2013 Volunteer of the Year Submissions

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1. Jane Kirschner-Tuccillo

2. David Cruikshank

3. Shawn Stoner

4. Robert (Dough) Williams

5. Bill Johnson

6. Judy Cole

7. Florence Katz

8. Gerri Aaron

9. Linda Butler

10. David Morrill

11. Maureen Flaherty

12. Johnathon Swift

13. Ben Johnson

14. John Ramsey

15. Catherine Browne

16. Neville Clarke

17. Harriet Palloto

18. John E. McQueen

19. Kathy Suter

20. Audrey Lanczki

21. Luisa Goldman

22. Adrienne Blum

23. Dorothy Wissmuller

1
Volunteer Name

Jane Kirschner-Tuccillo

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Historical Society of Sarasota County

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

15 years

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Jane is the immediate past president for the Historical Society of Sarasota County and is a tireless volunteer on a continuing basis. She is a constant good-will ambassador who keeps us in the forefront whenever she meets new people. She is also the manager for our unique gift shop located in the Bidwell-Wood House (1882) stand-alone kitchen, which showcases work by local artisans and authors. Jane made the gift shop over $4,000 in sales this last season.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Jane is working on a 2014 calendar for Sarasota’s Historic Treasures. This calendar features local artist paintings of historic homes and buildings each month. She is also working with the other historical groups for sponsorship of each month. This will be a very good fundraiser for all parties involved.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Jane is putting together our Pioneer Day/Pirate Festival for this fall, an annual event for families to help create awareness of our location in Pioneer Park with the two historical structures, Bidwell-Wood House (1882) and the Crocker Memorial Church (1901). This will be part of the Viva 500 Florida Celebrations.a fun filled day for all ages to learn about the pirates of Florida. 

2
Volunteer Name

David Cruikshank

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Lighthouse of Manasota

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

Over 20 years, and the hours have been countless!

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Dave served on the Lighthouse Board as a member and twice as president over a period of 20 years. As chair, he initiated and spearheaded our annual golf tournament, the “Dr. James Morrish, Sr. Memorial tournament.” This tournament was a fundraiser to honor Dr. Morrish, a former Lighthouse client and board member, and raise funds for Lighthouse programs and services .

Dave made a pledge he would raise a million dollars in event proceeds, and this year the 19th Annual Dr. Morrish, Sr. Memorial tournament will exceed that goal!

In addition, for the past 11 years, Dave has supported the annual “Be a Visionary Walk” fundraiser rallying teams and sponsors for the Lighthouse.

Dave’s mother, as well as his good friend Dr. Morrish, were clients of the Lighthouse, and Dave saw the positive impact the Lighthouse programs had on them. These programs gave his mother and Dr. Morrish the training they needed to get their lives back on track. Their success spurred his passion and commitment to be an advocate for the Lighthouse, so he tagged our agency as his charity of choice.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Over the span of time served, there have been countless situations where Dave has made a tremendous difference in raising awareness, funds, or laughter for the Lighthouse. His attitude of ‘can do’ tagged him our ‘Sir David,’ who not only faces all challenges with gusto, but also finds a solution to every problem.

As a board member and president, Dave has devoted countless hours in serving our agency. Though off the board for three years, his volunteer time has not decreased. His commitment and passion remain steadfast in giving back so others may benefit.

His leadership and guidance set a solid foundation on which the Lighthouse exists today.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Volunteers come and go. Some stay with one agency a few years, some serve many. All give for the right reasons, and deserve kudos for their choice of giving.

Dave grew up helping his dad with community work and learned the ‘old school’ way of giving. Not so much the “here, there, gone tomorrow” but when making a decision to do something, to stay for the long haul. Dave found his passion helping people with vision loss to have the opportunity to live the life they deserve.

In our community we readily see names we recognize or hear about. Dave is not one of them. But to our agency, his name brings a smile and grateful heart to many. We know his strengths, we see his efforts, and we salute him for achieving his goal of reaching that million dollar mark and making history for the Lighthouse.

