United Way names volunteers of the year at annual dinner

Cheryl Thompson-Stacy

The outgoing president of Lord Fairfax Community College, Cheryl Thompson-Stacy, was named volunteer of the year for her leadership roles, including chair of the United Way Board of Directors in 2015 and serving as a member of the Board of Directors of the Top of Virginia Regional Chamber of Commerce.

She wasn’t able to attend the dinner Thursday, so a cardboard cutout of her was brought onstage while staff held a microphone to her papered face. Thompson-Stacy delivered her acceptance speech via a pre-recorded audio message, though she apologized if she appeared “lifeless and expressionless.”

“My contributions have been a labor of love for me to serve the United Way in a variety of roles over the past several years. All of us want our community to be the best, most supportive and productive community possible,” Thompson-Stacy said. “I’m thankful and I’m grateful to be a small part of (United Way’s) wonderful, outstanding accomplishments.”

The next award was the youth volunteer of the year, which was presented to John Handley High School senior Mark Matsenov, 16, whose family emigrated to Winchester from Russia three years ago. In Russia, he said, “the whole idea of community service certainly does not exist to the (extent) it does here.”

Now, Matsenov volunteers with the Rotary Club of Winchester, the United Way, Bright Futures, Salvation Army, Rise Against Hunger the SPCA, local soup kitchens and Relay for Life.

Matt Matsenov

After reading off the list of organizations Matsenov worked with, Frederick County public schools superintendent David Sovine went off-script to say, “How do you find the time to do all of this, Matt? It’s impressive.”

“Coming from a different country to a whole new county and society was difficult,” Matsenov said, but through the John Handley Interact Club, the youth service arm of the Rotary Club, he said he began making connections and communicate with passionate people involved in the community.

“Before Interact, I would think that waking up at 5:30 in the morning, on a Saturday, just to unload Rubbermaid products from trucks for a fundraiser, was completely absurd,” Matsenov said. He added that his mother, who drove him to these fundraisers at 6 a.m., “deserves some special award.”

The evening’s awards were broken up by rounds of “Are You Smarter than a Board Member,” in which the emcee donned a fake mustache to channel his inner Jeff Foxworthy and asked the event’s attendees questions related to United Way’s 2017 operations.

Awards were also distributed to the organization’s campaigners.

Employee campaign coordinator of the year went to Trex Company Inc., which raised more than $180,000 in 2017.

Campaign volunteer of the year went to Denise Snapp of City National Bank for her charity work and volunteering efforts.

Rookie of the year went to Millie Thompson of United Bank, who led One Black Dress, an initiative that challenged community members to wear one set of clothing for a week to raise awareness for people in poverty. The program raised $8,000 in 2017.