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Bonnie Jobe

Henry Ford Community College, Dearborn, Mich.
Henry Ford Community College Federation of Teachers, Local 1650

As an exercise physiologist and health educator at Henry Ford Community College, Bonnie Jobe likes to tell her students: “For good health, we know diet, exercise and sleep are extremely important. The fourth element for a feeling of well-being is to be charitable.”

Jobe practices what she preaches. With a lifelong, irrepressible habit of volunteering for good causes, she actually stepped up her game in the last 10 years, she says, after losing both parents to cancer and wanting to mark their lives in memorable ways 

After her father died of lymphoma in 2001, she raised $10,000 in a matter of months for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society and was named its Woman of the Year for 2002. Her mother had died five years earlier of breast cancer—a disease that has struck serial generations of women in her family—so raising money for a cure is an ongoing project for Jobe.

Those efforts merely scratch the surface of her philanthropic work, so let us count some of the ways Jobe channels her charitable impulses.

After serving as co-chair of the White Christmas Ball for St. John Hospital, she chaired the event starting in 2009, and raised enough money last year to buy new dialysis machines and flat-screen TVs for the hospital’s Renal Therapy Department. Since 2002, the ball has raised a total of $1.3 million.

She has served as a co-chair for the Rehabilitation Institute of Michigan, raising $222,000 to buy bioelectrical limbs.  

She has also raised money for Operation Smile (which provides free surgeries for children with cleft palettes), Children’s Hospital, Henry Ford Hospital, Oakwood Hospital, the Red Cross, the American Heart Association, the Detroit Historical Society, the Detroit Symphony, the Distinguished Clown Corps, the Humane Society—and the list goes on.

Jobe has served as auction chair for the Women’s Survival Center, raising money to provide food, clothing and shelter for abused women and their children. 

She has served as a committee member of Cass Community Services, helping to raise $185,000 in one year to help the needy and the homeless with a food service program and medical services for uninsured families and seniors. 

She’s been dedicated to the college, where she has taught for 34 years. Since 1978, she has chaired the Women’s Recognition Luncheon, raising money for the HFCC Student Emergency Fund, which helps students overcome unforeseen financial emergencies that could knock them out of school. She enlists her students to help with Children’s Hospital projects: Toys for Tots, the Gift of Reading and Shoebox gifts. 

“What impresses me,” says HFCC Director of Business Services Ed Wallish, who nominated Jobe as an Everyday Hero, “is how she involves her students in everything. We’re working on a program to build service learning into the curriculum. She epitomizes that.”

It is probably a mark of humility that Jobe did not have any idea how much money she had raised over the years until the AFT asked her for a tally. She was astonished to realize the sum would be in the millions.

“I thank the charities every day for the joy and friendships they have given me,” says Jobe.