Volunteer of the Year
Volunteer of the Year
NVCN would like to congratulate our two winners of the 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award:
Ed Pejack of St. Joseph's Interfaith Caregivers, Stockton, CA, has given new meaning during the past four years to friendly visiting with several care receivers who cope with debilitating illness, multiple health issues, and progressing dementia. He finds interesting ways of improving the care receivers' lives, such as Tai Chi exercising, walks that include an ice cream stop, bringing them home-baked cookies, going to a concert in the park, or visiting the harbor to view incoming cargo ships. Ed is frequently called on to share his experiences with new volunteer candidates.
Photo: Ed receives his Award from Rhonda Anderson, NVCN Executive Director, on August 8 at the 2012 Celebration of Volunteers Banquet in Sacramento. When accepting his Award, Ed stated he "finds volunteering to be somewhere between a responsibility and a privilege." Spoken from a pure servant's heart, Ed!
Frank Signorella of Community Health Ministry Faith in Action, Wamego, KS, accepts, organizes, transports, and manages all donated items received by the program. This includes household furniture and equipment and medical supplies (wheelchairs, crutches, etc.). Frank also assists on food distribution days by assisting with the bagging and organizing of both monthly and daily distributions to homes and with the harvester's food truck. This includes over 500 recipients during the month! He delivers food and clothing to other distribution sites as well. "Giving of one's time is inherit in this man's life," states Rosemary Helms, who submitted Frank's nomination. "We don't know what we'd do without him."
Volunteers are the Cornerstone of Volunteer Caregiving Programs throughout the Nation. Thus, in 2011 NVCN began a tradition of honoring some very special caregivers at our volunteer banquet during our annual national conference. Members of NVCN are encouraged to nominate one volunteer from their program who exemplifies the the very essence of volunteer caregiving. It's a difficult task for programs to choose just one, and just as difficult for NVCN to choose one overall winner to be named Volunteer of the Year. After reviewing all nominations, Margery Tonks of the Interfaith Volunteer Caregiving Project of Christiansted, Virgin Islands, was selected.
Orientated in 1996, Margery is described as "giving, receiving, teaching and learning, with the uncanny ability to serve while allowing those she serves to reciprocate by giving back to her."
"She sits in on volunteer trainings as a veteran with enthusiasm and excitement, sharing scenarious from her many years of service. Trainees are captivated and look forward to cultivating their own rapport with their elder friends."
Writes Elisa McKay, Project Director, "We want to be like Marge Tonks when we grow up!"
Photo Credit: Susan Ellis, The Avis
NVCN congratulates all of the 2011 Nominees:
- Alice Anton, Faith in Action, Sewickley, PA
- Kathryn Beernink, Faith in Action of McHenry County, Crystal Lake, IL
- Howard Dorsey, Faith in Action Caregivers, Inc., Wheeling, WV
- Janell Faletto, Faith in Action: Supporting Senior Independence, Sammamish, WA
- Beverly Jenkins, Faith in Action Care Program, Shepherd's Center of Greater Winston-Salem, NC
- Glynthy Kottmann, Faith in Action Quad Cities, Port Byron, IL
- Carol Nama, Respite Volunteers of Shiawassee, Owosso, MI
- Betty Okamoto, Project Dana, Honolulu, HI
- Zippy Ostroy, FriendshipWorks, Boston, MA
- Roberta Pearce, Hospice of the EUP - FIA Bridging Program, Sault Ste. Marie, MI
- Frank Pierson, Interfaith Community Partners, LaGrange Park, IL