Every year, Hanover County recognizes a number of its most outstanding volunteers at its "Spirit of Volunteerism" Celebration. The 2019 celebration was held on May 14 at Hanover High School.
Judges selected the following volunteers for a 2019 “Spirit of Volunteerism” award:
- Sophie Ward won the “Spirit of Youth” award. Sophie developed an educational presentation about anxiety and depression that aligned with the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOL) for health education and met with school staff to present the program to all eighth graders at Oak Knoll Middle School.
- Anthony Keitt and Mary Anne Taylor received “Spirit of Dedication” awards, given to a volunteer aged 60 or over. For the past three years, Anthony has served as the Youth Program Leader at Circles Ashland where he facilitates trainings on a weekly basis for students in middle and high school. Mary Anne has given countless hours of service using her talents to crochet beautifully vibrant blankets and matching hats to donate to patients in the Medical Respiratory ICU at VCU Health.
- Randy and Christin White received the “Spirit of Family” award. The Whites founded Love of Learning (LOL), a nonprofit organization created to help low-income families and their children improve their reading skills. They are have served over 2,000 low-income youth in central Virginia and have donated over 10,000 books through their program.
- The “Spirit of Team” award was presented to Moments of Hope-Pantry Volunteers. Moments of Hope has 190 volunteers who have logged approximately 3,000 hours at the pantry, serving 120 people per week, including many who are homeless.
- There were two “Spirit of One” winners, David Fuller and Teresa Lopez de Oscanas. David is involved with numerous organizations, including serving as the Mechanicsville District’s representative for the Parks and Recreation Commission and volunteering with special events such as the Tomato Festival and Spooky Fun Fest. Teresa volunteers for the Hanover Preschool Initiative and helps with translation serves for members of her community, including starting an English as a Second Language class in the Sedgefield neighborhood.
- Shannon Lawson received the “Spirit of Inspiration” award, which goes to an individual who has volunteered for 20 years or more within a specific organization. Shannon is a mentor and leader for youth on the Rocky Ridge Riders (RRR) 4-H Club, serving as a hands-on role model who uses horses as the vehicle to teach responsibility, character, and integrity. Her program has served model for approximately 500 Hanover youth over the past two decades.
- Bass Pro Shops Ashland won the “Commitment to Community Award”, established to honor a Hanover business that exemplifies strong community values and a sustained commitment to supporting the community. Bass Pro Shops has supported the Arc of Hanover by hosting the Taste of Hanover, which is their annual fundraiser.
- Judges for the event also presented a “Judge’s Choice” Award, a new award created to recognize a group or individual nominee that made a significant impression on the judges during their deliberations. Winning this award was the Dover Men in Ministry Team. For more than 25 years, the Men in Ministry, whose members range from 60-80 years of age, have built ADA compliant ramps for residents of Hanover and beyond. These men work on the ramp projects rain or shine twice a week! In the past five years, the team has built 374 ramps, removed 129 ramps, and repaired approximately 50 ramps.
Last year, volunteers in Hanover collectively contributed over 304,000 hours of service valued at over $8 million!
“Hanover’s spirit of volunteerism is part of every facet of our life,” Board of Supervisors Chairman Canova Peterson told the attendees.
Andrew Freiden, meteorologist and executive weather producer for WWBT-12, was the guest host for the event, and “Patrick Henry” made a guest appearance to inform attendees about plans for the celebration of Hanover County’s 300th birthday in 2020.