NASHVILLE, TN (WRCB) -- Betty Paris and Victoria Karmauch were honored Monday night at the fourth annual Governor's Volunteer Stars Awards Program in Nashville.

According to state generated statistics, Tennessee has about 1.3 million volunteers.  The Governor's Volunteer Stars Awards Program is an initiative from Volunteer Tennessee that seeks to recognize outstanding volunteers from each of Tennessee's 95 counties. 

Each county mayor is asked to select their most deserving adult volunteer and youth volunteer to represent them in this program.   Betty and Victoria were chosen from a wide pool of nominations submitted to Mayor Jim Coppinger's office and chosen by a committee.

Mayor Coppinger says, "Those who benefit from volunteer service understand its value as a true gift from the heart.   We're very proud of our two award recipients."

Governor's Volunteer Stars Award Winner:  Hamilton County
Adult Division Winner:  Betty Paris – Greater Chattanooga American Red Cross

Betty Paris has served as a dedicated volunteer at the Greater Chattanooga Area American Red Cross since 2007.  As a Registered Nurse, she uses her skills in many ways and serves in two key roles:   a Health Services Volunteer and a Disaster Action Team Dispatcher.

As a member of the Disaster Action Team, Betty responds at all hours to aid families affected by flooding, house fires and other disasters by arranging immediate food, shelter and clothing.  Between emergencies, Betty works to update volunteer health forms and keep shelter supplies fully stocked so that the Chapter is always prepared to respond at a moment's notice.

During the deadly tornadoes that swept through southeast Tennessee last April, Betty was instrumental in dealing with those clients most affected by the disaster;  families who had suffered the loss of a family member.  She counseled them, assisted them with their immediate needs, arranged financial assistance, and provided a compassionate shoulder to lean on during their initial grieving.

In her role as a Health Services Volunteer, Betty utilizes her R.N. training to assist clients in filling lost prescriptions and taking care of other immediate medical needs that result from a disaster.  Also a certified CPR instructor, Betty has taught many area children life-saving skills during the popular Red Cross Babysitter training courses.

Betty Paris recently received the Red Cross "Caring Samaritan Award" for her sincerely generous service and dedication to the organization.

Governor's Volunteer Stars Award Winner:  Hamilton County
Youth Division Winner:  Victoria Karmauch – Samaritan Center

Victoria was led to become a volunteer at the Samaritan Center after participating in a Ukrainian Bible study at her church earlier last year.  As the group focused on the last few chapters of the Bible (1 & 2 Timothy, Colossians, and Hebrews), Victoria began to notice a theme of helping others and putting your neighbor before yourself. She challenged the other girls in her group to put their beliefs into action and commit to volunteer work. 

Victoria, a junior at East Hamilton High School, recruited other students including her bible group, and continues to mobilize them in working one night a week sorting clothes at the Samaritan Center in Ooltewah.   The Samaritan Center is a non-profit social services agency that provides emergency assistance with food, rent, prescriptions, and utilities. 

The center also operates a Thrift Shop, a Clearance Shop, and a Toy Connection along with sponsoring health events as ministries to the community. Because of her passion to help and ability to lead, Victoria and her group have volunteered over 65 hours since September

Victoria has also volunteered at the Special Olympics, the Ronald McDonald Children's Festival and at numerous programs in her church.   When asked what she enjoys most about volunteering, she replied, "Honestly, I like making others happy and knowing that I am doing something to help others really makes me feel good.  I don't feel like this is something I have to do or something that I do half-heartedly; I want to do it.   I want to live my life not only thinking about myself and all my goals but also including and helping others, even if I never meet them."