Individual, Groups, Businesses to Receive Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Awards at Jan. 18 Virtual Ceremony

NEW CASTLE (Dec. 10, 2020) Twenty-one individuals, seven groups and two businesses will be honored with the 2020 Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Award during a virtual ceremony at 7 p.m. Jan. 18, 2021. The recipients will be recognized for significant contributions, engagement and impact in diverse activities.

More information about the virtual event will be announced closer to the date. The names of all 2020 award recipients will be recognized at 7 p.m. this Friday, Dec. 11, during a Facebook Live presentation on the Volunteer Delaware Facebook page.

“It is indeed a privilege to honor these individuals, organizations and businesses for their selfless work on behalf of others,” said Gov. John Carney. “Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, this year has been an especially trying one. That’s made the work of our volunteers all the more important and valued. I deeply appreciate the effort they put forth every day throughout our state to make Delaware stronger and a better place to call home.”

The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards, administered by the State Office of Volunteerism, honor the contributions of individuals and groups in Delaware that have made a positive impact in their communities or across the state through service and volunteering. The awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Department of Health and Social Services, Division of State Service Centers, State Office of Volunteerism, and the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.

“I salute these worthy recipients and all those who volunteered their time and energy this year to help improve the health and well-being of their neighbors in need,” said Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Molly Magarik. “The coronavirus pandemic has brought special hardships for many of our residents in 2020, which is why I am doubly grateful for the generosity and unselfish commitment of these volunteers.”

This year’s award categories were updated to allow for a broader range of volunteer service and to give the selection committee greater flexibility in evaluating the projects performed by the nominees, said Kanani H. Munford, Senior Administrator for the State Office of Volunteerism and the Executive Director of the Governor’s Commission on Community and Volunteer Service. “This update increases the diversity of volunteers considered and allows for a more inclusive experience for all involved.”

Here are the recipients of the 2020 awards:

Paul Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award

Mary Grampp-Brown (Kent County)

Mary Grampp-Brown portrait
Mary Grampp-Brown has served as a volunteer with the Poultry Department at the Delaware State Fair for more than 25 years.

Mary Grampp-Brown has served as a volunteer with the Poultry Department at the Delaware State Fair for more than 25 years. During the annual event, Mary spends 24 hours a day either on site at the fair or on call to support the volunteers who help care for the animals in her department. Her efforts help maintain a healthy and safe environment for the poultry being exhibited, teach young people about feeding and handling techniques and demonstrate safe poultry handling to the public. Mary’s commitment is vital to the Poultry Department’s operations at the fair and allows people of all ages to enjoy and learn from the exhibits.

Emerging Volunteer Leader

Toby French (New Castle County)

Toby French was elected to lead the Delaware VOAD (Voluntary Organizations Active in Disaster) in March of 2020, just before the declaration of the State of Emergency for the COVID-19 pandemic. Having previously served with Team Rubicon, Toby was the right leader to connect and support the organizations who have responded to support Delawareans through the pandemic while also facing a record-setting Atlantic hurricane season.

Kristyn Ehleben (New Castle County)

Kristyn Ehleben has worked with Brandywine Creek State Park in virtually every capacity, including leading adult and youth volunteer teams in conservation and stewardship of the park. Her leadership led to the installation of a native pollinator garden that supports research on the habits of pollinators in our area.

Shamiya Gould (New Castle County)

Shamiya Gould has used her strong leadership skills to eliminate barriers for underserved moms in Wilmington. She bridges the gaps between community partners and the underserved population by focusing on ways to reduce infant mortality and increase breastfeeding rates in Delaware.

Maureen Griffith (Sussex County)

Among her many volunteer roles, Maureen Griffith serves as a leader with the Joshua M. Freeman Foundation, where she leads the morning Young Audience series and facilitates free performances at the Freeman Stage for children and families. Maureen leads others by example, serving on the front lines in leadership roles and in the background with quiet determination to make the world a better place.

Active Duty or Veteran Volunteer

Michael “Sonny” Maiorano (Kent County)

While serving in the Delaware Air National Guard and working two jobs, Michael “Sonny” Maiorano manages to stay active as a community volunteer with a particular dedication to the Food Bank of Delaware. Even on deployments, Sonny is known to search for local organizations needing help; he has served with organizations including the Biloxi, Miss., chapter of Making Strides Against Breast Cancer, the Gulf Coast Center for Nonviolence, and the Blood Bank of Delmarva.

