Volunteer Award Winners Recognized
The county commissioners were shaking paws as well as hands at their Monday meeting.
Therapy dogs who serve patients at St. Joseph of the Pines were among the honorees receiving 2010 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards during the board meeting. The awards are administered by RSVP (Retired Senior Volunteer Program).
“This is surely a first for Moore County,” said Tim Lea, chairman of the Moore County Board of Commissioners.
The 16 dogs, accompanied by their human volunteers, were present in all shapes and sizes and waited patiently through a series of opening rituals before their turn came.
Therapy Dogs Internation-al Inc., St. Joseph of the Pines Assisted Pet Therapy volunteers, won in the group category this year.
They were among five award winners, including Judie F. Wiggins, winner of the Medallion Award, which goes to the highest scoring nominee. She will represent county volunteers at the state level.
Wiggins won in the director of volunteers category. Director of volunteers for Habitat for Humanity, she is credited with initiating a volunteer base that has grown from fewer than 100 to more than 350 active volunteers since she joined the Habitat team in 2002.
Her accomplishments include implementing team builds, volunteer appreciation meals, a quarterly newsletter, and the online Volunteer UP software program.
“Others never fail to recognize her positive spiritual presence, caring and deep commitment. Humility might be her greatest asset,” said Nancy DeVine, who made the nomination. “She likes others to shine, but it’s her flashlight that’s making it happen.”
Wiggins was also recognized for her work with Loblolly Garden Club.
Albert Everette, winner in the faith-based category, has volunteered at Penick Village for the past 11 years, missing no more than two days.
Everette offers a musical ministry that has reached many Penick residents who have difficulty with communications. Aaron Dye, who made the nomination, cited an example in which Everette’s musical encouragement spurred one formerly reclusive resident to reveal her own musical gift and even to engage in conversation with others.
“Mr. Everette has spent countless hours loving and nurturing residents of all abilities by looking into their eyes and seeing them as a gift that God has given the world,” said the nomination.
James Kilpatrick, 85, a Habitat volunteer for 18 years, won the lifetime volunteer category. Judie Wiggins, who made the nomination, said Kilpatrick “has been an integral part of over 170 Habitat home builds, and to the many homeowners whose lives he helped change, he is truly ‘Mr. Volunteer’.”
Kilpatrick began volunteering as a construction worker with Habitat, where he made improvements to exterior metal work. Wiggins said he was always looking for cost-effective ways to work and earned the nickname “Tin Man.” His other volunteer service is with the Chapel in the Pines, PGA and LPGA tournaments.
Stephanie Carey, winning for perseverance, has volunteered with the Habitat Moore Store since 2005.
When a massive stroke sidelined her, Carey underwent extensive therapy for paralysis to her left side, but Wiggins, who also was her nominator, reports that the intrepid volunteer worked her way up to an average of 1,600 hours a year.
Wiggins reported that Carey found a niche for her creative, caring and organizational abilities that were developed into the store’s toy and children’s department.
“Stephanie’s wisdom and leadership has gained the respect of her fellow volunteers and Habitat staff who are always seeking out her help in improving the store’s floor plan and appearance,” Wiggins said.
The nomination of therapy dogs for the group award opens with this question: What has 16 noses, 32 ears, 104 legs, and logs more than 1,500 hours of volunteer service each year?
Jeralie Andrews, who made the nomination, reported that the dogs and their humans make weekly visits to St. Joseph to provide emotional support and companionship to nursing home residents and Therapy Village patients and staff. The dogs are all certified by Therapy Dogs International Inc.
“These gentle companions whose listening skills are unmatched bring big smiles to long faces,” the nomination said. “A once-sleeping patient responds to a gentle prod. This tactile influence is very important to non-respondent residents. Soon the dog is stroked, patted, kissed, hugged and just plain loved.”
Andrews accepted the award on behalf of the canine volunteers.
“For volunteers, staff and residents alike, joy is found at the end of a leash,” said the nomination in summary.
The therapy dogs also volunteer for Friend to Friend and the Moore County Schools.
All of the volunteers, including the dogs, were received with a standing ovation and all made the rounds of the commissioners’ desks for handshakes and, in a few cases, pawshakes.
Shiela Klein, RSVP director, and Bob Sasser, chairman of the Moore County RSVP Advisory Council, made the presentations.
The five award winners were chosen from 15 nominees.
Under questioning by the commissioners, Klein reported that the service provided by RSVP volunteers, if paid the going rate, would exceed $1.3 million in value a year.
RSVP is an arm of the Moore County Department of Aging.
Contact Florence Gilkeson at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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