Charis Health honors outstanding volunteers

Sinclaire Sparkman • Updated Nov 11, 2017 at 9:00 AM

Supporters of Charis Health Center gathered Thursday evening at Venue 142 for the nonprofit’s fourth-annual Founders Awards Ceremony. 

“Charis could not do what we do without our volunteers, so that’s what really makes our organization unique,” said Executive Director Lea Rowe. “From our front reception to our doctors are volunteers, this is a night that we really get to honor them for all of their sacrifice.”

Charis Health Center provides free healthcare for people who do not have health insurance. It is a volunteer-based organization with only one paid employee. The Founders Award Ceremony was created to remember those who built the organization from the ground up ten years ago. 

“When I started about five years ago, I saw this really neat opportunity with this group of individuals in the community who just saw a need and acted. They didn’t wait on funding. The didn’t wait to become 501(c)3. They just saw a need and they wanted to jump at it. So I thought it was really a necessity to focus on those core founders of the organization and honor their legacy by creating awards in their name so every year we can remember where we’ve been and also look to the future in where we’re going,” Rowe said. 

Dinner was served, and a silent auction was held to support the nonprofit organization. Awards were given to seven outstanding volunteers. 

The David Rhodes Legacy Award is a rare honor, and before the event had only one past recipient since it’s origin five years ago. The award went to Shirley Whittaker, who is retiring from the organization in December.

“Through thousands of hours over the past ten years, this individual is a testament to why Charis has been able to serve the thousands of lives since its inception. Their attention to detail, their courage to stand for their beliefs, their heart for service, and true heart and soul of the cause, it is with great honor, that we present, Shirley Whittaker, with the David Rhodes Legacy Award,” Rowe said.

Stacy Gee was awarded the Corinne Van Buren Visionary Award. The award is for one who “provided insight, dedicated service, and invaluable contributions toward the ongoing success of Charis Health Center. They bring creativity, and hard work to the marketing and fundraising side of Charis,” Rowe said. 

Cheri Mann was presented the Jim Webster Mission Supporter Award for her willingness to serve where needed and tireless prayers for the organization and patients. 

Mark and Candace Gilligan were awarded the Kelly Meneely Organizational Support Award, for their tag team effort in the daily chores of the organization.  

“They worked countless hours from working reception, to nursing, to praying with patients. They continue to show dedication and compassion to the not only the patients and the organization,” Rowe said.

Robbie Weitlauf was awarded the Shirley Whittaker Community Service Award. 

“For the next awardee, commitment and passion comes to mind. This person goes above and beyond the call of duty day in and day out for the mission of Charis. This person has shown dedication, perseverance, and passion to serving the needs of patients,” Rowe said.

Lynn Turner was awarded the Janice Durnberger Leadership Award.

“This person countless times has stepped up to the plate to fight for Charis and provide leadership even in the hard times. They have shown outstanding performance through their leadership, integrity and service to Charis Health Center,” Rowe said. 

To learn more about Charis Health Center, visit charishealthcenter.org.

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