Simpson turns love of reading into volunteer opportunity

Staff Reports • Updated Nov 29, 2017 at 12:00 PM

Editor’s Note: The following is one in a series of stories highlighting past Wilson County Governor’s Stars Awards nominees. The deadline to nominate volunteers for this year’s class is Dec. 15. To nominate a youth or adult volunteer, visit lebanondemocrat.com/gvsa.

Peggy Simpson has volunteered with Wilson Books from Birth for as long as it’s been around in Wilson County. 

The program started in July 2005 in Wilson County when the Dolly Parton Imagination Library was replicated as Wilson Books from Birth.

“I grew up a block from the library and rode my bicycle there almost every day to check out the books,” said Simpson, who serves as the director of Wilson Books from Birth. “I have always loved reading. Reading is a passion. As an adult, I can see the value of reading. It is a lifetime skill. Everything we do depends on reading.”

Wilson Books from Birth sends free, high-quality, age-appropriate books to children whose parents sign up for the service each month from birth until they reach 5 years old. 

“I saw it as opportunity to get books in the home, encourage parents to read with their children and instill a love of reading in children at an early age,” Simpson said. 

And because of her volunteerism, Simpson was nominated as a 2015 Wilson County Governor’s Volunteer Star and went on to represent the county at the state awards. 

“I was honored to be nominated,” she said. “But, I saw the nomination as recognition of all the volunteers who help with the Imagination Library program in our community.”

Wilson County is currently accepting nominations for the 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Star Awards, and there’s an easy way to nominate a worthy local volunteer.

The annual award recognizes “outstanding volunteers from each of Tennessee’s 95 counties,” according to the Volunteer Tennessee website.

“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 Wilson County committee member John McMillin. 

Nominations for youth and adults may be made. Nominations for Wilson County honorees will be accepted through Dec. 15. At that time, a committee will go through the nominees and select one youth and one adult to send on to the state level, but all of the nominees will be honored locally.

“The deadline to get them in to the state is Dec. 30,” McMillin said.

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 someone for a Governor’s Volunteer Star Award. Nomination forms may be picked up and dropped off at various sites, including the United Way office, the county mayor’s office, the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce office, the Watertown Public Library and at The Lebanon Democrat office. Again this year, nominations may be made online at lebanondemocrat.com/gvsa. 

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

Participating counties, including Wilson, will name one outstanding youth and one outstanding adult volunteer. Those named a 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Star will gather in Franklin in February to be honored and celebrate volunteerism in Tennessee.

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