Not all 'vols' wear orange, but in times of emergency, or when something needs sprucing up, volunteers get things accomplished. Tuesday night, many were recognized at a big United Way banquet. Our Jed Mescon of Eyewitness News Today emceed, and we wanted to share a few of their stories.
It is National Volunteer Week and the United Way of Greater Chattanooga pulled out all the stops, Tuesday night, to celebrate the people who have made a difference for others. In 2013 alone, the United Way co-coordinated nearly 24,000 volunteers for numerous projects around the region. "These people are giving so much time," said Kelley Nave of the United Way. "In terms of time, last year these volunteers that you're seeing here today, gave 75-thousand hours; volunteer hours, just out of the goodness of their hearts."
Why? For Mike Davis, it is the joy of coming to the aid of a fellow human being at Ronald McDonald House. "I get the personal enjoyment of getting to help people," he said. "They are in need. They're emotionally tight and we try to help them relax; be with their families."
Young Arthur Lebovitz enjoys the friendships he makes at the Boys and Girls Club. "Now, it feels like I'm a part of them," he explained. "Like, I know their names and stuff and it's really fun."
Janet Logan is inspired by the adults with whom she works at Signal Centers. "I watch people with such disabilities that I shouldn't complain about anything," she said. "The determination and the happiness that they have is amazing."
There is a job and a role for anyone who wants to help. And, for so many of the area non-profits and charities, volunteer help is invaluable to their operations. "Without our volunteers, we could not care for the animals that we do," said Jeanine Cloyd of the Humane Educational Society. "They come in and they bring enrichment to them. We have dog walkers, cat cuddlers, volunteers come in to work events. It's amazing what our volunteers do to help our animals."
In all, over $1.6 million worth of free labor was donated by area volunteers in our area to build and rebuild the community through non-profits. "And you really can't put a price tag on that," Nave said.
Truly, all the volunteers are winners and we do appreciate what they do, but the United Way crowned their Volunteers of the Year at the banquet. A list of nominees and winners follows.
Volunteer Center's Volunteer of the Year Award Nominees
Corporate Volunteer of the Year Nominees
Southern Adventist University
La Paz De Dios
Belk Hamilton Place
2013 Community Volunteer of the Year Nominees
Candlelighters Family Support Group
Ashley & Katelyn Ferrell
Charlie Mae Hurt
Jim F. Wade
2013 Emerging Volunteer of the Year Nominees
GPS & McCallie Community Service and Student Councils
**McCall Morgan & Harper Caswell**
2013 Heath & Environmental Volunteer of the Year Nominees
**Mike Davis & Pat Roza**
2013 Youth Program & Education Volunteer of the Year Nominees
UTC Lady Volleyball Student-Athletes
Margaret B. Nelson