FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ten local citizens were honored by the Council of Churches of the Ozarks and City of Springfield as the Volunteers of the Year at the annual Gift of Time Awards on June 24. Nominated by various nonprofit, public, and service organizations, these 10 recipients were selected from a pool of nominations based on their unique efforts and time given (two were selected from the 21-under Youth Category). All the nominations received were judged by an impartial team of business and civic leaders.
Since 1991, the City of Springfield has recognized exemplary volunteer efforts in the area. This year’s luncheon was held at the Ramada Oasis Convention Center. All the nominees were invited to attend, with the winners being announced for the first time at the ceremony. Beyond being recognized, the winners will have their portraits on display in the Rosanna Bradshaw Memorial Wall of Fame at the Busch Municipal Building—a wall specifically created for Gift of Time recipients.
This year’s recipients and their nominating organizations are:
Barbara Hover- Greene County Medical Society Alliance and Community Partnership of the Ozarks
This recipient is the quintessential definition of giving back to your hometown. As an Ozark native since her teens and with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from Missouri State, this nominee has spent her entire life providing education and awareness on a myriad of medical issues for youth. Focusing on this past year, the nominee served as the 89th President of the Missouri State Medical Association Alliance. Under her tutelage and direction, a DVD program called Pills are NOT a Party won a national award. Knowing how impactful this DVD was, she authored and won an $8,000 grant that enabled the distribution of the DVD to all 50 states. As a result of her work, the Greene County Medical Society Alliance honored her by creating a named award for her outstanding contribution to community health issues
Barbara has also been a part and led the Springfield R12 PTA, is a sustaining member of Junior League of Springfield, was the former City Coordinator for the Reading is Fundamental project, served two terms on the Board of Springfield Regional Opera, currently serves on an advisory board for the Community Partnership of the Ozarks, and so much more.
Beth DeHaven- Safe to Sleep
Nominated by the Safe to Sleep organization, this nominee has risen above and beyond her peers. For over a year now, she has spent many overnights ensuring safe sleep for homeless women and their belongings. She cheerfully serves in whatever capacity—whether it’s setting up the shelter, welcoming guests, serving food, or dealing with individual problems like ambulance calls.
In Springfield, food insecurity is asocial issue that is gaining a lot of attention. Beth, beyond her work at Safe to Sleep, has been an advocate for hunger issues in the Ozarks for several years. As a local chairperson for Bread for the World, she’s put in unknown hours working to feed people in need locally, nationally, and internationally. You can even find her in our state capital, shedding light funding and programming opportunities for hunger related issues. She is the organizer for the annual Crop Walk in Springfield which has raised over $125,000 fight hunger locally and globally.
David O’Dell- Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation
There are just as many different ways to volunteer, as there are causes to volunteer for. This nominee has taken one of the paths less traveled to give back to the community—the political path. This nominee has positioned himself as a leader in the political arena, giving him an insight into the workings of government, and most importantly, the intricacies of funding issues. He currently serves as the VP of the Board for the Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation, where he advocates for low income families in the area. He has also served as the Chairman for the Metro Credit Union Board.
David has a unique passion and gift for fundraising. He was the past President, yet still an active board member, for T.A.R.G.E.T—a political fundraising group. He’s taken initiative by organizing the OACAC Greene County Scavenger Hunt that raises money for low-income families in crisis situations. He also actively participates in the Price Cutter Charity Championship Golf Tournament by seeking sponsorships, selling sweepstakes, and spending hours manning the event.
Karis Agnew- Ambassadors for Children
This nominee’s “conservative” estimate for volunteer hours for the past three years totals over 800. As a full-time student with a part-time job, this nominee has still found time to detect areas of growth, problem solve, and create solutions for Ambassadors for Children. She has discovered and implemented a new way for the organization to track its clients, among other ideas that have brought about a culture of efficiency and technology.
Beyond all this, Karis' ability to cast vision and develop new programs sparked the creation of her own nonprofit organization—Wammin¿a verb that means “to score service hours”. Wammin’s mission is to assist and connect motivated students with organizations searching for reliable volunteers. This has been an incredible and much needed resource for the community.
David Pierce- Child Care Aware and Community Partnership
In organizational culture, we use the term “vision” to abstractly describe plans for the future. This nominee took that abstract term of “vision” and made it literal—by providing free eye exams for the homeless population for the past five years. When the Child Care Aware and Community Partnership organization asked him to be a part of the first Hope Connection event in 2009, he quickly discovered that his unique educational background and skills gave him the ability to serve the homeless community in a powerful way. From that point on, he has not only selflessly given his time, but has brought others along with him by recruiting other optometrists, his own staff, and equipment free of charge. This effort has brought the gift of vision to hundreds of homeless in the area.
David has also offered free services to area child care providers at the Southwest Missouri Child Care Provider Health Conference. His loyalty to enriching the lives of the Ozarks with the gift of sight is something to behold.
