Terri Hibbard - Corporate Advocate /Volunteer Award
Theresa Garcia Hibbard is a woman of conviction. She has lived her life believing she must help people in need and asks, “Isn’t this what we are supposed to do?” This has set her on a course of volunteering and making change for those struggling in her community.
Jesus Garcia had his teenaged children in the fields, teaching them hard work and instilling the philosophy that no one gives you anything free in life — you have to earn it. She credits him as her role model.
Before graduating from Saginaw High in 1979, Terri found herself pregnant seeking assistance from the Michigan Department of Human Services. She says she was treated very badly on this visit and vowed that she would return and find employment there to change how people were treated. Last October, she retired after 27 years from DHS as a program manager, knowing her season was over.
Many of her co-workers spoke of how Hibbard was a mentor, not a manager.She changed what a manager’s role was to 95-plus caseworkers dealing with the needy in society. Her presence made a lasting impression, guiding them with love, faith and hope.
As this year’s Corporate Advocate/Volunteer Award recipient, Hibbard has a long list of organizations she has assisted through volunteer work.From the United Way to the Saginaw Health Plan to Saginaw’s Rescue Mission, Hibbard assisted these groups with her background of state services.
“I still sit on the Rescue Mission board. My heart and soul loves to serve the poor and give them resources to get out of that cycle if at all possible,” Hibbard said.
She also volunteers for Positive Results in Downtown Saginaw, formerly known as PRIDE, which was formed to develop and promote the downtown area by supporting local businesses and the professional community. But it is her volunteer work with Saginaw’s La Unión Cívica Mexicana and other Hispanic organizations that are close to her heart.She is like a town crier, saying, “We must be present if we want to be noticed. We must stop sitting on the sidelines and expect progress in our community when we don’t even show up at the table. We have a voice in all arenas, but are we willing to put the effort in?”
Hibbard has faced many personal challenges in the last few years. She had married Timothy Hibbard in October of 2013, but soon afterwards was diagnosed with a facial tumor that had to be removed, which she says “changed her smile.” Her husband’s support was essential. Then in March of 2016, she lost her “soul mate” while he was shoveling snow, and her life changed drastically.
Still, Hibbard faced life with conviction, strength and her faith in Jesus Christ, lifting her heartache to God in order to move forward. Through the healing process, Hibbard found ways to honor her husband’s 30-year legacy as a coach in Genesee County and inClio. She reached out to his players and the community for comfort, but also comforted them in their lost.At a recent “Coach Hibb” night during a Clio basketball game, it was apparent that the Hibbards have had an enormous impact on the community. Today, Terri Garcia Hibbard is moving on with her life. She is transparent in her grief, but to those who know her and have witnessed her fortitude, it is easy to see why she carries the Spirit of Frida Kahlo.