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Governor Announces Delaware’e Outstanding Volunteers; Recipients Will Be Honored Oct. 25 in Dover Ceremony

Posted On: Friday, October 5th, 2012

Categories: Delaware Health and Social Services News Office of Governor Markell

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NEW CASTLE (Oct. 5, 2012) – Gov. Jack Markell will honor the dedication of 31 individuals and groups as he presents the Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards for 2012 on Oct. 25 at Dover Downs.
 
The governor and first lady Carla Markell have been champions of the importance of volunteerism and service in building stronger communities across the state.
 
“Carla and I believe through volunteerism and service by Delawareans of all ages, we strengthen our social fabric and quality of life,” Gov. Markell said. “This year’s Volunteer Award recipients clearly demonstrate how one individual or one group can make a difference in many lives.  We recognize their leadership, passion and commitment in helping their fellow Delawareans.”
 
This year’s award recipients participate in such diverse activities as social justice, protecting the environment, working to advance the arts and culture, and improving education. 
 
“For Delawareans who volunteer, it is the ultimate act of giving back,” said Rita Landgraf, secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees the state’s efforts to foster volunteerism and service. “You are living the promise to make a selfless difference in someone’s life. It is an example that is sure to inspire others to follow your lead.”
 
“The volunteers selected for recognition from the governor stand out in either the length of their service or in the unique quality of their efforts to make Delaware a better place to grow up and live,” said Anne Farley, Ph.D., and director of DHSS’ Division of State Service Centers, which includes the State Office of Volunteerism. “The recipients represent the many devoted volunteers who make positive contributions to the First State and inspire others to do the same.”
 
More than 400 people are expected to join the governor Oct. 25 at Dover Downs to honor the volunteers for their outstanding service. The event will begin with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and the ceremony starting at 7. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $35 per person and are available by calling 857-5006. Or visit www.volunteerdelaware.org to download the invitation.
 
The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, Delaware Health and Social Services, the Division of State Service Centers, the State Office of Volunteerism, as well as the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.
 
The 2012 recipients are (short biographies are attached):
 
PAUL WILKINSON LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD: Tonda L. Parks, Dover
 
INDIVIDUAL WINNERS
 
New Castle County 
Chrissy Montgomery, Wilmington, Arts & Culture
Joan Sharp, Wilmington, Community Service
Donald Schaeffer, Wilmington, Community Service
Jeanne Kasey, Wilmington, Education
Ali McDonough, Wilmington, Health
Nancy Goyda, Wilmington, Human Needs
James A. Hunter, Wilmington, Human Needs
Rosemary Kingery, Hockessin, Human Needs
Karyn Wilson, New Castle, Human Needs
 
Kent County
Judy Saladino, Dover, Health
 
Sussex County
David Christy, Lewes, Arts & Culture
Dara Hearn, Lewes, Education
Sallie Forman, Rehoboth Beach, Environment
Dianne Twining, Laurel, Environment
Marie McIntosh, Frankford, Human Needs
Pat Short, Lewes, Human Needs
 
GROUP WINNERS
 
New Castle County
DBCC’s Great Stuff Savvy Resale Volunteer Team, Community Service
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., Community Service
Beth and Brian Engler, Education
Department of Health and Social Services-Garden Projects for People with Physical and/or Mental Disabilities, Environment
Secret Garden Volunteers, Environment
The Alternatives to Violence Project, Social Justice/Advocacy
 
Kent County
Advance through Pardons and Expungements, National Service
 
Sussex County
Historic Lewes Farmers Market, Community Service
The Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute Volunteers (MERR), Environment
Nanticoke Creekwatchers, Environment
Sussex County Habitat for Humanity Family Services Committee, Human Needs
St. Phillips Youth Host Group, Human Needs
Delaware SPCA, Sussex Chapter Volunteers, Other – Animal Welfare
 
Statewide
Reading Assist Institute Volunteer Tutors, Education
 
 
For more information about the awards, contact information for the winner or the Oct. 25 event, contact Carrie Hart with the State Office of Volunteerism at 857-5006.
 
