MARQUETTE - A Marquette County official who received national recognition this fall accepted his award in Lansing this week.
Marquette County Probate Court Judge Michael Anderegg was one of just 113 people in the country to receive the Angels in Adoption award this year.
The award, given out since 1999, is intended to honor people who have done exceptional work as adoption champions and who have made a lasting impact on the lives of children.
"It's very exciting," Anderegg said. "I feel very humbled by it because there are lots of people who are deserving and work hard to make sure adoptions are accomplished."
Anderegg, who opted to not run for re-election this fall and will conclude his term on Dec. 31, has served as probate court judge in the county since 1977.
He has served as president of the Michigan Probate Judge's Association and the Upper Peninsula Probate Judges Association and in 2004 received the President's Award for Meritorious Service to the National Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges.
He has worked as an adoption advocate on both a national and local level.
Anderegg was notified in late August that he had received the honor from U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Detroit. All representatives in U.S. Congress have the ability to designate an annual recipient for the award, which is sponsored by the nonpartisan Congressional Coalition on Adoption Institute.
Anderegg, who accepted the award Tuesday in Lansing, said he told those present that he was only a small piece of the puzzle.
"The real angels are the people out there who are adopting children," he said. "The rest of us are just doing what we can."
The award was presented by an aide to Sen. Levin. Anderegg, who was unable to attend the main Angels in Adoption event in Washington, D.C. this September, was one of two judges in Lansing Tuesday to help honor Michigan Adoption Day. Both he and Saginaw County Probate Judge Faye Harrison completed adoptions in the Michigan Hall of Justice.
"It's a consciousness raising effort," Anderegg said of the Adoption Day ceremonies. "I think this is a recognition that adoptions are important, adoptions give permanent families to children who need them and adoptions happen in a variety of circumstances."
Both judges were asked to travel to Lansing to conduct a public adoption finalization from their home counties.
Anderegg identified a local family willing to take part in the public ceremony. The Michigan Supreme Court paid travel expenses.
In addition to the public adoption finalizations that Anderegg and Harrison oversaw in Lansing, 33 counties around the state honored Adoption Day in some way.
Kyle Whitney can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 250.