3
Volunteer Name

Shawn Stoner 
With what organization does this person volunteer? 

Every Child, Inc.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

10 hours/week for 2 years.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Every once in a while a volunteer appears who is willing to do anything to accomplish the mission of the organization. This is Shawn Stoner. She has thrown herself into projects, untiringly giving of her time and talent. She has been a Fairy Godmother for the Cinderella Project, doing whatever needed to be done to make sure it was a success. She has been a Fairy Godmother for the Cinderella Project Runway inspiring young girls to be their creative best.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

For the 1st Cinderella Project Runway sponsored by Every Child, Inc. Shawn has helped young girls with her fashion sense and sewing abilities. She inspires them and encourages them.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

She is one of the most caring and hard working individuals I have ever had the pleasure of working with.

4
Volunteer Name

Robert (Doug) Williams

With what organization does this person volunteer?

The Literacy Council of Sarasota

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

12 years.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Doug will do any tasks we ask of him. However, he loves to tutor English Speakers of Other Languages (ESOL). Doug has volunteered to facilitate several workplace literacy and family literacy classes and will step in for anyone who needs help with vacation times, etc.

Currently Doug is facilitating the Fruitville Library Conversation Café program, offered through the Literacy Council. He also will be facilitating a summer Family Literacy ESOL class at Alta Vista Elementary.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Doug’s love of teaching and love for people make him a popular, in demand volunteer tutor!

One of the LCS Family Literacy programs that Doug and another volunteer tutor were teaching together, involved 2 hour classes, once a week for 26 weeks. There was a small stipend paid to the volunteers, to help with travel expenses, etc. Doug returned the check to LCS and asked that we give this money to a staff member who he knew was struggling.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Doug and his wife Lynn retired to Sarasota thirteen years ago and Doug immediately got involved with The Literacy Council of Sarasota. He was Gov. Bush’s first Points of Light recipient. He was also very active with the Guardian Adlitem Program for many years.

Doug also volunteers as an interpreter for the County Health Department once a week.

Somewhere in this wonderful volunteer’s life, he and his wife enjoy their grown children and 13 grandchildren. Doug always has a smile and a story about his family and volunteering! He may not be voted as Volunteer of the Year for Sarasota, but he will always hold a special place in the Literacy Council’s heart!

5
Volunteer Name

Bill Johnson

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Girls Incorporated of Sarasota County.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

4 years…5 days a week 8-9 hours a day.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Bill, or as the girls call him, Mr. Bill, is an invaluable part of the Girls Inc. organization. To just name a couple of tasks: he functions as our (volunteering) operations manager full-time, taking care of our building, pool, yard maintenance and painting. He also acts as a GI Guy (Girls Inc. Guy) leader to encourage other men to visit Girls Inc. and volunteer as homework helpers and volunteers. Mr. Bill has mentored six girls during his tenure and heads our after-school and summer camp tutoring program. Mr. Bill chaperons field trips (a past trip was made to the Florida Keys), conducts tours, helps with new volunteers, manages our fleet of buses, sits on our finance committee, works with vendors and overall helps make the lives of our staff better.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

As a lawyer and former businessman, Bill understands the importance of the girls receiving skills that are essential to their future employ ability. When Girls Inc. launched the campaign “Invest in the Power of Girls,” Bill was the first person to invest, host, and underwrite a business breakfast where we invited 200 local business members to attend. He advocates and uses his connections in the community to garner support for Girls Inc. at every opportunity.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Mr. Bill has become a vital part of the Girls Inc. organization and was recognized by the Tampa Bay Lightning this year as Sarasota’s one and only “Community Hero.” He was awarded $50,000 and directly handed over the check to Girls Inc. to fund capital improvements, create an emergency fund for families in crisis, and surprised staff with bonuses.

He works extremely hard without demanding anything in return and has even engaged his family in volunteering at Girls Inc.

Bill sets the bar high in terms of volunteering and is humble enough to appreciate that not everyone can give or serve at his level. He leads by example and I am proud to call him part of the Girls Inc. family.

