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Unsung Hero: Mutual Ground Volunteer Named 2016 Woman of Power

Sep 25, 2016 11:46AM ● Published by Shannon Antinori

For 26 years, Fannie Morrison has been a fixture at Mutual Ground, a non-profit dedicated to helping victims of domestic violence.

But if you ask her, it’s not Mutual Ground that’s benefitted from her years of hard work and service. Rather, it's the other way around.

“I have met so many people from different walks of life – it just enriches my life,” said Morrison, a Louisiana native. “It blesses me. It helped me to be less selfish and not focus on myself,” she said.

Earlier this month, Morrison was recognized as the 2016 Woman of Power at the Eighth Annual Women’s Power Lunch, hosted by SHARE (Supporting Hope and Respecting Everyone) Fox Valley. Each year, the SHARE committee chooses an “unsung hero” for the award, according to Mutual Ground Executive Director Michelle Meyer.

That description perfectly fits Morrison, said Meyer.

“She never does it for any reason other than that’s just who she is,” Meyer said. “I don’t know anybody like her.”

In the early 1990s, Morrison began volunteering at Mutual Ground, watering flowers once a month at the Aurora shelter. But soon, she needed a change.

“I didn’t like working outdoors,” Morrison said with a laugh. She began working weekends in the Mutual Ground resale shop. After retiring in 1998, she took on a larger role in the clothing room, sorting donated clothing items and displaying them for clients.

Morrison also hosts an annual yard sale, netting about $3,000 each year for Mutual Ground, Meyer said.

“It became a healing place for me,” Morrison said. “I just love it. The clients are beautiful, the staff is wonderful.”

Volunteering, said Morrison, “has a humbling effect."

“You enjoy volunteering because you don’t expect anything in return,” she said. “It’s something I feel God has called me to do.”

Morrison was born and raised in Louisiana and earned a dietology degree from Southern University in Baton Rouge before going on to receive a master’s degree in food management at the University of Iowa.

In addition to her work at Mutual Ground, Morrison volunteers at Hessed House in Aurora, where she cooks Christmas meals for residents in the TLC (Transitional Living Community). She also serves as a math and reading tutor at Nancy Hill Elementary School in Aurora.

“She’s everywhere,” Meyer said.

“Probably the best thing about her is always makes people smile – staff and clients alike,” Meyer said. “She lights up any room she walks into.”

FraidyCat race benefits Mutual Ground

This year’s Healthy Driven FraidyCat 5K in Oswego, presented by Edward-Elmhurst Health, will benefit Mutual Ground.

Registration proceeds for the 2016 race, set for Sunday, Oct. 30, starting at the District 308 operations building, 71 Franklin St., will benefit the organization.

Race day registration starts at 7 a.m. on- site. Prizes will be awarded for top male and female finishers in the Meow Mile, Fraidy Ct 5K and Ghost Run 10K.

For more information or to register for the Fraidy Cat 5K, visit the event website.
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