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Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.
 
2012 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award Winners
 
Paul Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award
Name:  Tonda L. Parks
Nominator: Colonel Eugenia Thornton, USA
 
For over two decades, Tonda Parks has served tirelessly, selflessly and effectively in a variety of volunteer organizations across Delaware. She has volunteered with the American Heart Association, CENDEL Foundation, Frontline Ministry Daughters of Destiny and Fund for Women, among others, and has been honored with numerous awards for her dedicated service. Tonda infuses her many volunteer activities with enthusiasm, innovation and imagination.
 
Individual Winners
 
New Castle County
 
Name: Chrissy Montgomery
Category: Arts & Culture
Nominator: Kathy Buterbaugh
 
Chrissy is the kind of volunteer who sees what needs to be done and does it. Through her work at the Wilmington Drama League, Chrissy applies a hands-on, versatile and hard-working attitude to every task given to her. Since 1996, her passion and compassion have impacted the lives of many Delawareans. Her leadership, talent and dedication have made a positive impact on the arts in Delaware.
 
Name: Joan Sharp
Category: Community Service
Nominator: Charlene Davis
 
Joan has served the YWCA since 2004, holding the position of board chair for two years.  During her tenure, the organization survived one of the most financially challenging periods in its history. Joan’s fundraising efforts and rallying spirit helped the organization to grow and prosper. Joan believes in the empowerment of women and volunteers at many other agencies including the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition and the Delaware Forum of Executive Women.
 
Name: Donald Schaeffer
Category: Community Service
Nominator: Jean Warren
 
Don has served in many volunteer capacities for more than 30 years, always making an impact on those he helps. Working at St. Stephen’s Pantry, Don is known as a humble, quiet, and hard working guy who does not like to talk about himself or his accomplishments. He is an unsung hero helping neighbors in need, often serving 30-65 families a day. Those who meet Don are always welcomed with a warm smile and a caring heart.
 
Name: Jeanne Kasey
Category: Education
Nominator: Kevin Palladinetti
 
Jeanne Kasey is an integral part of the Alexis I. du Pont High School community. In her current role at PTSA president, Jeanne looks for a variety of ways to get parents and guardians more involved. Jeanne genuinely cares about doing the right thing for the school community. Jeanne has addressed the needs of the community for more than eight years and has tried to meet these needs through parental involvement. The impact she has had on students, families and the community is wide-reaching.
 
Name: Ali McDonough
Category: Health
Nominator: Katie Wilson
 
Dedicated to service since the age of 17, Ali McDonough has given so much of herself to the community and her commitment to service runs deep.  She was the co-executive director of “U Dance,” which is the largest student-run philanthropy in the history of the University of Delaware. Ali has worked tirelessly — close to a full-time job — to fight childhood cancers, and has raised nearly $470,000. As a driving force in the fight to end cancer, she is truly a motivator and an inspiration.
 
Name: Nancy Goyda
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Cheryl Christiansen
 
Nancy Goyda’s work as a volunteer has a considerable impact on the success of Family Promise. She is always cheerful, patient, and ready to tackle any project assigned to her.  She has been involved with Family Promise since the planning stages and her commitment has never waned. Nancy leads by example and has touched the lives of many homeless families.
 
Name: James A. Hunter
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Joan E. Lyons
 
The Seamen’s Center of Wilmington opened its doors and hearts to seafarers arriving in Delaware in 1990. James A. Hunter was the first volunteer to step forward and offer his time as an active volunteer. Twenty-two years and more than 12,000 hours later, James continues to greet and assist the thousands of international mariners who arrive in Delaware each year.
 
Name: Rosemary Kingery
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Megan Kneisel
 
Rosemary has been at the Fraim Boys and Girls Club for only a year, but she already has made a large impact on its mentoring program. Rosemary’s willingness to take on any task, large or small, has immeasurably improved the Fraim Club’s Services. She has an extraordinary commitment to service and is always there as a listener, a teacher or just a friend. Rosemary has truly been a blessing to every child at the club and her hard work and dedication is an inspiration to all. 
 
