Long-time Imlay resident rewarded through giving
IMLAY CITY — One place you’ll never find Cynthia Stroebel is in the spotlight.
A Main Street resident of some 20-plus years, Stroebel is admittedly uncomfortable on center stage. But put her in front of a stove in the St. Paul’s Food for Families kitchen or in the midst of a gaggle of neighborhood kids and Stroebel shines like a star.
For her continuous charitable acts of kindness and volunteer efforts throughout the years, Stroebel earned the ‘2020 Citizen of the Year Award’ from the Imlay City Chamber of Commerce.
“This is highly unexpected and I am extremely honored,” Stroebel says of the award. “I love being a part of this amazing community, and all that I have given in this town I have gotten back a thousand fold.”
Like the numerous contributions Stroebel’s made to the community, numerous individuals sent glowing letters nominating her for recognition.
“Cynthia Stroebel is a ‘giver,’” says Jessica Bostain, technical services coordinator at the Ruth Hughes Library. “She is someone who takes her energy, her money, her time, her resources and her skills and uses them to assist others. I cannot speak to the full extent of her sphere of influence, but what I have seen is astounding.”
For more than a decade, Stroebel has been an active trustee of the library board. She’s also prepared full meals for those in need at the Food for Families kitchen—along with handing out boxes of food during St. Paul’s mass feeding events. Whenever there’s a special event at the library where food is served, you’ll find Stroebel there setting up tables and topping them with her homemade gourmet creations, gratis. She’s a key figure in organizing and soliciting donations for the annual ‘Love your Library’ auction, Bostain says, helping to raise critical funding for the library.
As the COVID pandemic crisis hit the area, Stroebel stepped up to run errands and buy groceries and supplies for residents at Maple Vista.
She recently became a member of Imlay City’s Park Board, and has long been known as a something like the pied piper for the kids in her neighborhood.
“I always feel so rewarded being sort of an ‘extra grandma’ for the kids,” Stroebel grins. “Again, everything I give I get back a thousand times more.”
As for cooking and shopping for others? Stroebel says it’s not a bother at all because she’s doing something she loves.
“I like to cook and I like being involved in the neighborhood and the community,” she says.
Because of the pandemic, Stroebel had more time to do those things as her career traveling with the hunter/jumper horse show circuit came to a grinding halt.
“Honestly, cooking for the Food for Families program and shopping for the Maple Vista residents was good for my well-being throughout COVID,” Stroebel grins. “I am so grateful for that.”
Stroebel says she’s humbled by the recognition as ‘Citizen of the Year,’ reiterating that it was a big—but pleasant—surprise.
“Imlay City is an amazing community that I love being part of,” she says. “I don’t see living anywhere else for the rest of my life. I am so grateful to be here.”
Stroebel—along with the Chamber’s Merit Award and Organization of the Year Award winners—will be formally recognized during the Sesquicentennial Celebration in August.
Along with Bostain, She was nominated for recognition by Diane Willick, Miriam Marcus, Deb Stallings and Crystal Campagne.
Catherine Minolli is Managing Editor of the Tri-City Times. She began as a freelance writer with the Times in 1994. She enjoys the country life, including raising ducks and chickens.