Local organizations and the Inter-Service Club Council got together at Old Town Hall, Wednesday, July 26, to celebrate the work of dedicated volunteers in the community by recognizing many individuals as volunteers of the year.
The council is an organization that fosters communication between the different service organizations in the area, said Tina Cunningham, secretary. The organizations send a representative to the monthly service council meetings to bring each other up-to-date on the happenings in each group. The council accepts nominations from each service organization around this time each year for its volunteer of the year awards. The nominees are in fact the winners, since there is no competition once they are selected by their respective organizations.
“We never turn anybody down,” said Cunningham.
Beth Monroe attended the awards representing the Chocolate Lovers Festival Committee. She helped the committee with accounting work and prepared materials for its annual outside review of books and records.
“It was very thoughtful of them to recognize me,” said Beth Monroe, a winner for her administrative work for the Chocolate Lovers Festival Committee.
MANY OF THE WINNERS, like Monroe, served the community in behind-the-scenes operations. From office work, to fund raising, the volunteers contributed their time to best serve each organization for which they worked. Karen Stevenson, president of Historic Fairfax, Inc., nominated Paige Johnson, the city’s commissioner of the revenue, for his work writing and editing the organization’s newsletter four times a year. People look forward to reading the letter, said Stevenson, because of Johnson’s commitment to capturing the true history of the city.
“I think it’s a superior newsletter,” said Stevenson. “He more than deserves that award.”
Each service group has its own criteria for selecting a volunteer of the year winner. Some of the organizations follow a calendar year, and others follow a fiscal or academic year. A person with the most hours of service isn’t necessarily going to win; it just depends on the group’s selection process.
“It’s up to each individual organization to determine how they want to honor their people,” said Cunningham.
For many organizations, the selection process can prove to be difficult, said Irby Hollans, a longtime volunteer in the city. “Picking a volunteer among volunteers is sometimes difficult,” said Hollans.
Hollans won the volunteer of the year award this year for his work with the Rotary International Club in Fairfax and also for his work with the Inter-Service Council. Hollans said many say they consider him “the glue that holds the organization together,” as put by his nominator, William Trent, president of the inter-service club. After retiring in 1995, Hollans began his service as secretary for both the rotary club and the inter-service club. Ten years later, he still loves what he does and has no plans to quit.
“I don’t really have anything else to do,” said Hollans. “It’s not like I’m going to go out and be in a triathlon or something.”