Name: Karyn Wilson
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Robyn Flickenger and Ellen Coulston
 
Coach Karen is an inspiration and the number one supporter to the youth of Bowlerama.  Over the past 30 years, Karyn has dedicated her time and heart to children ages 7 to 18 by encouraging them to participate in a sports activity that builds healthy bodies and develops positive self-esteem. Karyn has high expectations for her youth bowlers and their parents and supporters. She generously gives her time and her good thoughts to all those who need it. She is a great role model as she selflessly gives to others.
 
Kent County
 
Name: Judy Saladino
Category: Health
Nominator: Terry Schrenker
 
As a Meal Mates volunteer, Judy Saladino offers her time and personality selflessly to patients at Bayhealth Hospital. Her people skills and the way she treats volunteers makes her one of the most valuable of the hospital’s volunteers. She has the ability to visit a sick and depressed patient and by the end of the visit she has that patient smiling and laughing. Her leadership, dedication and innovation make the job she does seamless and also inspiring to her fellow volunteer workers.Bayhealth is lucky to have such a unique individual serving its patients.
 
Sussex County
 
Name: David Christy
Category: Arts & Culture
Nominator: Edna V. Ellett
 
David embodies the mission of Coastal Concerts, which is to promote appreciation and enjoyment of classical music in Southern Delaware. Through David’s innovation and leadership as president of the organization, Coastal Concerts has thrived and matured. As a direct result of his tireless efforts, the organization reached a 25 percent growth in revenue while maintaining steadfast dedication to cultural enrichment.
 
 
Name: Dara Hearn
Category: Education
Nominator: Lauren Grise
 
Dara Hearn is one of the finest volunteers in Delaware schools. She has a vigorous yet quiet approach to supporting education for children. Since 1998, Dara has turned parental responsibility into a labor of love, not only for her children but all children. Dara serves as the President of the PTO at two schools and still finds the time to volunteer in multiple classroom roles.
 
Name:  Sallie Forman
Category: Environment
Nominator: Nancy Cullen
 
Sallie Forman founded Save Our Lakes Alliance in 2004 in response to community outcry against development at Lake Comegys, which would have had serious environmental impact on the lake and the community. Sallie has been the organizing and energizing force behind SOLA 3 since its inception. She devotes at least 20 hours a week to saving, restoring and improving lakes in Sussex County. Sallie is seen as an outstanding community leader whose commitment is never waning.
 
 
Name:  Dianne Twining
Category: Environment
Nominator: William Koth
 
Since 2008, Diane Twining has taken on a large number of diverse projects at Trap Pond State Park. She is always eager to help with any task that is given to her, and is a trusted and dedicated member of the volunteer staff.  Each year, she commits at least 6-7 months at the park. In an average year, Diane will facilitate more than 250 park programs, helping more than 1,500 park visitors. Diane is not just a volunteer, she is a mentor and inspiration to those she works with and assists.
 
 
Name: Marie McIntosh
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Dede Johnston
 
For more than 34 years, Marie has been devoted to serving Delaware’s children and adults with disabilities and their families. She has impacted hundreds of athletes and their families, as well as hundreds of Delaware volunteers who have become involved with Special Olympics. Her leadership and dedication have contributed to the growth of this extraordinary program. Marie’s bright spirit and endless energy affect everyone around her and Special Olympics is truly lucky to have her.
 
Name: Pat Short
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Pat and Myra McCormick
 
Since moving to Sussex County in 2004, Pat has been an active volunteer in fundraising and leadership for programs such as the American Red Cross and the United Methodist Church. Pat’s strongest assets are her outstanding leadership, creativity and a unique ability to raise funds for an organization with integrity, believability and success. She is an innovator whether she’s leading a group or volunteering for an organization.
 
