Troy Historic Village Honors Troy History Makers


The Troy Historic Village, along with the City of Troy and the Troy Public Library, will host the 3rd Annual Embracing Excellence and new History Makers Awards Ceremony on Wednesday, May 18 from 6-9 p.m. at the Troy Community Center

The event celebrates the Troy Historical Society’s 50th Anniversary, along with a special tribute to the Troy Public Library, which turns 45 this year. New this year, the event will award individual History Makers who through their personal efforts and leadership have helped to build our vibrant and creative community.

Nominations for the History Makers Awards were received and reviewed by a committee of Troy community leaders based on the seven facets that make a vibrant and creative community. This year the following were selected for their contributions:

Visionary Thinking

The Barnard Family, for Norman Barnard’s leadership and efforts to establish the City of Troy in 1955 and for Norman, Harriet, and their children’s commitment to preserving the community’s history through the Troy Historical Society and the Troy Historic Village.

Frank Gerstenecker for his leadership as City Manager during the City of Troy’s period of rapid growth and for his guidance in making Troy an attractive city and a desirable place to live, work, and play in Southeast Michigan.

Ethnic and Culture

Padma Kuppa, for her advocacy through the Michigan Roundtable for Diversity and Inclusion and the Hindu American Foundation on behalf of Indian origin residents in Troy and the region.

Haifa Fakhouri for her outstanding leadership as the President and CEO of the Arab American Chaldean Council, which assists immigrants as they arrive in Troy; seek training programs and employment; and work to build self-sufficiency.

Business and Philanthropy

Sam Frankel for his leadership in building major developments along the Big Beaver Corridor including Somerset Inn, Somerset Apartments, the Sheffield Office Plaza, and the prestigious Somerset Collection. Additionally, Frankel demonstrated great philanthropy through his contributions to the DIA, U of M School of Medicine, Karmanos Cancer Institute, and the Boys & Girls Club of Troy.

Health and Fitness

Roger Kowalski, the Director of Troy’s Parks and Recreation Department for 26 years, was a leader and driving force for the establishment of 23 of the City’s 30 parks and a community center, golf course, nature center, and aquatic center. He also fostered cooperative development and shared maintenance of facilities with the Troy School District.

Art and Culture

Clara Blankenship, for her tireless leadership of the Friends of the Troy Public Library. Between 1962 and 1968 Clara served simultaneously as the organization’s publicity chairperson, historian, and president. Fittingly, the Children’s Room in the Troy Public Library was named in her honor in 1970.

Environmental Stewardship

Pam and Mike Brady, environmental advocates, educators, and citizens who have led by example in their daily efforts to manage rainwater, protect regional watersheds and rivers, and recycle. The Brady’s have written columns, distributed information at community events, and developed educational exhibits at the Troy Public Library.


Dr. Janet Jopke was the Superintendent of the Troy School District from 1993 to 2005. Through her outstanding leadership, every school in the district achieved exemplary status and became accredited by the North Central Association. She also established a latchkey program which became the state standard and advocated for funding that brought the latest technology to the district.

“We were thrilled to receive nearly 20 nominations in the first year,” said Troy Historic Village Executive Director Loraine Campbell. “Clearly there are many residents this community who recognize and wish to acknowledge history makers. We look forward to honoring these individuals on May 18 and encourage everyone to join us”.

Former Troy Mayor Jeanne Stine commented “I appreciate the fact that Troy Historic Village and the Troy Historical Society bring history to life and with the creation of the History Makers Awards are making residents aware of individuals that have made the city what it is today.”

The evening will begin with a cocktail reception featuring live Jazz, followed by a buffet dinner and the awards presentations. The event will also feature a special Troy Historical Society exhibit and vignettes from Many Stories, One Heritage, an oral history project made possible by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council. Many Stories, One Heritage is an important project that is preserving the authentic voices and experiences in Troy’s rich multi-cultural community.

Tickets are available now for $35, and after May 11 and at the door for $40. Tickets can be purchased online at or call 248-524-3570. Checks are payable to Troy Historical Society.

Troy Historic Village is currently looking for event sponsors. Interested businesses can contact Loraine Campbell at, or visit to complete an online sponsorship form.