This Fall we are grateful for the 2019 Governor's Service Recipients! In this month's blog, Lisa Tignor looks back on this year's Governor's Service Award Winners and shares their outstanding contributions to the state.
Prior to the Governor’s Service Awards on September 5, 2019, the Volunteer Leadership Awards were handed out to two deserving recipients. The Volunteer Leadership Awards are selected by Volunteer West Virginia’s Board and Staff to recognize special individuals and organizations who fly under the radar but have a significant and lasting impact on the state.
The Red Wagon Award - Mountaineer Food Bank
The Red Wagon Award is given to an outstanding organization devoted to improving the lives of young people by working to provide them with the key supports known as the Five Promises. These Five Promises are: Caring Adults, Safe Places, A Healthy Start, An Effective Education, and Opportunities to Help Others. This year the award went to Mountaineer Food Bank. Mountaineer Food Bank was created in 1981 in Gassaway, West Virginia. Their mission is simple: To feed the hungry in West Virginia & To engage our state in the fight to end hunger. The foodbank provides food and other household items to over 450 feeding programs in 48 counties in West Virginia. Over the years, Mountaineer Food Bank has become the largest emergency food provider in West Virginia distributing over 16 million pounds of food annually.
Volunteer Leadership Award - Wayne Worth
The 2019 Volunteer Leadership Award went to Wayne Worth. Armed with an endless love for West Virginia, Wayne’s passion stems from being adopted by a single father in Pocahontas County when he was 11 years old. Wayne shares his love of the Mountain State in countless ways. As President of the Adamston Lions Club, he has helped with many community service projects, which include vision screenings, feeding programs, neighborhood cleanups, fundraisers, and much more. A community leader, Wayne has helped to start two volunteer organizations: Neighbors In Action and Fairmont’s First Friday Arts and Music Series. Wherever Wayne leads, volunteers follow. His actions have inspired countless others to step outside and get involved in creating solutions in local communities. A true Mountaineer, Wayne Worth plans to devote his entire life paying it forward to the state he loves, West Virginia.
The annual Governor’s Service Awards showcase outstanding examples of community volunteer leadership so the public will appreciate the value of service. This year’s 8 recipients were honored at an awards dinner at the Culture Center at the Capitol.
Stephanie Santilli – Youth
In the Youth category, Stephanie Santilli, of Philippi, became a dedicated volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network a decade ago, after her uncle passed away from the disease. A tireless volunteer, Stephanie has helped pass two bills through Congress, has met with Federal Legislators, and has helped to coordinate special events throughout the state. Stephanie knows that Pancreatic cancer takes 91 percent of its victims within five years. Many people are unaware of this type of cancer, and Stephanie does everything she can to help. Click here
to see Stephanie's story.
Nancy Harris - Disaster Service
Nancy Harris is a living legend on the Greenbrier River Trail. Known as, “that woman you always see riding her bike,” she averages 50 miles a day, five or more days a week. In retirement, she has become one of the Greenbrier River Trail’s most devoted volunteers, helping to maintain 78 miles of trail in Greenbrier and Pocahontas counties. Armed with cleaning supplies on her bicycle, she even cleans the public restrooms! Click here
to see Nancy's story.
Mike Anderson – Adult
Described as the most active volunteer you’ll ever meet, Mike Anderson has dedicated hundreds of hours preserving West Virginia’s wildlife, and helping others in Charleston. From crawling on the forest floor at midnight searching for Cheat Mountain salamanders, to improving hundreds of acres of habitat by planting native trees, Mike Anderson has done it all. A dedicated volunteer, Mike travels to the Elkins area to monitor threatened and endangered species, conduct water quality surveys, run snorkeling programs, and much more. As a member of St. Christopher Episcopal Church, Mike also mentors area youth and introduces them to the world of conservation. Affectionately known as “Chef Mike”, he is well-known for his field trips and the delicious meals he prepares. Click here
to see Mike's story.
Jon Six - Senior
A local celebrity, Jon Six is a well-known volunteer and Parkersburg business owner. An advocate for many causes, his hair salon is constantly filled with donations for the hungry, homeless, children, and animals. When Jon Six hears about a challenge in the community, he does something about it. He rallies friends and supporters, and donations come pouring in. When he learned homeless individuals would have cold and wet feet during the winter, he started a sock drive. His goal of collecting 300 pairs of socks was exceed by over 2,000 pairs, and socks continue to be donated. He also participates in the Easter Seals Festival of Trees - Raising over $22 thousand dollars in one year alone! A true community champion, his kindness and dedication will have a lasting impact in the Parkersburg area. Click here
to see Jon's story.
Dementia Friendly St Albans - Group
When the citizens of St. Albans learned that over thirty-eight thousand West Virginians live with Alzheimer’s disease, they decided to do something about it. Together volunteers created Dementia Friendly St. Albans. In addition to holding free monthly meetings for the public, trained volunteers have also educated businesses, local police, and firefighters on how to support individuals with Dementia. Volunteers have also created “Please Be Patient” cards for caregivers to use in public places and stickers for homes to help first responders know that someone in the home has dementia. A true community effort, in only two years volunteers have managed to make St. Albans one of the very few cities in the country to become an official “Dementia Friendly City”. Click here
to see their story.
Zambito Family Dentistry – Business
Zambito Family Dentistry in Wheeling is constantly looking for ways to make West Virginians smile. Four years ago, the father and son team started a program to assist Veterans with a free day of dentistry. Through the program, the business has served over 260 Veterans and donated over $135,000 worth of dental treatment. Dr. Ric Zambito and Dr. Chris Zambito serve on multiple boards, volunteer at local youth camps and organizations, share their time to supervise dental students, and much more. Click here
to see their story.
Laura Greathouse - Lifetime Achievement
Armed with a caring heart and never-ending work ethic, Laura Greathouse has dedicated more than fifty years to improve the lives of others in New Cumberland and Hancock County. A beloved retired school teacher, she tutors students, helped to expand Energy Express to her county, started a summer school program with the help of friends and volunteers, teaches story hour, cares for elderly and homebound neighbors, and much more. Described as a “force to be reckoned with,” Laura Greathouse’s entire life has been one of exemplary service. She enriches the lives of others in unimaginable ways. Click here
to see Laura's story.
Robin and Lulu Mams – Family
A unique team, Robin and Lulu Mams serve West Virginia in a variety of ways. Robin is a certified therapy dog trainer and Lulu is a therapy canine. Together they provide cheer to the mentally ill, disabled, seniors, Veterans, children, and hospice patients. Robin and Lulu visit local organizations at least two times a week. In her spare time, Robin also volunteers as a golf instructor for youth, facilitates substance abuse recovery support groups, assists with literacy activities, and much more. Click here
to see their story.
Don’t forget that the Governor’s Service Awards are an annual event so watch for the new nomination forms in the Spring and nominate that wonderful volunteer you know!