GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOTV)- “There is nothing more beautiful than someone who goes out of their way to make life beautiful for others.” – Mandy Hale
Mary Anne Simmering truly exemplifies the beauty of helping others! She’s one of our “Remarkable Women of West Michigan” finalists as she’s dedicated numerous years to serving others within society.
I am nominating Mary Anne because she is an inspiring person who demonstrates leadership, commitment, and kindness to others in our community.Anne Damaska
Mary Anne’s Background
Since she was a child, Mary Anne has demonstrated dedication and hard work. As the youngest of 6 kids residing in
One of her earliest goals was to attend college. She fulfilled this desire by applying to an ROTC scholarship, which was rewarded to her on behalf of the military.
After receiving the academic grant, Mary Anne began her studies at Tulane, a private university located in New Orleans. It was there that she embarked on a wonderful journey that would change the course of her life.
Mary Anne’s personal and professional experiences significantly strengthened her ability to provide guidance, encouragement, and support to others.
One of her first opportunities to do so occurred when she became a mother. Mary Anne’s first son was born before she began active duty. Her second son was born while on active duty, and her third son arrived after active duty.
Mary Anne was also able to utilize her newfound skills during her time as a Legal Administrative Officer in the Navy. Although she faced several challenges as one of very few women on base, she found the strength and courage to persevere!
Her confidence gave her the ability to excel in her role and inspired her to develop a strong passion for law.
Setting her dreams aside
Although Mary Anne was eager to chase her dreams of pursuing a career in Law, she temporarily put her passion on hold to take care of her beautiful and growing family.
After completing her Naval service, she selflessly put her own desires aside and devoted her time to her family of five boys and her husband.Anne Damaska
She and her husband embarked on a new journey by moving to Michigan, where they had two additional sons- one of whom is on the autism spectrum.
Navigating her new life while having to support 7 people on one salary was very difficult, however, Mary Ann and her husband always found a way to provide for their family.
Finding her way back
While she was busy raising five boys and taking them to their multiple activities, she was always willing to help someone out. Mary Anne is that neighbor, friend, or fellow parent who would not hesitate to help anyone in need.Anne Damaska
Mary Anne’s aptitude for serving her family and community encouraged her to reenter the workforce. After a few years, she began working again as a substitute teacher for local schools.
If the school needs a volunteer for a party or an extra driver for a field trip, she is the first person on the sign-up list. If the school was having an outdoor activity in the middle of a heat wave, she would come with a cooler full of popsicles. If a friend needs a favor, she will help that friend out.Anne Damaska
Working as a substitute teacher brought so much joy to Mary Anne’s heart, but after a few years, she decided to give her true dreams another go!
In 2015, with Mary Anne’s children getting older, she decided she would fulfill her dream of enrolling in law school. She not only finished law school, but she graduated Magna Cum Laude and was the valedictory speaker for her class at her graduation. Mary Anne excelled academically, and she also wanted others to succeed.Anne Damaska
Giving back to the community
During her time in law school, Mary Anne developed a mentorship program which provided guidance and support to 12 law school students. In addition, she became the Student Bar Association’s Mentorship Committee Chairperson and was able to organize an insightful panel entitled, “It Won’t Happen to Me and Other Myths About Law School & Practice: Developing Strategies to Manage Stress.”
Mary Anne’s commitment to helping others propelled her to recently accept a new role as a public defender in Kalamazoo County!
As she concludes her current role as a law clerk, Mary Anne looks forward to being able to change more lives!
I really hope to help have some broader impact on some of the larger problems that I see in society and the justice system.Mary Anne Simmering
Mary Anne’s journey is a prime example of how anyone can find their purpose through serving others! We salute this remarkable woman and wish her all the best in her future endeavors!
To learn more of Mary Anne’s story, watch her segment on eightWest above.