Jeremy Moore (Kent County)

A veteran of the 82nd Airborne Division, Jeremy Moore is the co-founder and executive director of More Than Fitness. Now in its third year, this organization focuses on teaching high school students self-confidence and trust through physical fitness and how to manage stress and negative emotions by practicing mindfulness and meditation. More than 100 Delaware youth have benefitted from participation.

Volunteer First Responder

William R. “Skip” Carrow II (Kent County)

Skip Carrow has been a member of the Clayton Fire Company for 41 years, during which he has led the company as its chief and president. He continues to serve the company as a driver for the equipment, as recording secretary, and through other activities. Skip also chairs the annual Smyrna-Clayton 4th of July Parade and the Clayton Christmas Parade.

Individual Volunteer

Linda Gaudet (Kent County)

Linda Gaudet is an active member of the Frederica Ladies Auxiliary. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Linda and another volunteer worked to help feed the seniors and other community members during the time that the Senior Center was closed. Because of her efforts, the Senior Center was able to provide meals to 1,800 vulnerable residents between March and August.

Mandy Slody (Kent County)

Mandy Slody is an active member of the Frederica Ladies Auxiliary and works with the Frederica Senior Center. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, Mandy and another volunteer worked to help feed the seniors and other community members during the time that the Senior Center was closed. Because of her efforts, the Senior Center was able to provide meals to 1,800 vulnerable residents between March and August.

Lisa Marie Rossi McCalister (Kent County)

Lisa Marie Rossi McCalister works to provide medical care to adult Delawareans who do not have medical insurance. In the hours outside of her regular full-time job at a local hospital, Lisa sees patients in person and by telephone to ensure that the people in her community have their health-care needs met.

Robert Wilhelm (New Castle County)

Robert Wilhelm devotes his time to documenting and preserving the history of Yorklyn through historical interpretation and research with Auburn Valley State Park. His work has included helping with planning committees, locating historical documents, evaluating and conserving collections materials, giving interpretive tours of various park spaces, and preparing material for social media posts.

Nathaniel Marks Sr. (New Castle County)

Nathaniel Marks volunteers his time to collect, transport and distribute food to those in his community faced with food insecurity. Nathaniel’s work helped feed more than 700 families in New Castle County since April 2020.

Pastor James E. Parker II (New Castle County)

Pastor James Parker is the Founder & CEO of Walking on Water. His organization runs a drive-through food distribution event seven days a week out of the Rose Hill Community Center in New Castle. On June 5, 2020, he gave away his 10,000th box of food.

Markevis Gideon (New Castle County)

Markevis Gideon’s NERDiT Now Foundation is on a mission to end the technological divide. Founded four years ago, the NERDiT Now Foundation has raised over $56,000, engaged more than 120 volunteers and donated 326 computers in nine cities and four countries to individuals and community centers.

Coby Owens (New Castle County)

During the COVID-19 pandemic, Coby Owens has spent countless hours handing out masks, cooking meals for neighbors, working with local officials to ensure the needs of city residents were met, and serving as a social justice advocate. Coby is the co-founder and CEO of the Youth Caucus of America, Inc., and the founder and president of The Owens Foundation, a developmental organization that conveys innovative and sustainable self-help solutions to further the fight against chronic hunger and poverty.

Rand McIlvaine (New Castle County)

Rand McIlvaine started rescuing birds as part of the team at Tri-State Bird Rescue in 2012 when there was a trumpeter swan entangled in fishing line at a local lake. Since then, Rand has spent more than 5,400 hours to support and protect the rescue and rehabilitation of native birds who are found injured, orphaned or ill.

Giovanna Andrews (New Castle County)

Giovanna Andrews founded Harper’s Heart in August of 2018. Her effort was to improve the services given to new and expectant mothers in need. After seeing a need firsthand, Giovanna has worked tirelessly to collect and distribute thousands of diapers and other baby essentials, baby furniture, DART passes and books.

Anna “Anne” R. Ward (Sussex County)

As a Delaware Hospice volunteer, Anne Ward transports patients to doctors’ offices for appointments, picks up necessary supplies, and serves as a respite worker for caregivers. Anne also has provided many meals for the elderly and those with disabilities and spends time sending letters and cards to the sick or lonely.

