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Felkins: Volunteer a little time to honor our top volunteers

dfox • Nov 28, 2015 at 6:00 PM

“Each one of us can do a good deed, every day and everywhere. In hospitals in desperate need of volunteers, in homes for the elderly where our parents and grandparents are longing for a smile, a listening ear, in the street, in our workplaces and especially at home.”

— Shari Arison, Israeli businesswoman

So who helps the volunteers? In a way, that’s where I come into play. I’m part of a committee that serves solely to honor volunteers in Wilson County. It’s called the Governor’s Volunteer Star Awards, and Wilson County is part of several counties across the state that participate in a effort to honor top volunteers in our communities. 

“We know the value of calling attention to someone’s service and sacrifice; the military does this extremely well, but even in the military, someone has to submit the proper paperwork in order to recognize that special someone,” said fellow Wilson County committee member John McMillin. “Honestly, nominating someone for outstanding volunteer service isn’t a lot of work to reward someone’s dedication, hard work and creativity.”

So why am I telling you all this? Our committee seeks nominations for our annual awards banquet. What’s great about this program is every volunteer nominated is honored. 

Nominations for youth and adults may be made. Nominations for Wilson County honorees will be accepted through Monday. At that time, our committee will go through the nominees and select one youth and one adult to send on to the state level. That’s another great part of service on this committee. We get to go through all of the nominations and pick one adult and one youth. 

It’s also quite grueling and a responsibility we don’t take lightly. 

Participating counties, including Wilson, will name one outstanding youth and one outstanding adult volunteer. Those named a 2015 Governor’s Volunteer Star will gather in Franklin in March to be honored and to celebrate volunteerism in Tennessee.

McMillin, who is executive director of United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland, said, “from my standpoint I’m thankful for a volunteer no matter what level.

“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with volunteers in this county who are simply amazing. I’m happy to be working with the county mayor and our local Volunteer Stars award committee to search these people out and be able to give some recognition where it is truly deserved.”

Anyone can nominate a Volunteer Star. Nomination forms can be picked up at various sites, including the United Way office, the county mayor’s office and at The Lebanon Democrat office.

For the first time, nominations may be made by filling out an online form at lebanondemocrat.com/GVSA_YOUTH for the youth form and lebanondemocrat.com/GVSA_ADULT for the adult form. Links can also be found at the lebanondemocrat.com homepage.  

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to nominate volunteers for this deserving honor in Wilson County,” McMillin said. 

The Wilson County awards ceremony will be in January where all of the nominees will be honored.

Want to know the most surprising part? At last check, nominations were few and far between. We want to change that this year. Don’t you?

Please volunteer a few minutes of your time this weekend and tell us about the volunteer you know in your life. Maybe it’s a family member or a friend. Maybe they do a little or go all out in their service to their community. 

Young or old, we’re looking for more than a few good volunteers. 

Jared Felkins volunteers his time to honor volunteers, which is really cool. He’s also editor of The Democrat. Email him at jfelkins@lebanondemocrat.com and follow him on Twitter @paperboyfelkins. 

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