By Chris Faulknor, Publisher
You may know Bernadette (Bernie) Beyer as the quick-witted counselor or the smiling face at the Boyne City Kiwanis Turkey Trot.
She may have taught a class before your child was baptized at St. Matthew Church, and she may have given you communion one Sunday.
But, more than likely, you met Beyer through the Eddie Essay Contest through the Boyne Area Kiwanis Club which has donated thousands of dollars to local charities, all by way of essays written by local students.
However you may have crossed paths, Beyer will be departing Boyne City toward the Chicago area at the end of February to be closer with her family.
“It’s bittersweet, that’s for sure,” said Beyer.
Beyer, along with her late husband Ralph, learned to love Northern Michigan and built a second home here, finally moving full-time in 2002.
“It was then that I opened my counseling practice,” said Beyer.
The practice she refers to is “The Centre,” where she took on patients of all ages.
Less than a year later, Beyer found herself joining the Kiwanis Club which recently nominated her for the George F. Hixson Fellowship award, which she received earlier this month.
Named for the first president of Kiwanis International, it is among their highest awards.
“One of the women that was in the club invited me and I liked the group and decided it was a good fit,” said Beyer. “I was secretary for a while and I was treasurer and then, when I started the Eddie Essay program, I took on the chairperson role of that in 2006.”
The contest was named for Beyer’s brother Ed Hughes who was dying of a rare neurological illness.
“He just always gave of his time and talents and finances, and so I asked the club if I started it, and if I donated every year, if we could honor him since that’s the spirit of what Eddie Essay is all about,” said Beyer.
While Beyer may be leaving, the legacy of her and her family will live on through the contest and the thousands of hearts and minds of charities, children, and family members who have been involved.
“I am honored and grateful to have been a part of this giving community, and I will carry wonderful warm and loving memories with me,” said Beyer.