Volunteer Spotlight: Jeremy Speer


What attracted you to become involved with the OCCF?

I have an interest in programs and projects that are good for the community, and have always been amazed by how this community rallies to meet needs. OCCF has done a good job of connecting those needs and helping make a maximum impact.

In your opinion, what is the most important work that this organization does?

Having a strong working knowledge of the needs in the community, as it allows more community needs to be effectively met.

What’s it like to volunteer for the OCCF?

It’s very engaging! My eyes are opened up to all the needs of our community, and I love working with and learning from the volunteers on my committee and the OCCF staff. Being around a group of individuals who care about their community energizes me.

What OCCF committees have you been involved with?

The Grant Committee.

What do you hope the organization will achieve soon? In the long term?

I would love to see OCCF continue to grow in its community impact, and also to continue to develop itself as a hub for nonprofit activity in the region. Also, I hope it can continue to build excitement around philanthropy and giving.

Does anyone in your life play a role in supporting your involvement? In providing inspiration?

My family, especially my wife, Betsy, shares my passion for community involvement. As editor of the Gaylord Herald Times, the mission of OCCF fits what we are trying to do, so I also get inspiration from the stories we write on a weekly basis.

What do you wish other people knew about OCCF?

That it helps facilitate community giving and community programs. And that it engages many groups, such as the Youth Advisory Council, 100+ Women Who Care, and 100 Men Who Care.

Do you have a message to share?

When I first started working in Gaylord 13 years ago, I thought I’d be here for a year or two, and then move up the ladder. I fell in love with this community in part because of how generous it is. Organizations like the OCCF make this place “small but mighty.”

What would you tell someone who is thinking about volunteering for the OCCF?

It has been a good experience for me and well worth my time. My time spent helping has been efficient and engaging, and I feel that I am helping to make a difference.


Jeremy Speer has been the editor of the Gaylord Herald Times for seven years after serving as sports editor for six. He also manages the special publications, sports, and innovation departments at the Petoskey News-Review. He and his wife, Betsy, live in Gaylord with their two children, Isabelle, 8, and Juliet, 4. In addition to OCCF, Jeremy also sits on committees with the Michigan Press Association and E-Free Church, and volunteers coaching youth sports, volunteers at St. Mary Cathedral School and at Alpenfest.