Iosco County Community Foundation President Tony Johnson is pictured above giving the 2018 award to Nancy Huck of Hale.

EAST TAWAS – Surrounded by friends and fellow community leaders, Nancy Huck was awarded the 2018 Iosco County Philanthropist of the Year award by the Iosco County Community Foundation on Wednesday, May 23. 

Graciously hosted by the Tawas Bay Beach Resort, East Tawas, the award banquet was a luncheon uplifted by the bubbling atmosphere of hard workers taking an afternoon to recognize and support one of their own.

The sitting president of the foundation, Tony Johnson, was the one to introduce Huck, and some of the first words he had to describe her were, “A force in our community,” a sentiment many recognized with agreeable laughter. 

Huck is being recognized primarily for her work on the Iosco County Exploration Trail, a bike path under construction that will be completed by the end of 2019. The trail runs along the Mill Street Bridge in Oscoda, and when finished will extend along River Road toward the school and all the way to Old Orchard Park. Ultimately, the trail will be a way for locals and travelers alike to experience the area’s natural beauty. 

The foundation was at first worried that it wouldn’t be able to raise the funds for the trail, but they knew Huck would be an invaluable asset. Johnson said about her, “When she wants something done, she gets it done.”

Huck herself was incredulous about her ability to be involved, especially since she was out of state for an extended period when she first received the call. But when she stepped up to the podium to receive the award and speak to those gathered, both her iron and giving spirit were clear. 

“Iosco County is a giving community,” she said firmly. “Every single person in this room gives and continues to give.” 

Huck used the bulk of her speaking time to individually thank all those who had assisted her with the project and gave generously to make it a reality, but she made a special point to acknowledge her husband, Tom Huck. 

“He is my bedrock,” she said as he stood before the room.

The Philanthropist of the Year award itself is always in the shape of a tree, the symbol of philanthropy, but each year the form changes. This year, to honor Huck’s work, the award was a sculpture of a tree crafted from various bike parts made by local artist Alan Dalton of Tawas. Huck also received another personal gift in the form a sculpture of a bike made by artist Aaron Weed of Tawas.

When asked what inspired Huck to involve herself in philanthropy, she responded “I’m from here, my grandfather was from here, it’s my home… If you love home, make home better.” 

Her final comments on advice for those looking to involve themselves with philanthropy or their community were two pieces of practical wisdom: “Think how you want to give and network,” and, “Find your passion in your community and work on it with others.”