We all know them – the people who always seem to be busy organizing meals for a family that’s going through a rough patch, or the retired neighbor who seems to be anything-but-retired because they’re busy driving someone to an appointment or reading to a child at school. These are the individuals who literally “grow our community” and make it the place we all want to be.
The Golden Heart Volunteer Celebration is held each April and coincides with National Volunteer Week. This event celebrates volunteerism in Door County and allows us to thank some of our most generous volunteers for the countless hours they give.
The Golden Heart is awarded to individuals and groups who are doing ordinary things that make an extraordinary difference in the lives of those they touch. These are not individuals who volunteer for the recognition. They volunteer because they are committed to improving the lives of those around them.
Last year, 31 individuals and groups were nominated for the Golden Heart Award in five categories: adult, arts & culture, group, youth and lifetime of service. The work that these volunteers do is nothing short of incredible, and one is hard pressed not to be motivated to get out there and help as well.
Imelda Delchambre, winner of the Adult Golden Heart, was honored for her work with the hundreds of Hispanic residents in Door County and referred to as a “guardian angel” as she helps the needy. Delchambre collaborates with at least 15 service organizations and has been an integral part of helping Hispanic families secure employment and housing.
Kaaren Northrop, winner of the arts & culture category, was honored for her work leading the Door Community Auditorium as a volunteer interim director. Northrop took on all of the duties of director while running a family business of her own. The auditorium was able to continue operations and even thrive under her leadership.
The group award winner was Altrusa of Door County for their efforts in promoting literacy through numerous projects including “Read to Me” and their annual Back to School Fair. In 2010, 325 students were outfitted for the first day of school with new backpacks, clothing and supplies all due to the efforts of this incredible organization.
MaryCaroline Georges was honored as the youth winner for her ongoing volunteer efforts with numerous non-profits, emphasizing that everyone can do something. Georges volunteers at local assisted living facilities as well as helping serve meals at the Loaves and Fishes Meals Ministry.
George Husby was awarded the prestigious Lifetime of Service Award for the thousands of hours given to youth baseball in Door County. At age 19, Husby began coaching Little League baseball teams and later took on all of the administrative tasks involved with youth baseball in the county. Husby has been at the helm ever since.
These volunteers represent just a small sampling of the generosity of Door County residents. Volunteers truly “grow our community” and make it a beautiful, healthy place which we are proud to call home.