Michael J. Church, Sr. & Gretchen Gareie-Church
Michael J. Church, Sr. and Gretchen Gareie-Church from Naples, FL
Nominated by Linda Giorgilli-Rice
I nominate Michael J. Church, Sr. and his wife, Gretchen Gareie-Church for the continuous devotion to raising awareness of Parkinson's, at the same time that they each have the disease. They are the sweetest married couple and so devoted to one another. Perhaps another part of their strong devotion is to the constant work with Parkinson's Advocacy.
Michael is the Florida State Director (since 2003 to present)(forgive me if Gretchen is as well, I am uncertain) of the Parkinson's Action Network. The Parkinson's Action Network is a nonprofit, grassroots advocacy organization that is known for being the advocacy voice of the Parkinson's community. Michael (and I believe Gretchen as well) are also the Executive Directors of Movers & Shakers Inc., which is focused primarily on education and outreach for those with Parkinson's Disease and facilitating better quality of life through various programs. I copied this information with some minor changes from Michael's Facebook page, so that I would be accurate in this information.
What I would add is that I have never seen more consistent soft spoken, but direct activity in keeping all of us in the advocacy community abreast of everything going on. This couple is also completely nonjudgmental of anyone and respectful, never projecting personal opinions into any of their work, but staying focused on the real battle. Often on Facebook, people can lose focus, but Michael and Gretchen are two people I really look up to in the highest regard. I also admire their determination to live their lives with the most positive and kind attitudes. I really cannot express how much I admire them. Thanks to Michael and Gretchen. You are definitely Superstars!