6
Volunteer Name 

Judy Cole

With what organization does this person volunteer? 

Sarasota Manatee Assoc. for Riding Therapy, Inc. (SMART)

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

5 years, at least 20 hours per week.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Judy is one of those amazing women who can do it all. She is a “self starter.” Coming to SMART around 5 years ago having no experience with horses (but a lifetime of experience working with kids as a teacher and nurse), she jumped into ALL of the necessary daily chores and activities with both newly-booted feet. She not only learned how to assist with our riding therapy lessons by helping the kids stay on task while riding, she also learned how to groom and care for the horse, as well as clean stalls. She didn’t stop with just the usual, daily activities that surround our lesson times, though. Soon, she was coming out to spend entire days. She would look around, see what needed to be done, and get started. As a “Judy of All Trades,” she now can be found at SMART many days of the week, scrubbing out water troughs, mowing and mowing and mowing, painting, weeding and gardening, hauling debris to the burn pile, cleaning whatever needs cleaning, and still helping with lessons and horses. She gives of herself and her talents on a daily basis, all with a smile and a sweetness that radiates all over our 23 acres, our horses and our volunteers.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Earlier this year we had a volunteer who had a serious, life threatening personal health crisis while at SMART. Judy happened to be there that day and stepped right up to assist. Our instructors are trained in CPR and First Aid and our procedures for such an event were in place. However, Judy, with her experience as a nurse, was able to assist the instructor and attend to the volunteer in need, as well as assist with maintaining a sense of calm and purpose until the emergency response arrived. She also was a tremendous emotional support to the instructor and other volunteers after the event. Judy is thoughtful, loving, supportive and giving, and her love of all the people and creatures at SMART is deeply felt and appreciated by all of us.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

I believe Judy is deserving of this award of Volunteer of the Year because she epitomizes what all of us in the not-for-profit world dream of when we think of what we need in a volunteer:

1. Desire to help
2. Commitment
3. Quick learner
3. Self-starter
4. Hard worker
5. Team player
6. Cares about the mission

Judy has ALL of these qualities and more. She has a heart bigger than the state of Texas!

7
Volunteer Name

Florence Katz

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Jewish Family & Children’s Service.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

17 years (almost 18) – about 25 hrs a month.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

She hands out morning coffee and cookies, sets up the tables for lunch, and is the key person in the serving line for our SOS program where we serve lunch, among other things, to over 60 seniors twice a week.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

There is not a specific incident but rather an attitude that Florence brings with her each day. Florence works tirelessly and knows how our program and volunteers become like an extended family to seniors, offering support and friendship. “Age is a state of mind –nothing more. And I have made up my mind that too many seniors are living isolated and depressed because of failing health or the loss of a loved one. They need a connection to the community. And if at 97 I can provide that and serve as an example of staying connected, so can they,” states Florence. Her friendship, support and caring is important to all who are part of SOS.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

A little dynamo, Florence Katz, age 97, is an advocate and champion for home-bound, isolated seniors. Florence is a dedicated volunteer at JFCS Senior Outreach Services. SOS is a twice weekly program serving over 120 home-bound, isolated seniors and caregivers. These twice weekly programs offer transportation, group therapeutic counseling sessions, lunch, and an entertainment program.

Every Wednesday and Friday you can see diminutive Florence smartly dressed and accessorized, complete with high heels, working deftly and efficiently. She sets up all the tables for lunch and then hands out morning coffees and cookies. She is our key person on the serving line – expertly portioning out lunch for over 60 folks each day.

Florence has been volunteering with JFCS for over 17 years (80 years of volunteering over her lifetime!) and is dedicated to our groups. Her energy, attitude and love is an inspiration to us all. She is a fabulous senior role model and example ensuring that others live a quality life with meaning.

8
Volunteer Name

Gerri Aaron

With what organization does this person volunteer?

