This week I got a letter in the mail from Volunteer Northwest Mississippi saying I had been nominated for and selected to receive a 2012 President’s Volunteer Service Award.
After my initial “What the..?” I continued to read on. “The award is presented by Volunteer Northwest Mississippi, a volunteer center of the Community Foundation of Northwest Mississippi, in conjunction with the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation and the Corporation for National & Community Service.” Sounded pretty legit…
Apparently I (and a guest- my wife Nicki Workman) have been invited to a dinner next month in Hernando to receive a bronze President’s Volunteer Service Award pin, a certificate, and a letter signed by the President of the United States! The annual award is presented to recipients selected from nominations throughout the eight county service area of Northwest Mississippi- Coahoma County, Desoto County, Marshall County, Panola County, Quitman County, Tallahatchie County, Tate County, and Tunica County.
Pretty sweet! As I read it I felt just like Ralphie’s dad in “A Christmas Story“. I was completely surprised and honored, and not disappointed it wasn’t going to be a light-up leg lamp- but how cool would it be to have the President give out leg lamps..?!!
This weekend I opened the local paper and on the front page of “The DeSoto Time Tribune” there was a story on the volunteer awards!
It continued on page 2 with more award winners, and onto page 6.
And there on page 6 was ME! Yes, I am a media ho’!
Since moving back down to Mississippi (I went to high school here) I’ve volunteered to help with the Community Foundation of Mississippi‘s charity Crystal Ball (this year’s ball had a Star Wars theme!) and have become a member of the DeSoto Arts Council. I still help with the Haunted Web of Horrors haunted house in Memphis which benefits Youth Villages, volunteer with the Superman Celebration and Save The Massac Theatre in Metropolis, IL, am an active member of The Mid-South Cartoonists Association, and help out with the Ronald McDonald House of Memphis when needed (I won their Volunteer of the Year Award in 2001 & 2002). I also try to donate art to charities when I can. It helps raise money, and gets paintings out of the garage- which makes my wife happy!
And, hey- sometimes we get tickets to events, dinner and drinks, or just a fun night out. The Star Wars Crystal Ball and Orpheum auctions were some of my favorite this past year. I also enjoyed doing some art for the Mississippi Riverkings‘ “Assists For Autism” auctions.
I was born in the “Volunteer State” of Tennessee, and love volunteering, but it was a lot easier to do when I had a day job and “free time”. It was a great way to get out of the house, meet new people, and do something good around town. Now that I freelance, doing things for free has become harder to do. A lot of those things I’d volunteer for then I do to pay the bills now. So this past year or so I’ve had to pick and choose what I can volunteer time to do or what I can donate. I do hope to do more in the future- not for the “major awards”, but for the good feeling it brings when I’m volunteering. It’s well worth it, and I highly recommended it! (Links for some of the charities I volunteer for are on my links page.)
Not sure exactly who nominated me, but thanks to them and Volunteer Northwest Mississippi for my nomination and upcoming award. I am truly honored, and am looking forward to the awards banquet!
PRESIDENT’S VOLUNTEER SERVICE AWARDS BANQUET, MAY 1, 2012:
Please join us in celebrating our 2012 President’s Volunteer Service Award winners:
The Awards Banquet is May 1, 2012 at the Gale Center, 2601 Elm Street, Hernando, Mississippi and it begins at 6:00PM. Tickets are $20 per person and must be purchased by April 20, 2012. To purchase a ticket, you can call 662-449-5002 and pay over the phone or you can mail a check to the Community Foundation at 315 Losher St. Suite 100, Hernando, Mississippi 38632. You can also purchase tickets via PayPal.
This year’s speaker is Dr. Linell Fromm, the new Executive Director of the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits.