a passion for people
who will be named...
Blue Water Woman
of the Year?
Nominations now being accepted
for Blue Water Woman of the Year!
The Blue Water Woman of the Year Awards will honor women who reside in the
Blue Water Area of Michigan who demonstrate excellence and achievement
in one or more of the following areas:
• Mentoring other women
• Professional achievement
• Overall Honor: Blue Water Woman of the Year
Nominators MUST complete the nomination form and rules available at
A distinguished panel of judges from the Upper Peninsula selects award recipients.
Honoring the Award Recipients:
Those selected for awards will be notified at the end of January/early February 2020.
All will be featured in a story in the Spring (February/March) 2020 issue of the magazine.
All will be honored at a public reception (open to men and women) on February 7, 2020.
Nominators must be committed to selling a minimum of 20 adult tickets to the awards reception.
Receiving an award is no fun without a cheering section!
Award recipients MUST be available to attend awards ceremony; “must be present to win.”
Deadline for Submissions:
Submissions must be received by email or snail mail no later than Friday, January 3, 2020.
Submissions must be emailed in one zipped file to: email@example.com.
Blue Water Woman reserves the right to refuse nominations for consideration without cause. All decisions are final and subject
to approval by Blue Water Woman. Why? Because we said so. ;)
ALICE RIEVES 4
PATTI MANLEY 6
JAZMYN THOMAS 8
IN BLUE WATER WOMAN!
JUST ASK OUR ADVERTISERS!
The ad deadline for the next issue
of Blue Water Woman is January 10, 2020
Prices start at just $125 for a business card sized ad!
Our most popular ad size is a quarter page at just $250;
sign a one-year contract and it becomes just $225 a quarter!
For more information, contact Patti Samar
at 810-300-2176 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org
VOLUME 9, NUMBER 4 WINTER 2019
Blue Water Woman is published quarterly by The Write Company,
511 La Salle Blvd., Port Huron, MI 48060. Circulation 5,000.
Editor & Publisher:
Patti Samar, owner, The Write Company
FROM THE EDITOR
Thanksgiving is exactly one week from the day I am sitting and writing this column, so it
feels like a good time to reflect on the past year and all of the blessings that are ever present in
I scrolled through the photos on my phone and found plenty of inspiration for
thankfulness there, as reflected in a few of my favorite photos from 2019, shown above:
the gift of health and wellness; a roof over my head; an abundance of food on the table; the
opportunity to engage in adventures all over the world; the richness that comes from laughter
and silliness as a result of time spent with good friends; the opportunity to live on the Great
Lakes and to enjoy them, on both the beach, and while on the deck of a sailboat; and the
opportunity to spend time with family, be they blood or chosen.
I’m really looking forward to 2020. New years equate to new beginnings, and all of the
possibilities of a clean slate. I can’t wait to discover what new adventures will come my way
during the coming year.
Thank you, dear reader, for all of your support for Blue Water Woman over the past eight
years. I’m especially thankful for the advertisers who continue to support this endeavor. Their
belief in the importance of sharing women’s stories -- Blue Water history in the making --
allows me to share just a few of the stories of the incredible women in our community.
Happy holidays and a very happy new year to all!
Advertising, questions, comments or story ideas:
Email Patti Samar at email@example.com
Blue Water Woman is the premiere publication
for women living, working and playing
in the Blue Water Area of Michigan.
Its stories and features are written and designed
to be inspriational, motivational and encouraging.
© Blue Water Woman is the property
of Patti Samar of The Write Company
The Write Company is a writing, graphic design
and marketing consultation firm.
View our online portfolio at: www.TheWriteCompany.net
Editor & Publisher
Blue Water Woman
2 WINTER 2019 BLUEWATERWOMAN.COM
Blue Water Woman is a proud sponsor of the nonprofit SheShip,
and is proudly an inclusive, LGBTQ-friendly publication.
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BY PATTI SAMAR
For six years in the late 1970s and early 1980s, Alice Rieves owned a
restaurant in St. Clair called, appropriately, “Alice’s Restaurant.”
After retiring as the executive director of the Mid City Nutrition Program
in 2016, Rieves has once again joined the organization and has been named
interim executive director of Mid City Nutrition, as the organization moves
forward with its plans to construct a new home for its soup kitchen on the
south side of Port Huron.
Aptly, the new building could also be called “Alice’s Restaurant” because
if anyone knows the recipe for success when working with donors and the
population that Mid City Nutrition serves, it is Rieves.
After a long-term career in the food service industry that saw her owning,
managing and waitressing, Rieves was named the first paid director at Mid
City Nutrition in 1993.
“I was working at Manis’s Restaurant and I remember looking out the
window at all of these lost people,” she said. “I saw the sadness and despair in
She began volunteering at the Mid City Nutrition soup kitchen several
days a week, which eventually led to her employment there.
“We had no money,” she said of her early days there. “The church (where
the soup kitchen is located) had never, ever charged rent, and a few times, we
had to borrow money from the church.
“We prayed and said, ‘If God wants this to continue, he will show us the
Apparently God did, indeed, want the soup kitchen to continue.
“I got a call from a woman who said, ‘I heard you don’t have any
money…’” Rieves went to meet with the woman, who offered a donation.
She was shocked when she was handed a check for $20,000.
“Money just started to come in the door,” Rieves said. “I said, ‘I guess God
wants us here, so we’re going to continue.’”
A native of Georgia, Rieves moved around to several different states while
she was growing up, and eventually landed in Michigan in the late 1970s.
She raised her children in St. Clair County and has called this community
home ever since.
“I think that in life, God has a plan, and that was His plan to get me here
to do what I’m doing, working with the soup kitchen.”
After her retirement in 2016, Rieves worked part time for a while, but soon
felt the call back to Mid City Nutrition.
“I didn’t realize how much I missed my peeps and the whole organization,”
she said. “It’s my passion. It’s something that I strongly believe in.
“Hunger is a basic need, and we have all experienced hunger to a certain
degree…that little growling in our bellies that says ‘I need food.’
“But there’s more to being hungry than that growling. People are
important. There’s spiritual hunger, there’s emotional and mental hunger.
“If you see each one of those people at the soup kitchen as a person, then
that makes a difference. Give them a firm handshake and look them in the
eye. That gives them validation.”
Rieves is looking forward to working with the community, moving
forward with raising funds and constructing the new building.
“We can get that building built and add some stability to the organization,”
she said. “I’ve worked very hard to be a good fiduciary steward of the donor
“There are a lot of people in this community who care. There is not
another community in the state that is as giving as St. Clair County.”
4 WINTER 2019 BLUEWATERWOMAN.COM
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SUMMER 2019 BLUEWATERWOMAN.COM 5
BY PATTI SAMAR
B“Be the change that you wish to see in the world.” -- Mahatma Gandhi
Patti Manley of St. Clair lives by those words.
Manley, a native of Port Huron, is a certified public accountant who
has given tirelessly – and quietly – to the Blue Water Area through her
professional, volunteer, and philanthropic efforts.
A partner in McBride-Manley & Co., P.C., Manley has worked with the
firm her entire career. “I’ve been here since I got out of college in 1982,” she
said. “In 1989, I became a partner. Glen McBride was a great guy; he taught
me everything. I have him to thank for that.” McBride died in 2013, but
Manley carried on.
“I love what I do,” she said. “I had an accounting class when I was a senior
in high school, but I was thinking maybe medicine. Then I took a chemistry
class in college and thought, ‘Oh, dear God, no!’” she said with a laugh.
“That was so not me. I took an accounting class and never looked back.”
Manley earned her associate degree from St. Clair County Community
College before moving on and obtaining her bachelor’s degree from Walsh
Throughout her career, Manley has dedicated much of her free time to
volunteering for numerous nonprofit organizations, where she has provided
professional guidance with regard to financial matters.
She currently serves as the secretary of the board of trustees for the
Community Foundation of St. Clair County. She also currently serves as the
treasurer of the board of trustees, and as chair of the finance committee, for
the United Way of St. Clair County.
She also served for many years on the board of St. John-Providence River
District Hospital, as well as on the health system’s regional board.
Manley’s commitment to the community has not gone unnoticed. She has
received a number of awards over the years, including recognition from the
National Association of Career Women as Career Woman of the Year; from
St. John-Providence River District Hospital as Community Leader of the
Year; from the United Way of St. Clair County as Volunteer of the Year; and
from the State of Michigan as a Small Business Advocate in Accounting.
“I love working with small business owners,” Manley said. “They are gutsy.”
Cancer survivors are also gutsy, and Manley would know. She is an eight
year survivor of breast cancer.
