It goes without saying that none of the almost 400 nonprofit agencies that Door County houses could do the work they do without the support of their volunteers. They are the backbones of these organizations, the “worker bees” so to speak. An evening honoring their service barely scratches the surface of the incredible, inspiring work that they do.
This past April at the 11th Annual Golden Heart Volunteer Celebration, more than 300 guests were truly inspired by volunteers and their stories of the work they love. Each year I walk away from this event, termed the “feel good event of the year,” thinking, ‘I need to do more.’
Susan Johnson, winner of the Adult Golden Heart, was honored for her work with Door-Tran Transportation Services. Susan also volunteers with Door CANcer, Loaves & Fishes Meal Ministry, Door County Habitat for Humanity, the American Red Cross, Door County Habitat for Humanity and the Arise Bereavement Support Program.
Jon and Leslie Gast, winners of the Arts & Culture category, were jointly nominated for their work with the Door Community Auditorium as “Event Captains” and the Door County Maritime Museum managing their volunteers, manning food stands and working at parades and festivals.
The Group Award winners were Lois Rice, Lucille Sohns and Pat Loomis of Bargains Unlimited. These ladies exemplify volunteers that inspire us to do more. Between them, they have contributed more than 2,000 days and 7,000 hours volunteering for Bargains Unlimited at Good Samaritan-Scandia Village.
Three youth scholarships were awarded to Samantha Paider, Ali Sommerfeldt and Sarah Waldron. Paider assisted at the YMCA, Red Cross, Salvation Army, her church and the Family Centers of Door County. Sommerfeldt has actively volunteered through 4-H and her church. Waldron teaches intergenerational healthy lifestyle classes, tutors, teaches art classes and is a volunteer soccer coach.
Dave Pape was awarded the prestigious “Lifetime of Service” award for his extensive work with the Kiwanis Club. Pape volunteers at the fish frys, the annual Christmas party for the Boys & Girls Club and helps with the annual picnic for a skilled nursing facility. He also assists as a homework helper, a peer companion and works to fundraise for numerous other Door County organizations.
Since 2003, 330 individuals and groups have been recognized as Golden Heart nominees. Through the Golden Heart Award recipients, 46 Door County agencies have been awarded $41,000 and an additional $3,000 has been given in academic scholarships.
For more information on the Volunteer Center and its Golden Heart Volunteer Celebration, contact Pam Seiler, executive director, at (920) 746-7704 or [email protected].