County recognizes outstanding volunteersWashington County took some time to recognize some top-notch community volunteers last week.
By: Hank Long, Woodbury Bulletin
Washington County took some time to recognize some top-notch community volunteers last week.
Three residents and one organization were honored at the April 21 county board meeting as recipients of the 2009 Community Involvement Awards.
The Community Involvement Awards program is co-sponsored by the county and Stillwater-based Community Thread (formerly Community Volunteer Service and Senior Centers).
Winners were chosen by a committee from among more than one dozen nominations in four categories: lifetime volunteer, outstanding volunteer, outstanding youth award and outstanding group award.
Community Thread executive director Valerie Jones said the winners are a “vibrant, powerful example of how volunteers connect us to our community.”
County commissioner Gary Kriesel said that one of the county’s strongest assets is its volunteers.
“And particularly, with this poor economy it’s more important than ever to see examples of great volunteers,” Kriesel said “We thank you for all you do for the community.”
• Lifetime volunteer: Jeannine Hoffbeck of Stillwater, retired 10 years ago and started volunteering at Valley Outreach Food Shelf, Courage Center and her church.
Friends call her the “Queen Bee” because of her willingness to help the food shelf in any way that is needed.
She coordinates the food shelf drive for her church, St. Michaels in Stillwater and also provides Meals on Wheels for adults in need.
Hoffbeck has drives several elderly people to church each Sunday.
She was nominated by her lifelong friend Dar Peterson who said about Hoffbeck that “she is always doing something for someone else.”
• Outstanding volunteer: Marie Bristol of Cottage Grove has been volunteering with the Tubman Family Alliance and Family Violence Network for 15 years. She started by answering crisis line phone calls between 40-80 hours month. Bristol has also helped raise funds for the organization by speaking to community groups about the importance of supporting the Family Violence Network.
She is an active volunteer with her church and collects supplies from congregation members to donate to Tubman.
Friends say Bristol, a former home economics teacher, has made volunteering her second career.
• Outstanding youth: Alexandra Richardson of Woodbury volunteers at the Children’s Museum of Minnesota in St. Paul and serves on the Community Youth Council of South Washington County.
Her colleagues at the Children’s Museum said they appreciate Alexandra’s willingness to help with anything and her ready smile.
With her work on the youth council, Alexandra reviews grants and helps plan youth activities such as the Daddy/ Daughter dance.
She also works at the Rainbow Kids Klub as a “teen teacher.”
• Outstanding group: The board of directors for the United Way of Washington County East was chosen as the outstanding group of the year because of the extra effort they made during a very difficult time for the organization, Jones said.
Board members, many of whom had full-time jobs, took on more than part-time roles as volunteers, often coming into the office daily to assist staff, board members said.
Newly hired United Way Washington County East executive director Marna Canterbury, who nominated the board for the award said, “during a time of great organizational transition, uncertainty, short staffing, and a difficult fund raising environment, they ‘stepped up’ in a way few boards would do.”
The board wrote grants, raised funds, encouraged staff, and filled the vacant role of executive director.