Terry Bigelow (middle) with Flushing Rotarians Marty Barta (left) and Darwin Scherba (right). Photo by Ben Gagnon

Pictured (L-R): Marty Barta, Terry Bigelow, and Darwin Scherba.

Flushing resident Terry Bigelow has been named the Flushing Rotary Club’s Service Above Self Award recipient for 2020.

Bigelow, who is the program manager for the Flushing Christian Outreach Center (FCOC), received her award at the Rotary Club’s weekly breakfast meeting on February 6. She was presented the award based on her outstanding professional achievement within her occupation and for contributing her time and energy to the problems and needs of society.

Bigelow, a 1974 graduate of Flushing High School, attended Michigan State University to pursue a career in teaching. During her junior year at MSU, she auditioned and was offered an acting role with The Young Americans Broadway Tour. After a nine-month tour, Bigelow returned to MSU and resumed her education, where she received a B.A. in Elementary Education in 1979.

Bigelow began her teaching career in the Los Alamitos Unified School District in California. She was involved in many aspects of education, from classroom teacher to directing student musicals and drama programs.

With the help of a colleague, Bigelow founded the Los Al Players—a youth performance troupe that developed into what is currently known as the Orange County School of the Arts. The California charter school currently enrolls 2,000 students in grades 7-12 and prepares students for higher education and a profession in the arts.

In 1986, Bigelow returned to Flushing and taught middle school writing in Montrose. She also served as the afterschool drama coach.

In 1989, Bigelow received her Master’s Degree in Educational Administration from Eastern Michigan University. She would go on to hold the position of Montrose Middle School Assistant Principal and Montrose Alternative Education High School Director from 2003 to 2010. She retired from Montrose Schools in 2010.

Shortly after her retirement, Bigelow became the program manager for the FCOC, which provides food and clothing for 400 to 500 individuals each month. FCOC has become an efficient resource for those in need within the Flushing community, serving every client with dignity and grace. The FCOC is supported by many of the Flushing churches.

Bigelow oversees around 100 volunteers at FCOC and coordinates a variety of programs at the center. She has become well-regarded for bringing compassion and expertise to the FCOC vision and for having a genuine concern for the wellbeing of the community’s most vulnerable members.

In addition to her role with FCOC, Bigelow has been instrumental in providing food for school-aged children within Flushing Community Schools through weekend distribution. As a certified trainer for Bridges Out of Poverty, she has also given presentations across the state and the country regarding the hidden rules of poverty, the barriers of poverty and how communities can help neighbors in need to become self-sustaining.

The Rotary Club of Flushing’s Service Above Self Award reflects Rotary International’s motto and seeks to recognize someone in the Flushing community who goes above and beyond (Service above Self) in their service to the community and beyond, thereby exemplifying the Rotary motto. The recipient is always a non-Rotarian.