Council names 'Humanitarian of Year"

By: Bruce Warren Journal Staff Writer
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When Michelle Talbott went to City Hall Monday night, she had no idea that she would receive special recognition for the work she’s been doing at The Salvation Army for the past 18 years. However, Mayor Mike Holmes and the City Council created a proclamation that honored Talbott as “Humanitarian of the Year.” In her work as social services director at The Salvation Army, Talbott has touched many lives with her personal ministry of compassion. She felt a little uncomfortable Monday night being singled out for the award. “It’s quite humbling,” Talbott said. “I am at a loss for words. This is my passion and life work, but I give God the glory. I’d rather stay behind the scenes and not be in the spotlight.” When asked why Talbott was picked for the proclamation, Holmes cited her work over the past six years that he has observed. “She has been a real contributor to helping the needy in the Auburn area,” Holmes said. “She is a major force in the Thanksgiving dinner at the fairgrounds. I want to make sure that all the volunteers at The Salvation Army and at other organizations are recognized for the fine work they are doing.” Angela Atteberry sits on the advisory council for The Salvation Army and has run an Auburn surveying business with her husband George for the past 24 years. She was thrilled to learn of Talbott’s proclamation. “If anybody deserves this award, Michelle does,” Atteberry said. “She has a heart for others like no one else I have met. She is what a Christian is supposed to be. She walks her talk in the biggest way. I will always respect her. She has true humility. She does not seek recognition.” Ken Tokutomi, chairman of the board of The Salvation Army, has known and worked with Talbott for a number of years. “She was instrumental in starting the Feed the Hungry Program,” Tokutomi said. “She’s basically a catalyst in bringing people together in the community.” As an example of Talbott’s caring nature, Tokutomi recalled the time she drove an alcoholic woman all the way to San Francisco in order to attend the Army’s drug and rehabilitation center there. “She has a great heart for the needy and the homeless,” Tokutomi said. “Basically any project at The Salvation Army, she has her hand in.”