Big Brothers, Big Sisters of greater Flint mourns loss of longt - ABC 12 – WJRT – Flint, MI

Big Brothers, Big Sisters of greater Flint mourns loss of longtime volunteer

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FLINT (WJRT) -

(12/06/11) - A local family is mourning the loss of a wonderful husband, father and grandfather.

Joe Shovels died last week at the age of 70.

He was the patriarch of his family, but also the Big Brothers, Big Sisters family. For 39 years and well beyond, he did something life changing for countless children in our community.

Joe Shovels once said working for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Greater Flint was "more of a ministry than a job." Helping children would become his lifelong mission.

He started working at Big Brothers, Big Sisters in 1964 and would be the organization's longest serving volunteer in the country.

"Joe wore Big Brothers, Big Sisters on his sleeve...it was more than a job, he had his heart in it," said Big Brothers, Big Sisters CEO Reta Stanley.

Joe's biggest role was creating the perfect match between a child and a big brother or sister. He's responsible for changing countless lives in the process.

Joe started the bowl-a-thon that would become the organization's largest fundraiser. He was constantly recruiting people to be 'bigs' and always going above and beyond his job requirements, so much so that in 2003 he was named a priority children champion for children.

When joe retired, Big Brothers, Big Sisters established an annual award in his honor and he presented that award each year to someone who shared his commitment to children.

There's no way to measure exactly how many lives Joe Shovels touched, but thanks to the organization he helped build, and matches he made, his legacy will live on.

Funeral services were held for Joe Shovels last week.

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