 
Group Winners
 
New Castle County
 
Name of Group: DBCC’s Great Stuff Savvy Resale Volunteer Team
Category: Community Service
Nominator: Dale Maahs
 
Unlike your average consignment shop, Great Stuff thrives solely on donated items and is staffed by only two employees. The rest of the staff are all volunteers. The shop operates as a fundraising arm for the Delaware Breast Cancer Coalition (DBCC) and has raised more than $90,000 in two years. In the fiscal year of 2011/2012, Great Stuff Volunteers logged more than 3,000 hours of their precious time.  The DBCC is very fortunate to have dedicated volunteers in our community who not only give their time, but also help to raise awareness and funds.
 
 
Name of Group: Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.
Category: Community Service
Nominator: Kevin F. Kelley, Sr.
 
Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (DST), Wilmington Alumnae Chapter, has more than 60 years of service to the local community. In the last year alone, this group has served more than 500 people and contributed more than 8,000 volunteer hours. DST is an organization of predominantly African-American, college-educated women whose purpose is to provide assistance through established programs in New Castle County. Through the organization, services provided include mentoring, leadership development, academic enrichment, healthy lifestyles, suicide prevention, HIV education and awareness, financial literacy, college preparation and career exploration.
 
Name of Group: Beth and Brian Engler
Category: Education
Nominator: Carla Markell
 
Over the past seven years, Beth and Brian Engler have opened their homes to countless Odyssey of the Mind teams as both coaches and mentors. What started out as a way to stay connected to their children turned into a lifelong dedication to volunteerism and to the Odyssey of the Mind program. Together they have served more than 2,000 hours to the Odyssey of the Mind Program and the children involved. Beth and Brian, who feel that they are blessed to be able to coach these teams, say the lessons they learn from the children are far greater than the ones they teach. 
 
 
Name of Group: Department and Health and Social Services- Garden Projects for People with Physical and/or Mental Disabilities
Category: Environment
Nominator: Faith Kuehn
 
These dedicated nominees have participated in a wide variety of horticultural activities to create gardens where people with physical and/or mental disabilities can relax, learn and rejuvenate themselves. The volunteers are truly committed, putting in more than 500 hours this year alone.  Since 2010, the work of these volunteers has been indispensable in the progress of some key projects that include establishing therapy gardens for the DPC and establishing a sensory garden for the Division of Visually Impaired. These volunteers bring a wide range of talents and expertise
 
Name of Group: Secret Garden Volunteers
Category: Environment
Nominator: Marcia Stephenson
 
The Secret Garden Volunteers have been delivering educational programming about our environment to the Ministry of Caring Daycare Center students for the past 16 years.  Every Friday, a group of seven volunteers spend time in either the classroom of the day care center or right down the street at the Secret Garden. They create programs for the whole year that teach the children about our natural world through classroom or hands-on learning. Since the program’s inception, more than 6,000 volunteer hours have been served to this educational and rewarding.
 
 
Name of Group: The Alternatives to Violence Project
Category: Social Justice/Advocacy
Nominator: John Shuford
 
The Alternatives to Violence Project (AVP) is an all-volunteer program that changes attitudes and transforms lives. It is primarily a prison-based program using outside as well as inmate volunteer facilitators. It is considered by many to be the most effective program at helping inmates change their lives and life styles. In its 24-year history, AVP has helped more than 4,000 participants, and has had contributions of more than 8,200 outside volunteer hours and 29,550 inmate volunteer hours.
 
Kent County
 
Name of Group: Advancement through Pardons and Expungements
Category: National Service
Nominator: Sonia Aguilar
 
Criminal history is known to be a barrier to employment with one out of every four persons possessing a criminal background. Developed in 2011 by three AmeriCorps Vista members, the Advancement through Pardons and Expungement (APEX) program assists individuals with the pardons and expungement process. The service is free and completely run by 11 volunteers. Each volunteer has received extensive training and, since February 2012, they have helped more than 110 people.  More than 1,500 volunteer hours have gone into this project, which will now be expanded statewide.  The three Vistas that created this program were focused, hardworking and have demonstrated excellent work ethic.
 