TREE Foundation.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

12 yrs – 20 hrs/month for all 12 yrs.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Gerri has been the inspiration for many TREE projects. She is passionate about the environment and getting people into the natural world, as well as educating them about environmental issues. She has encouraged the Myakka Canopy walkway project, given the topping-off gift for our new TREEhouse project at Spanish Point, and donated funds that have provided books and ecology field trips for many New College and local students through her generosity.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

When our TREEhouse project was $5,000 short, Gerri stepped right up at the board meeting and said “DONE,” which saved everyone time and effort so we could move ahead on this exciting project for kids and families.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

She is an inspiration and outstanding philanthropist throughout SW Florida and beyond.

9
Volunteer Name 

Linda Butler

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Mental Health Community Centers, Inc.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

3 years working 10 hours per week.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Linda is the director of the Family Empowerment Support Group, a group that meets bi monthly at Prospect House, the MHCC facility in Sarasota. As such, she keeps records on all participants, interviews potential members, disseminates pertinent educational information on mental health issues such as books, videos, webinars, local meetings and seminars She is the liaison with MHCC’s Social Worker and its Community Awareness Director and is involved with the development of the group.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Some time ago she devised, on her own, a set of documents for the support group. They included a Registration Form, The Benefits and Purpose of the Group, Group Guidelines and Meeting Format, as well as a Satisfaction Survey. She then compiled and organized the data from the survey and made recommendations on areas that could be improved.

This was such a professional exercise, executed flawlessly, with no formal education in the field. Linda has a Fine Arts bachelor degree from the Ohio University. She is one of the most articulate, diplomatic and caring people associated with our organization. She is constantly cheerful and optimistic. We are so lucky to have her interested in our mission.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Besides the hours spent with us, Linda is active in her church, the First Congregational Church of Christ. She is on their Mission Program Team, which explains to the congregation which non profits they support in the community and why.

Up until recently, she was also with S.U.R.E. – Sarasota United for Responsibility and Equity – a group that heavily promoted the 211 emergency line.

10
Volunteer Name 

David Morrill

With what organization does this person volunteer? 

Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

Almost 10 years. 120+ hours per month.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

As an Emeritus attorney, Mr. Morrill defends our clients facing foreclosure. He spends endless hours counseling them concerning their housing issues. He produces all his own Motions and Petitions. He e-files all his documents without assistance and e-schedules all his hearings. 

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Mr. Morrill, a retired attorney from South Dakota, determined that retirement wasn’t working for him so he started volunteering as an intake attorney at Legal Aid of Manasota, Inc. for a few hours a week. Over time he realized that no one was stepping forward to assist those clients who needed someone to represent them in foreclosure court. Not one to see a problem and turn away, Mr. Morrill stepped in as an Emeritus attorney to represent these clients.

Mr. Morrill has worked tirelessly to save the homes of people who had nowhere else to turn. He has earned the respect of judges, other attorneys, and even the banks he argues against with his incredible dedication to Legal Aid clients. The staff attorneys and executive director at Legal Aid of Manasota will often receive e-mails from him in the early hours of the morning as he prepares to file legal documents. He has worked thousands of hours for these clients.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Mr. Morrill could be enjoying a quiet retirement, visiting his grandchildren up north, golfing or sipping a cocktail by the pool. Instead he has helped hundreds of people who find themselves in the legal system for the first time. When people realize that someone “has their back,” they are better able to focus on moving forward with their lives. Mr. Morrill also makes himself available to assist other attorneys who have questions about the complex and ever changing foreclosure crisis.

11
Volunteer Name

Maureen Flaherty

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Humane Society of Manatee County.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

Since June 2007 

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Maureen is our most dedicated and nurturing foster parent when we get puppies brought into the shelter.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Early one Monday morning in March a man walked into our clinic with a female dog and a laundry basket. The man promptly handed the leash over to our receptionist, set the laundry basket on the floor, and walked out. We soon discovered there were seven puppies in the laundry basket. The mama dog, who we promptly named Eden, was very thin. Staff noticed that some of her puppies weren’t eating well. Our veterinarian, Dr. Julie, first thought we were dealing with a young mom who didn’t know how to take care of her pups. One of our long-time foster moms, Maureen agreed to take Eden and her seven puppies until everyone was healthy and available for adoption. Maureen noticed that Eden was vomiting at night. Eden was brought back to the shelter for observation. She was not throwing up during the day, only at night.

