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(Battle Creek, MI.) August 11, 2016  – FireKeepers Casino Hotel is pleased to announce that Chef Michael McFarlen, Vice President of Food and Beverage, has been honored with a Volunteer of the Year Award by the Michigan Community Service Commission (MCSC). The MCSC has been the state’s leading agency in volunteerism since its inception in 1991. The MCSC is made up of 26 commissioners, including Governor Rick Snyder. Chef McFarlen was a top five finalist for this award in 2015.

Chef McFarlen first began volunteering in the Southwest Michigan area after relocating to Marshall/Battle Creek in early 2009.  Chef McFarlen tirelessly participates in a wide variety of events and organizations to help feed children, first responders, and teach adults how to prepare available foods into tasty meals. He is heavily involved with the Food Bank of South Central Michigan and serves as a member of their Board of Directors. He was also the recipient of the Food Bank Council of Michigan’s “Beacon of Light” Award in 2015.  McFarlen’s efforts also support The Boys and Girls Club of Kalamazoo, S.A.F.E Place Shelter, March of Dimes, the Red Cross of Battle Creek, Salvation Army, Pennfield Elementary School and many other organizations throughout Southwest Michigan.

“Working for a company like FireKeepers Casino Hotel has given me the time and opportunities to pursue a long time passion for giving back,” states Chef Michael McFarlen. “Southwest Michigan has some amazing foundations and organizations that I am excited to help and be a part of. I am honored to have received the Governors Service Award and I will strive to continue to make my community proud.”

McFarlen’s vision for his newest and most impactful philanthropic endeavor, the Fire Hub restaurant, spurred FireKeepers’ owners, the Nottawaseppi Huron Band of Potawatomi, to make a multi-million dollar investment in downtown Battle Creek.    The Fire Hub restaurant seeks to stamp out hunger in Battle Creek through multiple creative directions while also providing the city with a much needed new commercial restaurant for breakfast and lunch. First, the rear section of the building will house a food pantry in conjunction with the Food Bank of South Central Michigan, distributing food from shelves to those less fortunate.  Secondly, farmable land adjacent to the building will be cultivated and Hoop Houses purchased to grow food, with a goal of providing a free salad bar for downtown schools in Battle Creek!  Third is the creation of a fund to support other local charities, with 80% of all restaurant profits and an allocation of 50 cents from every restaurant check providing the monies. The remaining 20 percent of profits will be reinvested in the property.

“We couldn’t be more proud of Chef Mike here at FireKeepers Casino Hotel,” states President and CEO Brian Decorah. “With all of his efforts to give back to the local communities, while inspiring his team to be active in their own community engagement, I could not think of a better choice, or more deserving person to be recognized for this prestigious award.”

Chef McFarlen will be honored at a special awards dinner on August 31 at the Temple Theater in Saginaw.

FireKeepers Casino Hotel, located just off Interstate 94 at Exit 104 in Battle Creek, MI, has been named Best Casino by audiences in Western Michigan and Northern Indiana, plus earned 9 first place awards in the Casino Player Magazine Best of Gaming 2015 Native Midwest category, including Best Overall Gaming Resort. FireKeepers was also selected one of the Best Casinos to Work For by Casino Player Magazine. Our signature restaurant, Nibi, is a multiple recipient of the Wine Spectator Award of Excellence. The property features 2,900 slot machines, 70 table games, a live poker room and bingo room. FireKeepers offers a AAA-rated Four Diamond resort-style hotel with 243 rooms, a functional multi-purpose event center, six distinctive dining destinations, and multiple lounges. FireKeepers is the title sponsor of the FireKeepers Casino 400, a Sprint Cup Series race at Michigan International Speedway, and host of the FireKeepers Casino Hotel Championship a Symetra Tour-Road to the LPGA golf event.