Karla McHaffie- Beyond the Walls Oil Change
In today’s society, we are seeing more and more single women having to support themselves and their children. A demographic that is often overlooked by more typical volunteer efforts, Central Assembly of God, and more specifically this nominee, have gone above and beyond to make sure that single moms in the area are kept running through “Beyond the Walls Oil Change” monthly outreach. Karla literally keeps the outreach going by coordinating the schedule, supplies to serve breakfast, snacks, and drinks for the ladies, and craft ideas for the children while they wait. Since 2008, she has fielded over 1,000 phone calls, but knowing that simply isn’t enough, has kept in contact with the women with follow-up phone conversations throughout the month. She selflessly sacrifices her time, supplies, and even finances to ensure the success of the outreach.
Tara Venable- Ambassadors for Children
This nominee’s achievements can simply be summed up by the words of Walt Disney: “If you can dream it, you can do it”. Her social awareness and drive to see the immediate world around her change reveals a maturity and dedication beyond her years, and an earnest desire to make a difference. This desire has led her to launch a Stop Bullying Club at her school, send donations to the Back to School Pack Bus Drive, create cards to send to veterans on Veterans Day, bake and deliver Christmas cookies to ten neighbors, and if those weren’t enough, help prepare dinners for a local foster family of ten.
But what really sets Tara apart is her organization of a donation drive to stuff backpacks full of hygiene and comfort items for foster care children called Pack-a-Bag through Ambassadors for Children. Over 1200 items were donated by her class. But that wasn’t enough for her. She daringly applied for the Disney Channel’s Friends for Change Grant where she beat out thousands of applicants all across the country and was selected to receive a grant of $500 for Ambassadors for Children to use towards the program. Because of her efforts, State Representative Lynn Morris and Senator Jay Wasson hoped on board to support. At her young age, Tara has already developed an empathetic desire to help those less fortunate
George Deatz- Springfield-Greene County Park Board
Springfield is known for its beautiful greenery and exceptional park and gardens. This certified Master Gardner nominee is one of the instrumental figures behind all this. As one of the founders of the Springfield Botanical Gardens, he pioneered Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, Springfield Botanical Gardens, and the Springfield Botanical Center which are all three recognized by Trip Advisor as the #1, #11, and #20 attractions respectively. These are just 3 of over 30 gardens he has provided vision for while serving on the Board of the Friends of the Garden.
In response to funding cuts for University of Missouri-Greene County Extension, George proactively established the Friends of Greene County Extension to raise funds to keep MU’s Extension viable. Because of this, staff’s jobs were saved, and the vitality of the agricultural community, gardeners, the Springfield-Greene County Botanical Center, and the Springfield Botanical Gardens were kept alive.
Jill Bright- CoxHealth Volunteer Service
Understanding the intrinsic value that we place on homemade items, this nominee has donated over 5,000 hours to Cox Health in a variety of ways. Most recently, she has served as the Sewing Projects Coordinator. She makes sure that the monthly sewing days are organized and the workers are in the right place. Under her leadership, the program last year produced 545 comfort blankets, 450 heart pillows, 1,610 eye pillows, 250 baby caps, 75 Afghans, and 220 caps for cancer patients. She even is the driving force behind the Diaper Bank which collects and distributes diapers to families that need help.
Jill’s love for newborns extends beyond the hospital as she lent her time to Newborns in Need and the Pregnancy Care Center. She says she loves being able to use the talents that God has given her to help others. And although she was never this busy before she retired, she has never had so much fun!
Barbara Cosby- Long-Term Care Ombudsman Program
This nominee is the epitome of our Gift of Time award. Since August 26, 1994, this nominee has been an active volunteer at the Willard Care Center. While volunteering, she quickly realized that the residents needed someone who could speak on their behalf and help them voice their concerns when necessary. Despite her own health issues, she has faithfully attended to the needs of the residents by attending resident councils, appearing at special events held for the residents, and attending Ombudsman in-service trainings and conferences to stay current on the issues that affect those she serves.
While the monetary value of her visits have exceeded over $64,000, the value Barbara places on those residents is priceless. Here long-term dedication to the Willard Care Center has made her an example of how a volunteer can continue to shape lives over the years.
The other nominees and their corresponding nominators are:
Anne Baker- History Museum on the Square Janis Creek-Elise Crain Don Shawley- Malissa Shawley Danny Lee Henderson- Marcia Jean Osifo Dan Wichmer- City of Springfield Carol King- Pregnancy Care Center Kim Wrinkle- Sunshine Elementary School Cassandra Siperko- Springfield-Greene County Health Dept. Donna Cole- Crosslines Dan Liles- Springfield Conservation Nature Center Maryann Harter- Springfield Conservation Nature Center Karen Lawrence Burmood- Anonymous Barbara Dobey- CoxHealth Volunteer Services John Gentry- Lost & Found Grief Center Dalene Doman- Ambassadors for Children Dennis and Molly Edwards- Schweitzer United Methodist Church Kathy Risdal- Karolyn Holdren Kerry Miller- CoxHealth Volunteer Services Marci Bowling- Junior League of Springfield Bill and Lindy Williams- Boys & Girls Club - Musgrave Unit Daniel Slattery- Central Key ClubFOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
All the nominees, Volunteer of the Year recipients or not, are true examples of what it means to be a citizen that selflessly gives their time and energy to help those around them.
For more information, please contact: The Rev. Mark Struckhoff Executive Director Council of Churches of the Ozarks 862.3586 ext. 223 | email@example.com.