Sixteen honored at first annual Charles City Volunteerism award program
The definition of a volunteer is someone who takes time out of their day to help others by making a community better. While volunteers do not receive celebrity headlines or the hero title, Charles City’s First Annual Volunteer Recognition program made sure that the character of 16 individuals were recognized for their passion and love for their county.
More than a hundred people attended the April 6 recognition ceremony held at the Charles City Parks and Recreation Center. The program was a brainstorm of County Administrator Michelle Johnson, who said that these volunteers deserved to be honored for all they have done.
“One year ago, I had a vision and that vision took me into the boardroom where my staff was wondering what I was doing,” she said. “I wanted to make this program and recognize those who see this county and manifest it into a better and safer place.”
When Johnson’s vision set in place, she began organizing the program to recognize those who laid the groundwork for the next generation to succeed and give back to Charles City. The vision had highlighted moments and people were recognized for their humble contributions.
Louis Paige received the Spirit of Inspiration award. Paige has volunteered for the “Meals on Wheels” program based out over Westover Church for the past 20 years.
The next honoree was Walter Paige, who received the Spirit of Dedication award. He started the Missionary Kitchen at Buck Hill Hunt Club, which opens the last Wednesday of each month and provides an average of 180 meals per month to residents.
Herschel Jones became the recipient of the Spirit of One award. Working out of St. John Baptist Church, Jones operated a mobile food pantry that feeds over 100 families the first Thursday of each month. He also sets up tables and tents to help with the distribution process.
The Spirit of Family was presented to Jane and Clara Harris. Jane began tutoring struggling kids to help pull their grades up, while Clara volunteers with the Youth at Heart by assiting and transporting elderly citizens to health-related appointments.
The Spirit of Team award went to Reuben and Debra Smith. The group of Ingeborg Muschi Fisher, Tom Fenter, Doris Fulwider, Max Alves, Sherry Tyler, and John Tabb were awarded paperweights for their volunteer work at the Richard M. Bowman History Center since its opening in 1997 and assisted people with historical research.
The Spirit of Youth Award was presented to Taeshaun Johnson. Johnson volunteers at the recreation center and assists with cleanup after adult league games and helps the elderly with yardwork.
Cullen Jenkins was the recipient of the Commitment to Community award. Jenkins business, the Courthouse Grille, brings profit to the county while also making donations to scholarships and other local programs.
Volunteer awards were presented to Carolyn Bird from District 2 and Edna Bates of District 3. The two ladies’ unselfishness to assist the community through a variety of ways vary from picking up trash to assisting at events.
In the culminating presentation of the night, Capt. William “Joe” McCauley received recognition for his 42 years of service volunteering for Charles City County Fire and EMS. McCauley has spent numerous hours at the department in a variety of ways that include transporting patients to hospitals, assisting with the extinguishing of fires, and providing first aid care when necessary.
The night was filled with stars, but not like a movie in Hollywood. The real life everyday dedication of the people honored is something Johnson plans to continue to keep Charles City on the track to an optimistic and bright future.