Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan Recognizes Exemplary Michigan Seniors at 27th Annual Community Service Awards

Brianna Neace

| 3 min read

DETROIT, August 11, 2017 – Three Michigan residents and one Detroit-based organization will be recognized for their outstanding efforts around senior citizen advocacy at the 27th annual Community Service Awards on Friday, Aug. 11, courtesy of Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. In addition to receiving an award, Patrice Watkins and Tracy Burrus of Detroit, and Pam Burns of Flint will receive a contribution of $1,000, payable to the non-profit organization of their choice. The awards will be presented at the kick-off ceremony for the 2017 Michigan Senior Olympics held at Bloomer Park in Rochester Hills. “Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan is proud to recognize leaders in the community who strive to improve the lives of seniors throughout the state,” said Suzanne Miller Allen, director of community responsibility for Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan. “These individuals and organizations are instrumental to the success and sustainability of programs that provide much-needed assistance and greatly impact the quality of life of thousands of seniors across Michigan. And for that, they truly deserved to be acknowledged.” Blue Cross awards four Community Service Awards for senior advocacy; three for individual accomplishment and one for an organization. Awarded annually since 1990, the Claude D. Pepper Award is given to three individuals employed in the senior advocacy field whose work reflects an ongoing dedication to improving the lives of older adults in Michigan. The honorees include:
  • Patricia Watkins of Detroit has been a senior volunteer since 2014 for the Community Social Services of Wayne County. She offers companionship to customers and respite to the caregivers of older adults with special needs. Watkins also volunteers for the Wayne State Institute of Gerontology’s food and clothing shelters. Watkins hopes to bring awareness to the need for more volunteers in the senior community.
  • Pam Burns of Flint is a nursing facility transition coordinator with The Disability Network of Flint. She is dedicated, compassionate and goes above and beyond in assisting with nursing facility outreach, independent living readiness and follow-up care. Burns not only assists in assuring new customers can fully enjoy the life they desire free of barriers; she is continuously invested in the residents long after they have achieved independence.
  • Tracy Burrus of Detroit works at two locations of Matrix Human Services to assist seniors in the Metro-Detroit area. While staying well-informed of the changing nature of services and resources available to seniors, Burrus’ goal is to improve senior social mobility locally. Because of his work, older adults have been able to stay in their homes longer rather than being relocated to senior living facilities.
  • Bridging Communities (BCI) is an advocate for seniors and public educator informing communities of the greatness that resides within our senior population. Bridging Communities has impacted the lives of over 2,000 people each year, currently providing services to 450 Michigan seniors. The organization provides a variety of supportive services that empowers seniors to remain in their home whenever possible. Services include but are not limited to: Meals on Wheels, medical transportation, lawn services and home repairs.
For more information on Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan’s Community service awards, visit Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit mutual insurance company, is an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. BCBSM provides and administers health benefits to more than 4.4 million members residing in Michigan in addition to employees of Michigan-headquartered companies who reside outside the state. For more company information, visit and
MI Blues Perspectives is sponsored by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, a nonprofit, independent licensee of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association