Sussex County
 
Name of Group: Historic Lewes Farmers Market
Category: Community Service
Nominator: Nancy Chirdon Forster
 
The Historic Lewes Farmers Market was founded in 2006 to provide a unique public service with the overriding goal to support local agricultural and improve the quality of life in Southern Delaware. The nonprofit group founded a traditional farmers market that runs late spring through early autumn. This group is run entirely by volunteers whose numbers have grown to more than 200. These volunteers gave more than 3,700 hours of their time last year alone. The market has provided a family-friendly, community gathering place for consumers to be able to purchase the freshest affordable food. 
 
Name of Group: The Marine Education, Research and Rehabilitation Institute Volunteers (MERR)
Category: Environment  
Nominator: Susan Fewell
 
MERR volunteers respond to stranded whales, dolphins, porpoises, seals, manatees and sea turtles, which may be injured throughout the waters of Delaware at any time of day and in any kind of weather. Without the volunteers, the costs of this program would fall on the shoulders of the Delaware taxpayers. The trained volunteers are located throughout Delaware allowing for rapid response when marine mammals or sea turtles are in distress. Since 2000, more than 120 volunteers have contributed more than 105,000 volunteer hours of service.
 
Name of Group: Nanticoke Creekwatchers
Category: Environment
Nominator: Beth Wasden
 
In its fifth season, the Nanticoke Creekwatchers Citizen Water Monitoring Program continues to enroll citizen scientists throughout the watershed in a rigorous water monitoring program. The volunteers remain the only regular water quality monitors throughout the Nanticoke Watershed and they are the eyes and the ears of the community. Creekwatchers volunteers serve more than 700 hours a year performing water monitoring services for a total savings of more than $15,000 per year.
 
Name of Group: Sussex County Habitat for Humanity Family Services Committee
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Kevin Gilmore
 
The family services committee serves to support low-income families in Sussex County in search of affordable housing and community services. This is accomplished through outreach, education and recruitment, providing continuous support to Habitat partner families and homeowners. This year alone, the volunteers have served more than 2,000 hours. They are inspiring as the “behind-the-scenes” source of strength and the foundation of our families’ success.
 
 
Name of Group: St. Phillips Youth Host Group
Category: Human Needs
Nominator: Kevin Gilmore
 
St. Phillip’s Episcopal Church Youth Host Team has been and continues to be the strongest partner in Sussex County Habitat for Humanity’s youth program. The church opens its doors to house groups of up to 30 college and high school student youth groups who come from all over the country to serve Habitat work sites in Sussex County. They go above and beyond providing a place for the students to rest and recoup after a hard day on the build site. Since 2009, their hospitality helped contribute to the building of 34 homes.    
 
 
 
Name of Group: Delaware SPCA, Sussex Chapter Volunteers
Category: Other: animal welfare
Nominator: Christina Motoyoshi
 
The volunteers serve in a variety of areas that include animal care and husbandry, socializing and exercising the cats and dogs, assisting at low-cost vaccine clinics, transporting animals and countless other jobs.  Currently, there are more than 75 volunteers who serve more than 1,000 volunteer hours a month. Their efforts have helped match loving families with homeless animals, and have assisted Delaware residents in accessing low-cost spay/neuter and vaccine clinics for their pets to stay healthy. The enthusiasm and support of the volunteers keeps the staff and the clients motivated, which in turn makes the animals happy.
 
Statewide
 
Name of Group: Reading Assist Institute Volunteer Tutors
Category: Education
Nominator: Sue McGrath
 
The Reading Assist Institute (RAI) Volunteer Tutoring Program is unique in that volunteers provide small-group tutoring during the school day. Tutoring takes place in partner elementary schools, and struggling readers are placed with tutors at the recommendation of the school staff.  The volunteers in this program make a long-term commitment and receive more than 40 hours of intensive training, working at least one and a half days per week. During the 2011/2012 school year, 131 volunteer tutors served on 41 teams throughout Delaware at 36 different schools, tutoring 224 students. The volunteers also completed a staggering 2,536 hours of additional training, not including the 8,199 tutoring related hours. The volunteers are knowledgeable, prompt and professional, and impact the lives of Delaware children in all three counties.
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