Greater Lansing Potters’ Guild honors frontline heroes

19 For 19 campaign gifts essential workers with pottery

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“Henry Hunsaker was with my husband for the last 17 months of his life. A more compassionate person would be hard to find,” Judy Labovitz wrote in a Facebook post about the local registered nurse. “He treated my husband with boundless kindness and understanding of the difficulties of advanced Alzheimer’s. He treated me the same.”

That is just one of many testimonials on the Greater Lansing Potters’ Guild Facebook page, which is hosting a campaign called 19 For 19 that will gift essential workers with pottery crafted by Potters’ Guild members. During the campaign, the guild will post a piece of pottery once a week on Facebook and request commenters to nominate an essential worker that made an impact on them. The nominees are then entered into a drawing with one winner being selected.

There are 19 different categories, such as first responders, medical lab workers and grocery store staff, and the guild has already honored three nominees: Henry Hunsaker, Bonnie Anderson and Nancy Ward.

Guild member Barbara Hranilovich said the campaign was launched as a way for the guild to stay connected with the public during a time of great isolation, and to pay tribute to those who have had to make sacrifices during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

“We’re kind of feeling out of touch just like everybody else, and we feel that there are a lot of people that aren’t getting recognition for what they’re doing out on the frontline,” she said. “It’s a way for us to connect with the community and do something that feels good. And when people get nominated, that also makes them feel great.”

Hranilovich said she is stunned by how heartfelt the responses to 19 For 19 have been so far. Facebook commenters have posted stories about volunteers that have crafted thousands of facemasks for free, and other commenters have given thanks to teachers that have gone above and beyond to stay connected with their students.

“These are everyday people that are doing what they can to make a difference,” Hranilovich said.

Bill Guerin crafted the latest pot being given away by the 19 For 19 campaign. He said he was happy to volunteer for the good cause. His piece is a handmade bowl he created in the spring and the category for nominees is registered nurses and licensed practical nurses.

“My wife is a physician and has a connection with Sparrow and I am very impressed with all of the work they’ve done. It’s nice that my piece is going to reward one of them for their dedication and tireless work,” Guerin said.

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