Aimee Isaac (Sussex County)

As a volunteer advocate leader with the Alzheimer’s Association, Aimee Isaac goes above and beyond in fighting Alzheimer’s and supporting Delaware families facing the disease. Aimee uses her passion, her story, her time and unique skills to influence policymakers to make Alzheimer’s and dementia a national and state priority.

Toni Short (Sussex County)

Toni Short runs a grassroots organization that provides a holistic, wraparound approach to get individuals and families experiencing homelessness back on their feet. Her efforts also support Sussex County Code Purple during the winter.

Nonprofit Volunteer Program

Changing Fates Equine Rescue Volunteers (Sussex County)

Changing Fates Equine Rescue of Delaware, Inc., is dedicated to locating abused and neglected horses and rescuing, rehabilitating, retraining and re-homing them. It is their mission to also provide sanctuary for horses that are not suitable for adoption. This important work is carried out by numerous volunteers who work to feed and care for horses, maintain the grounds and raise funds to support the effort.

Shepherd’s Office (Sussex County)

The Shepherd’s Office is a faith-based drop-in center for the homeless, hungry or lonely. Their mission is to provide an alcohol- and drug-free, supportive faith-based environment for people who have no family support, who are recovering alcoholics, recovering drug addicts, homeless, hungry or lonely.

Volunteer Group

YWCA Delaware Sexual Assault Response Advocates (Statewide)

Sexual Assault Response Advocate (SARA) volunteers are available 24/7 to assist survivors of domestic violence and sexual violence who are aged 12 and older and their non-offending family members when there is a need for medical, law enforcement or legal accompaniment. Volunteers offer support by 24/7 telephone Helpline, aftercare follow-up, and referral to resources for vital community services. In addition, SARA volunteer advocates readily offer community outreach and prevention education to encourage support to survivors.

Lori’s Hands (New Castle County)

The student volunteers with Lori’s Hands work with assigned clients battling a chronic illness to help with housework, meal preparation, grocery shopping, and other household activities. When the COVID-19 pandemic struck, volunteers temporarily transitioned to virtual and contactless visits, becoming a vital safety net for those who were among the most at-risk by helping arrange for grocery and supply deliveries and helping to relieve the isolation through regular calls and video chats.

Lunch With a Purpose (Sussex County)

Lunch With a Purpose was started in 2006 with the simple purpose of bringing ladies together each month for lunch while raising money to donate to a Sussex County nonprofit. In addition, they held a food drive during the luncheon with food donated to the Food Bank of Delaware. Around 200 women participate each month, and to date, Lunch With a Purpose has raised more than $250,000 for local charities while collecting tens of thousands of pounds of food for the Food Bank of Delaware.

Chicks For Charity (Sussex County)

Chicks For Charity organizes monthly fundraising dinners at no cost to selected nonprofits serving Sussex County. Over the past 10 years, volunteers Marcie Urgo and Keri Ainsworth have raised more than $128,000 to support local service efforts. Their program provides a vehicle for nonprofits, especially small, local nonprofits with a special niche, to raise critical funds to fulfill their missions.

Volunteers of the New Life Thrift Shop (Sussex County)

Volunteers of the New Life Thrift Shop receive donations and then sort, clean, repair, price, and sell them. Unusable items are sold to recycling companies such as scrap metal and worn clothing to a rag making company to garner more funds. Electrical items, such as lamps, appliances, electric wheelchairs, and sewing machines, are tested and often repaired. Nothing goes to waste. In 2019, the shop raised over $506,000 for service agencies in Sussex County that meet community needs.


Volunteer Brewing Company (New Castle County)

Volunteer Brewing Company was founded by the Schatz family, who chose the company name to honor their commitment to their community. Regular volunteer recruitment events are hosted at their site to help bring together local nonprofit organizations and interested volunteers. Their organized days of service have engaged the community in more than 1,000 hours of service.

Schell Brothers (Sussex County)

Schell Brothers launched “Project Kudos” to build positivity and show gratitude to people in the community. Shifting focus during the pandemic, the Project Kudos bus has donated more than 440,000 meals to members of the community and partnered with numerous school districts and organizations to support families throughout Sussex County.