Kettering employees volunteerism spans community needs

May 10, 2002

Kettering employees are busy people, but not too busy to give a little of their time to make things better for someone else.

Kettering employees are busy people, but not too busy to give a little of their time to make things better for someone else. We would like to recognize the service efforts of Kettering employees with regular feature stories. To start the ball rolling we have identified three employees whose combined service efforts include everything from school kids to individual entrepreneurial endeavors. 

Edith Withey, associate dean of Student Affairs and director of the Women's Resource Center at Kettering
Edith Withey believes the best way to make things happen is to be a positive force for change. To that end, she has been a volunteer for the United Way, The United Negro College Fund (UNCF), at her church, through the Master Gardener's Program, and as a mentor for young women entrepreneurs. "Doing by example is important," she said. As a six-year member of the United Way Board of Directors, she has served on the executive committee, the advisory committee for the "Bridges to the Future" after school program, and is currently involved in the search committee for a new executive director. For ten years Edith was in charge of special events for the UNCF, and she currently serves as special events coordinator for her church, Kingdom of Heaven Ministries, in Flint. She is also involved in the church's renovation of an old building for classrooms and services. Her love of gardening is channeled into helping decorate Whaley Historical House during the holidays and for special occasions, and she still manages to mentor young women entrepreneurs. 

Sue Blondin, assistant to the vice president of Administration and Finance
Sue Blondin has found Kettering a great place to volunteer and help a lot of different people. Coordinator of the Children's Holiday Party on campus since 1996, she is also involved in other "Kettering community" events such as the Halloween party, the Christmas Crew that helps Plant Maintenance put up holiday decorations, Kettering Scholarship weekends, Discover Kettering, Commencement and SOC weekends. "When there is an event on campus I check to see if somebody needs help,"she said. She also helps out when outside groups hold events at Kettering. Sue has volunteered for the annual Very Special Arts Michigan kids art day on campus as well Red Cross blood drives. When she's not wearing a volunteer hat on campus she helps out with her sons' schools and is volunteer webmaster for three needlework organizations: the Creative Stitchers chapter of the Embroiderers' Guild of America, Inc; the Needlework Guild of Michigan chapter of the American Needlework Guild; and the American Needlepoint Guild. Her crowning volunteer moment is getting Ernie Wheaton to wear an elf costume opposite Dr. John's Santa for the Children's Holiday Party. 

Dr. William Webster, professor and associate department head of Mechanical Engineering
Bill Webster is a man with a mission. "I prefer to pick one thing and really get involved in it," he said, "something I believe in and will put a lot of time and effort into." He has done just that through his volunteer work for his church, Calvary Christian in Swartz Creek. A volunteer since 1973, Bill has been and elder (six years), a deacon, taught Sunday school, helped start a church in Fenton, helps set up for events and with property maintenance. He is currently serving as a deacon. Deviating from church activities slightly while his sons were growing up, Bill helped out with Cub Scouts and Little League, and he continues to be a regular blood donor. "I'm O-negative so I'm pretty popular with the Red Cross," he said. He found working with children the most difficult. "They expect more from you," he said, "and maybe because I'm a college professor I'm more used to older people." Both sons are grown and married, one is a Kettering grad and the other works in a research facility in Taiwan.