Vero News

Exceptional volunteers honored at Recognition Reception

VERO BEACH — The General Federation of Women’s Clubs (GFWC) Treasure Coast Women has traditionally recognized one annual Indian River County Woman of the Year.  This year, to celebrate its 30 year history serving Indian River County, organizers opted to invite other non-profit organizations and honor multiple hard-working volunteers.  Nineteen agencies took them up on the offer, and approximately 160 guests showed up Sunday evening to pay tribute at a Volunteer Recognition Reception at The Lakes of Pointe West.  

TC Women President Bobbi Burdick began the program after an initial mix and mingle period, where guests enjoyed entertainment by Kent Brown and an extensive buffet of hors d’oeuvres.

“You are the movers and shakers; you are the best,” said Burdick to a roomful of outstanding volunteers.  “You are the most community minded people I know.”

Burdick noted that the General Federation of Women’s Clubs is the oldest in the world, and that the Treasure Coast chapter, formed in 1980, has partnered with numerous other agencies.  She also recognized 95 year history of the Vero Beach Women’s Club, and the work done by its sister organization, the GFWC Sebastian Women’s Club.

Burdick introduced Vero’s own Alma Lee Loy as the event’s guest presenter who remarked, “I was elated that this organization had chosen to honor volunteers in such a special way.  The community would suffer; we would not be the same, without our volunteers.  It’s a real pleasure to be here and to be a part of honoring these special people.”

The first to be recognized was Hyacinth Brown of the GFWC Sebastian Women’s Club, whose volunteer activities have extended to numerous organizations, including the American Cancer Society, Habitat for Humanity, the VNA and Hospice, the American Red Cross and to the VFW Women’s Club.

The next honoree was Carol Johnston, who has served on the board of the American Red Cross-North Treasure Coast Chapter since 2004 and is a supportive and dedicated advocate of the Red Cross.

Care Net Pregnancy Center nominated Pat Sowley, RN as their honoree for her 13 years of committed service to their agency.

Paul “Butch” Redstone of the Indian River County Recreation Department was recognized for his tireless support the past four years at the Special Olympics State Aquatic Championship at the North County Aquatics Center.

The next honoree was Marene Graham of The Source who has volunteered the past five years in numerous capacities including as a receptionist, event host and client mentor.

Ida Clark was recognized for her industrious work in the kitchen of Our Father’s Table, helping to always put a meal on the table, no matter how empty the pantry.

Jerry McCown joined the Pink Ladies of the Indian River Medical Center Auxiliary in 1999 and took over the receptionist/escort program in 2001 where she heads up more than 100 volunteers who provide 11,725 hours of service a year.

Annie Grace Foster, a 25 year breast cancer survivor, was honored by the American Cancer Society for her efforts as chair of the Making Strides Against Breast Cancer walk the past two years.

Hibiscus Children’s Center recognized Jacquie Smith, a four-year volunteer, for her extensive recruiting efforts as well as her help at the Center.

Meteorologist and avid tennis player Brian Orzel was honored by the Vero Beach Recreation Department for his volunteer work helping with the City of Vero Beach Racquet Complex.

Youth Guidance recognized mentor Mike Gibbons, who serves on the advisory board and recruitment committee, and also photographs and writes bios for the Youth Guidance Gallery.

Mary Beth Vallar was honored by the Sun Up Center as someone who “epitomizes the definition of philanthropy,” serving as volunteer since 2002, and as board president since 2009.

Al Ebstein was recognized by the Youth Sailing Foundation of Indian River County, where he serves as volunteer treasurer. He also designed and built storage racks for the organization’s 8′ hand-built sailboats.

Art Ciasca, Safe Space’s Director of Development, accepted the award on behalf of Sherry Wilson, who chairs the organization’s Friends Committee, and also chaired the successful 210 Every Woman is my Sister Luncheon.

Jeremiah Moore was honored by the Gifford Youth Activity Center for the many hours he spends working to enhance the academic excellence of the children enrolled in programs at the GYAC.

The Vero Beach Theatre Guild recognized Madelyn Rogers, who first began as Guild volunteer in 1989 and serves as the makeup and hair chairman as well as the Guild’s social chairman.

Pam Schlamowitz of McKee Botanical Garden was honored for her work as a tour guide; children’s tours are her specialty where her contagious enthusiasm is immediately apparent.

Honoree Mary Jo Schneider began volunteering at the Environmental Learning Center as a greater, and now volunteers in all phases, including preparing students for visits; they have affectionately dubbed her the “Crab Lady.”

Tony Scalora was recognized by Indian River Habitat for Humanity as volunteering at least 7500 volunteer hours since 1990.  He is part of a front porch crew called the Tour de France because of their yellow volunteer t-shirts.

In concluding, Alma Lee Loy reiterated thanks for their efforts saying, “If we didn’t have the volunteers we have, the community would be in serious trouble.” {igallery 295}

Exit mobile version