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Many hailed for community work
Award WEB
Linda Cole, David Tatum, Beth Buursema, right, accept an award for Childrens Healthcare of Atlanta at Forsyth. - photo by Crystal Ledford

Award recipients

Celebrated Community Volunteers:

• Larry Sturdavent, Abba House

• Kathy Kunz, Garden of Empowerment

• Terri Crowhurst, Forsyth County library system

• Linda Allen, Bald Ridge Lodge

• Nicole McCloskey, Headstart

• Megan Geren, Next Generation Focus

• Vickie Bolick, Supporting Adoptive and Foster Families Together

• Jean Shilling, Cedar Hill Enrichment Center

• Kristin McAfee, Jesse’s House

• Laura Wolf, Humane Society of Forsyth County

• Robin Nelson, Girl Scouts

• Dennis Lee, Court Appointed Special Advocates

• Brett Jordan, Mentor Me North Georgia

People in Action:

• Lisa Hawk, Ron Kraynick, dog Marley Myers (owners: Mark and Myrtle Myers), Suellen Daniels, States Wing and Jayne Inglesias

Community Partner:

• Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Forsyth

A number of local volunteers were honored Monday night as Community Connection held its annual Celebration of Hands.

The event honors the efforts of local volunteers and helps raise awareness of Community Connection, a nonprofit organization that helps match volunteers to charitable groups throughout the county.

Addressing a crowd of about 150 people during the dinner at Windermere Golf Club, the president of the organization’s board praised the volunteers for their service.

“People volunteer for many different reasons,” John Clark said. “They volunteer because they feel it’s their civic duty, they volunteer to help others, sometimes because of guilt or because it makes them feel good … whatever the reason you volunteer, most everybody in this room has volunteered for one reason or another and it’s usually because you have a feeling of doing good and helping so many other people.”

Clark noted that through Community Connection, last year more than 7,000 volunteers helped some 50 partner agencies.

“All the agencies we work with would not be able to do their jobs without the volunteers,” he said. “I mean, there’s so much that goes on only because of volunteers in our county, so thank you.”

Among the awards presented were 13 Celebrated Community Partner Volunteer recognitions, which are given based on nominations from Community Connection’s partner agencies.

These volunteers were honored for putting in numerous hours at organizations as such as Abba House, the Forsyth public libraries, Bald Ridge Lodge and Jesse’s House.

An outstanding adult and youth awards were also presented.

Megan Geren, who volunteers with Next Generation Focus, a group that helps economically disadvantaged children with expanded academic opportunities, took the adult volunteer of the year award.

The youth volunteer of year award went to Brett Jordan, a recent Lambert High School graduate, who has spent several years mentoring younger children with Mentor Me North Georgia.

A new set of awards, called People in Action, was also presented for the first time Monday night.

These awards are given to community volunteers who may not be affiliated any of the organization’s partner agencies or who work with multiple organizations.

Five people — Lisa Hawk, Ron Kraynick, Suellen Daniels, States Wing and Jayne Inglesias — and dog Marley Myers, who visits nursing homes and other facilities, received them.

Daniels was named the top People in Action award recipient for founding Meals by Grace, which provides home-cooked meals to families in need.

Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta at Forsyth was presented with the connection’s Community Partner of the Year award, and outgoing board members Virgilio Perez-Pascoe and Kristin Morrissey were recognized.

Clark said Community Connection couldn’t do anything without the help of its volunteers.

“At the center of it all is community,” he said. “Tonight we thank those who are already helping Forsyth County to make progress … and hopefully encourage others to take action in a call to service,” he said.