Eden did have a cough, so she was sent for an x-ray and was diagnosed with pneumonia. From the position of the infection in Eden’s lungs our vet, Dr. Hollifield, suspected an abnormality in her esophagus affecting her swallowing. A barium series of x-rays showing Eden’s GI tract was ordered. The x-rays showed a deformity in Eden’s esophagus, allowing only a small amount of food to get to her stomach. After more tests and consultations, it was decided that Eden would need stomach surgery.

Eden has a wonderful and diligent foster mom who is fully dedicated to her treatment. Maureen had a friend construct a special eating chair for Eden. This chair allows Eden to eat at an upward angle, allowing food to pass her esophagus and go into her stomach.

Maureen has gone above and beyond her duty as a foster mom. Not only have all seven of Eden’s puppies been adopted, but Eden is doing much better with the aide of the eating chair Maureen had made for Eden. Eden is still living with Maureen while waiting to be adopted. Maureen’s dedication and love of animals has helped Eden have a better life. The Humane Society of Manatee County is very grateful to have such a loyal and compassionate volunteer.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Maureen frequently donates dog and cat food and supplies to the shelter. She has written articles for her church newsletter promoting various adoptable cats and dogs we have at the Humane Society of Manatee County.
Maureen has been such a huge help fostering puppies. There are times we have boxes of puppies abandoned at our doorstep. Puppies cannot be put up for adoption until they are at least eight weeks old and have been spayed or neutered. The Humane Society does not have the time or man power to bottle feed and take care of a litter of puppies. We depend on our dedicated foster parents to take these puppies into their home and care for them until they’re ready for adoption. It’s a huge commitment, but we are so thankful Maureen is so reliable and hardworking.

*Pictures are available of Eden and Maureen, including Eden using the special eating chair.

12
Volunteer Name  

Jonathan Swift

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Education Foundation of Sarasota County.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

For more than six years, since 2007. An average of six hours a week, with many more hours during the school year as distribution and training sessions approach.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Jonathan has been a volunteer with the Education Foundation’s Texcellence computer distribution program from its very beginning in the spring of 2007. In that time, he has been instrumental in providing over 6,500 students of low income families with refurbished computers, educational software, training and support, allowing them to keep up with their classmates.

Jonathan helps to prepare the computers and organize our training and distribution events on evenings and weekends. Program staff and other volunteers count on him for his technical savvy and behind-the-scenes support, from replacing damaged parts to hauling 150 laptops for one session alone. He truly shines, though, when he is teaching families how to use their first computers. Most have never owned a computer before, so adult family members are required to attend a basic three-hour orientation with their children to learn how to set up the hardware, use the software, stay safe on the Internet, and help with their students’ school work. The unassuming guy with a smile and a baseball cap instantly makes both parents and students feel completely at ease in an unfamiliar digital world.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Jonathan will say that his tasks are not all that difficult and that all he does is “set up computers in the classrooms,” but his contributions go way beyond that. He’s omnipresent. When the check-in table gets overwhelmed, he is there in a flash to guide the families. When people need directions to their classrooms, he’s there to assist. When the childcare we provide starts to resemble a scene from “Kindergarten Cop,” Jonathan is there to scoop up a wayward child, start a game, or pour some fresh Goldfish crackers as a snack. When the classes are over and families are leaving, so happy with their new computers – even though he should be fatigued from working 10 hours at his day job and then volunteering all evening – Jonathan jumps right in and starts disconnecting leftover laptops, straightening classrooms, and loading equipment into cars. His tireless efforts and warm disposition makes everyone around him smile and value his presence. He is a true gentleman and an essential player in the Texcellence program.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Jonathan Swift is not just a dedicated Education Foundation volunteer. He is also a great advocate for Texcellence, digital learning, and the children we serve. He is committed to every child’s success, now and in the future. He is always looking for ways to help expand or improve the program. He has an “all-in” approach to Texcellence, providing both hands-on and financial support, as well as valuable feedback about the needs of the families in our community.

