Volunteers recognized for service

WINCHESTER — The Association of Fundraising Professionals Virginia Tri-State Chapter, representing 60 nonprofits throughout the region, honored 21 volunteers for their service to their organization and communities at the 14th Annual Distinguished Volunteer Recognition Luncheon on Friday.

The event brings together volunteers from the nonprofit community to commemorate National Philanthropy Day, which is recognized nationally on Nov.15. The event was the largest since its inception in 2000, with the venue being moved from the George Washington Hotel to the Millwood Station banquet hall to accommodate the more than 150 attendees.

Jennifer Grooms, the chair for National Philanthropy Day, said the luncheon is in its second year in honoring volunteers with a lunch and awards.

“It used be more of a day of education and inspiration for the local fundraising community,” Grooms said. “It has really shifted over to be a day of celebrating philanthropists in our community, whether they gave their time, their talent or their treasure.”

The Distinguished Volunteer awardees came from organizations from the Northern Shenandoah Valley, the Eastern Panhandle of West Virginia and the Hagerstown area of Maryland. Nonprofits in the area nominated individuals, couples or small groups of people for their service over the past year.

“It’s not a competition. If they submit someone’s name, they’ll get recognized,” Grooms said. “It’s our way of giving back as an association to our fundraising community because not all our organizations [have] the resources to conduct an award ceremony.”

The Individual Philanthropist of the Year Award and Corporate Philanthropist of the Year Award are chosen from the Distinguished Volunteer awardees.

This year Jim Wyatt and Kathy Clark, a married couple from Clarke County, were awarded the individual award for their 25 years of service with the Foundation of the State Arboretum. Wyatt and Clark have volunteered 20,000 hours to the organization and served on numerous committees and offices.

Wyatt said while he is happy to receive the award, he does not serve for the recognition.

“I just look at this award as a ‘good job’,” Wyatt said. “I’m glad to be recognized, but there are so many more volunteers who put in years of service. It takes all of us together to make nonprofits run.”

According to Wyatt, he and Clark donate and volunteer for the foundation because they want future generations to experience it.

“It’s a beautiful place and the research concerning the environment is first class there,” Wyatt said. “We want to keep this going for generations to come.”

The Corporate Philanthropist of the Year was awarded to the Winchester Medical Center Auxiliary. Founded in 1902, the foundation raises money through the hospital gift shops, its Lights of Love program and fundraising events such as the New Year’s Eve Balls to the Follies. Since 2001, the organization has raised more than $2 million for the WMC. Currently, the foundation is raising money for the construction of a cancer center in Winchester.

Becky Armstrong, who accepted the award on behalf of the auxiliary, said this award does not just recognize the organization’s present efforts.

“We’ve been around for 112 years and our organization touches many people in the community,” Armstrong said. “This award isn’t for the past year. It’s recognizing how much we have done throughout our history.”

According to Armstrong, the award will also raise the organization’s profile in the community.

“This award will let everyone know that we are an organization who makes sure every penny put in will go back to the community in a big way,” Armstrong said. “Over the next five years, we will be putting every dollar raised to the cancer center. This award tells community we can make that happen.”

According to Grooms, while these volunteers were recognized for their service, it is important for anybody who wants to give their time or money to a cause to do so.

“We need volunteers and fundraisers in every sector, from health care to caring for the homeless to the arts,” Grooms said. “If you have a passion, something you care about, go and support anyway you can.”

The following is a list of the 2014 Distinguished Volunteers, the nominating organizations and locations:

Becky Armstrong, Winchester Medical Center Auxiliary, Winchester

Bob Baronner, University Healthcare, Berkeley-Jefferson counties, West Virginia

Darcus Breneman, Lord Fairfax Community College, Frederick County

John and Joan Claybrook, Shenandoah Valley Westminster-Canterbury, Winchester

Paul Delmerico, Shenandoah University, Winchester

Dianne “Mama D” DeOms, Special Love, Inc., Winchester

Bill Dudley, Valley Health Page Memorial Hospital, Page County, Virginia

Vickie Elliot, Hospice of the Panhandle, Kearneysville, West Virginia

Betty Jean Fawcett, Museum of the Shenandoah Valley, Winchester

Kate Gregori, The Independent School of Winchester, Winchester

Mike Hornby, Rotary Club of Martinsburg, Martinsburg, West Virginia

Diana Kincannon, Barns of Rose Hill, Berryville

Maggie Lauria, Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries, Hedgesville, West Virginia

C.D. Linton, Panhandle Home Health, Martinsburg, West Virginia

Becky Linton, United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, Martinsburg, West Virginia

Joanne Lloyd, Shenandoah Area Council Boy Scouts of America, Winchester,

John Morrison, The Laurel Center, Winchester

Judy Paige-Grim, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Winchester

Thomas B. Riford, Hospice of Washington County, Hagerstown, Maryland

Frank Subasic, Valley Health War Memorial Hospital, Berkeley Springs, West Virginia

The Thursday Ladies, Blue Ridge Hospice, Winchester

Glenne White, Handley Regional Library, Winchester

Contact staff writer Henry Culvyhouse at 540-465-5137 ext. 184, or hculvyhouse@nvdaily.com