Strong relationship: Hometown Power 5k benefits McLaren Greater Lansing

The year was 1976 and Calvin Jones had it all planned out.

The Lansing native was fresh off a two-year tour of duty with the United States Marine Corps and had just started a job with the Lansing Board of Water & Light as a construction services laborer. He figured he would work hard for the next two to three years while moving up the company ladder and then get a job with the State of Michigan.

So why is Jones still a BWL employee more than four decades later?

The answer, as he explains it, is three-fold.

First, the director of government relations is still happy with what he is doing. Second, he is still learning things that make him excited about coming to work. And third, his job allows him to make a contribution to the community he is proud to be part of.

“The Board of Water and Light’s mission is to give back,” Jones said. “Not only in lower rates for our customers, but in terms of other things we can do to give back to the City of Lansing and the people who live here.”

Jones, the oldest of seven siblings, grew up in a home in which supporting the community was expected.

Not surprisingly, he sits on the board of a half-dozen organizations during a typical year, and was a member of the McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation’s board of trustees from 2009-18. The BWL had been a steady supporter of the hospital since the late 1990s, but its’ giving increased substantially during Jones’ time on the Foundation board.

Much of that increase has come since 2014, when the BWL began donating proceeds from its annual Hometown Power 5k to the Foundation. The event, which will start at 9 a.m. on Saturday at the company’s REO Town headquarters, had 324 finishers last year and it is hoped that number will approach 400 this time around.

“It just seemed like a natural thing to do,” Jones said of the BWL’s rising support of the Foundation. “The mission of the Board of Water and Light and McLaren Greater Lansing are quite similar in that both organizations want to do what is best for their customers. The two go hand in hand and are in sync with each other so it’s easy for us to give to the hospital and to continue to give.”

McLaren Greater Lansing greatly appreciates that support and for several years hospital employees have been handing out slices of cornbread at the BWL’s Chili Cook-off. This year’s event will be held on October 4 at Cooley Law School Stadium with the proceeds benefitting the Impression 5 Science Center, the H.O.P.E. Scholarship Program, and Pennies for Power, a BWL program that helps families in need from the Lansing area pay their utility bills.

Scott Olney, supervisor of the Sleep and Alertness Center, and Respiratory Department at McLaren Greater Lansing, has volunteered at the Chili Cook-Off for several years because he enjoys “meeting so many people from the community” and seeing them “be happy.”

Olney adds that people appreciate McLaren Greater Lansing employees helping out at the event.

“Giving back to the community is important,” he said. “We don’t see enough on that in today’s world.”

More than a dozen McLaren Greater Lansing employees and their family members will support the Hometown Power 5k by running or walking in it.

Michelle Dumaw, manager of Patient Relations, lettered in cross-country and track when she attended Regina High School in Harper Woods in the early 1990s, but has run few races since then. However, she and fellow employee Lisa Rogers have been following a “Couch to 5k” app while training for the BWL event.

“Hopefully, this will not be a one and done situation,” Dumaw said with a laugh. “We’re already looking to run a couple more 5ks in September.”

Joking aside, Dumaw views taking part in the Hometown Power event as a way to give back to the hospital. She says McLaren Greater Lansing does a lot for her and her family, and participating in the 5k is a way to say thanks for the benefits they receive.

Sarah Ferguson, a compliance specialist, is one of several hospital employees who plan to walk the course that loops through the neighborhoods surrounding the BWL’s REO Town headquarters.

Ferguson, a frequent volunteer at Foundation-related events, said a renewed focus on improving her health prompted her participation in the 5k, as did fellow employee Mary Zippi, who was looking for someone to walk with her.

“Many Foundation events afford McLaren Greater Lansing the ability to support our caregivers both personally and professionally,” Ferguson said. “Our caregivers are worth investing in and the Foundation makes this investment possible.”

Jones is looking forward to seeing hospital employees and their family members wearing heather light blue McLaren Greater Lansing t-shirts as they take part in the event, and he will also appreciate those employees volunteering along the course, for both groups are indicative of the strong relationship between the hospital and BWL.

“Partnering with McLaren is a way of joining an institution that is already giving back to the community,” he said. “And by joining with McLaren, we can give back to the community in a much bigger way.” 

If you are interested in volunteering, please email Rachel Turek at

If you would like to make a gift to support a program, department or unit at McLaren Greater Lansing, please contact the McLaren Greater Lansing Foundation at (517) 975-7100 or, or visit