to win)."
A graduate student at NMU, Jenny Sides was the 2012 Evergreen scholarship recipient, which is awarded to an exceptional nontraditional student in the area.
Jackie Stark can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 242.