Regional philanthropists celebrated at awards luncheon

Members of the Blue Knights motorcycle club of West Virginia, winners of this year's corporate philanthropist of the year award at the Association of Fund Raising Professionals luncheon Friday, stand with Sydney Barbour, winner of the youth philanthropist award and Christine Andreae, winner of the individual philanthropist award. Back row, from left to right: Greg Bishop, Bill Shoop, Ron See, K.C. Bohrer, Gary Harmison, Ron Emmons, Mark Schill, and Larry Renner. Ashley Miller/Daily

WINCHESTER – More than 20 outstanding volunteers from tri-state non-profits were recognized Friday at the Association of Fundraising Professionals National Philanthropy Day luncheon.

Non-profits including Hospice of the Panhandle, Shenandoah Valley Discovery Museum, Handley Regional Library, Rotary Club of Martinsburg and Appalachian Trail Conservancy nominated special volunteers who have helped further the mission of each non-profit during the last year.

Berry Lee with WINC radio station emceed Friday’s luncheon. “One of the reasons I do this, it’s for a selfish reason really, is the energy in the room,” Lee said. “You walk away feeling so good. Because you’re literally surrounded by angels.”

National Philanthropy Day is a special day celebrated on Nov. 15 every year. The purpose  is to salute the contributions of philanthropy and those individuals active within the philanthropic community who enrich the community. National Philanthropy Day is intended as an opportunity to reflect on giving and all that it means to those involved.

Non-profits from the tri-state region — Virginia, Maryland and Delaware — nominated one outstanding volunteer per agency. It’s not a competitive process, as each volunteer received a medallion, corsage/boutonniere and photograph for her dedication. Also recognized at Friday’s luncheon were: Sydney Barbour, as the leading youth philanthropist, Christine Andreae as the outstanding individual philanthropist, and the Blue Knights of West Virginia as top corporate philanthropists.

Andreae thought she’s received more than she’s ever given. “Berry said we kind of wear golden halos but, what we get back are some of the richest things I’ve ever done in my life,” Andreae said.

Andreae has always had a passion for volunteering. In the early 1990s, she began her journey at Blue Ridge Hospice volunteering with dying patients. Her experiences led her to write her book “One Women’s Death — A Hospice Volunteer’s First Case.” Her book broke barriers as people began to realize what it was like to not only be a volunteer, but the fears of dying and terminal illness. ” In terms of growth, I’ve learned more than I ever thought possible. It’s been a wonderful journey,” Andreae said.

 

The Blue Knights, a group of more than 75 motorcycle enthusiasts whose mission is to help the community and state, won the philanthropist of the year award. For many of its members, the experiences have been blessings. “We’re just a bunch of guys that ride motorcycles,” member Mark Schill said.

In the past decade the Blue Knights have raised nearly $120,000 for Hospice of the Panhandle as well as funds for Main Street Martinsburg as a result of the group’s annual Bike Night rally in August. They also support other important causes, including raising funds for the flood victims in West Virginia, a 5k race called “Blue Lives Matter” to honor area law enforcement and hospice care.

Sydney Barbour, of Winchester, winner of this year’s youth in philanthropy award, has been giving back for as long as she can remember. She’s collected items for Toys for Tots, supported and volunteered with the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals and sponsored an angel from the Salvation Army’s Angel Tree. “One year I decided I didn’t want gifts for my birthday. Instead I asked my parents and friends to gift me items I could give to the local SPCA,” Barbour said. “And I’ve been giving back ever since.”

Barbour’s biggest accomplishment was raising more than $25,000 with the support of 20 other teenagers and leaders for a mission trip to Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands this past summer. Barbour’s most recent project is seeing ways to support those in Virgin Gorda affected by both Hurricane Harvey and Maria.

Barbour received a $500 scholarship that she will be putting toward her freshman year at Liberty University, where she will be studying sports management with a minor in business.

“The people that step up and give themselves is such a blessing,” Lee said. “The world needs more of them.”

An additional 22 other individuals were recognized for their distinguished volunteerism in the community.

The Association of Fundraising Professionals Tri-State Chapter sponsored and hosted this event.

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