“Early detection is important,” she said. “The whole ‘pay attention to your
health’ thing is important.” Two weeks following major breast cancer surgery,
Manley was on the golf course.
“I wanted to get on with life,” she said. “This is not going to define who I
Manley noted that her family and friends helped her through her cancer
crisis and she will never forget their generosity.
“People want to help and you need to let them,” she said. “I’m very blessed
in many, many ways. I have been very blessed in my life. I have a very
supportive family and a great group of friends.”
If anything, that experience just instilled in her an even greater desire to
give back to others.
“I love our little corner of the world here in St. Clair County,” she said. “It’s
important to me to make our community a great place to live and work,
and, as a result, hopefully, it is a better place when you leave it.
“It’s empowering to be a part of these organizations that help make change.
There never will be change if you don’t get involved and try to change it.”
It’s important to me
to make our community a great place
to live and work, and, hopefully,
it is better when you leave it.
It’s empowering to be a part
of these organizations
that help make change.
There never will be change
if you don’t get involved
and try to change it.
~ Patti Manley
6 WINTER 2019 BLUEWATERWOMAN.COM
At Blue Water Developmental Housing,
Inc., we believe in empowering the people
we serve to follow their dreams
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The individuals we assist don’t just thrive ... they soar.
To learn more about volunteer or donor
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2016 Blue Water Woman
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Photo of individual we serve, Dacey Pritchett, in flight
Blue Water Developmental Housing, Inc.
1600 Gratiot Blvd., Suite 1 Marysville MI 48040
(810) 388-1200 www.bwdh.org
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The Write Company
really big deal
BY PATTI SAMAR
Port Huron native Jazmyn Thomas is going to be a Really Big Deal.
Trust us on this one.
Thomas, 27, is a young professional who is making a positive impact on life
in the Blue Water Area and beyond. And, as her personal light burns brightly,
there is no stopping this energetic, self-proclaimed Type A personality, from
continuing to grow and prosper as a “young woman to watch” in the Blue
The 2010 graduate of Port Huron High School received a bachelor’s
degree in social relations and policy in 2014 and a master’s degree in public
administration from Oakland University in 2017. She currently works as
an associate planner for Macomb Community Action of Macomb County,
where she administers Housing and Urban Development (HUD) grants for
21 municipalities county-wide.
“I administer grants and make sure that compliance is met,” she said of her
professional role. “I do housing rehab and bricks and mortar capital projects. I
like dipping my hand in lots of different things.”
Prior to accepting a position in Macomb County, she worked in the
planning department for the city of Port Huron for four years. She began that
position as an intern in college, which led to part-time and then full-time work
with the city.
“The opportunities in Port Huron provided me with the skills to move on
to Macomb County,” she said. “It afforded me more opportunities.”
Since high school, Thomas has been an involved citizen.
“My mom is really big on volunteering,” she said. “She really ingrained that
in me…the importance of giving back to your community.”
As a high school student, she was a member of the yearbook staff and
National Honor Society, and was involved in other extracurricular activities, as
well. She spent two years as a member of the Youth Advisory Council (YAC)
of the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. Her participation in that
organization had a direct impact on her working life today.
“My involvement with YAC was definitely my introduction to grant
making,” she said. “YAC definitely contributed to where I’m at now.” YAC
members are high school students from across the county who, as a group,
delegate grant dollars to youth-oriented activities in St. Clair County.
“YAC exposed me to people outside of Port Huron…kids from Marysville,
Algonac and all over St. Clair County,” she said. “You sit down together and
you work together and do team building. I ran for parliamentarian and that
was my first leadership role.”
Thomas was recently invited back to YAC, but this time as an advisor to the
group. It is a role she is looking forward to undertaking.
“I like what the Community Foundation does,” she said. “I support their
Thomas is also a volunteer member of the city of Port Huron Planning
Commission, and she has been actively involved in the Port Huron Chapter
of the NAACP, having served as a member of its executive committee. She
more recently became a member of a diversity committee spearheaded by
former Marysville Mayor Dan Damman after a recent racial incident in the
In her spare time, Thomas likes to travel. She recently spent time on a
Caribbean cruise, and in 2018 visited several countries in Europe.
Family is of utmost importance, as well.
“I’m really close to my family,” she said. “My family is a big reason I am still
living in the area.”
And the Blue Water Area is all the better for her presence.
8 WINTER 2019 BLUEWATERWOMAN.COM
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