13
Volunteer Name

Ben Johnson

With what organization does this person volunteer?

SPCUG – Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

At least 10 years. He works about 20 hours a week.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Ben is an unbelievable volunteer! In the case of SPCUG (Sarasota Personal Computer Users Group), Ben is a long time member of the Board of Directors and over the years has held numerous positions that contributed significantly to the success of the organizations. In addition, Ben is a long time member of the Refurbishing Project. This project takes used computers and refurbishes them to be given out to members of our community that cannot afford them. This is also the ultimate recycle. The Refurbishing Project also repairs computers for the Sarasota Tek Excellence program.

Ben is the volunteer that trains the new members of the group. Ben also opens the Refurbishing shop on Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 9:00 and then works until 3:00. Ben greets everyone that comes into the shop and determines how we can help them. Over the years Ben has probably refurbished or repaired close to a 1000 computers.

Ben also handles the purchasing of parts for the Refurbishing Project. When a computer needs a part that could not be scavenged from another computer, Ben handles the research, purchasing and receiving of the parts.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

He has identified special needs and made sure that those who asked for help got the help they requested. A good example is Presbyterian Church of the Convent. They let Ben know they were looking for computers for their preschool. Ben took the project on and personally delivered 5 computers to them.

See the article on the SPCUG web site for details:

http://spcug.org/refurb.html#Read_Furbys_Story.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Why is Ben special? To really appreciate him you would have to meet him. He is the true southern gentlemen. No matter what happens he is always cheerful and positive. Ben always meets you with a smile!

He is an extremely hard worker. He is reliable! He is dependable! Like the Postman Ben is there rain or shine.

Ben really cares about our community and helping out. He gets much more done than people much younger than him (he is over 90). Besides volunteering heavily with SPCUG’s Refurbishing Project, Ben also volunteers at his church (St. Wilfred Episcopal Church). On top of that he also volunteers at Resurrection House!

14
Volunteer Name

John Ramsey

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Florida House Institute.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

15 – 20 hrs./week for one year

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Immediate Past President and Chairman of the Executive Committee. Currently active Board of Directors member. Primarily due to his direct efforts and leadership during John’s tenure as President several milestones have been achieved. Some of these are negotiating and executing a lease with Sarasota County for the Florida House facilities, obtaining a $100,000. County Grant, $200,000. plus in matching in kind contributions, adoption of new By-Laws, and creation of a strategic and business plan to name a few. The result of these achievements is that we are now starting the construction for the retrofit of the Florida House yard and house. This was not happening before John was President. He really made the difference.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

When the bank account was low in funds he personally paid the expenses to keep us moving forward until a successful Fund Raising Committee and strategy could be formed.

15
Volunteer Name

Catherine Browne

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Project 180.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

Since November; she has worked 120 hours so far.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

She engaged in outreach in person and via telephone, organized a direct mail effort at the end of 2012, gathered items for auction, organized our contact lists and represented the organization well.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Project 180’s Volunteer of the Year for 2012 is Catherine Browne. Catherine came to Project 180 to complete 120 community service hours for an infraction in Hillsborough County and immediately took charge of the Project 180 office. A godsend, Catherine performed the essential legwork necessary to make Project 180’s inaugural event, “Men Behind Bars 2013,” a Celebrity Bartending event honoring Elliott C. Metcalfe, Jr., a tremendous success.

Catherine’s organized approach, office skills and drive were both unexpected and welcome. She proved that a volunteer’s dedication to the mission of an organization is one of the most valuable assets a nonprofit can have.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Catherine’s volunteer work was intended as punishment. Instead of allowing the punishment to dictate how she felt and acted, Catherine turned it around in true Project 180 style and took charge of the job and of her life. She is an exemplar of what a motivated offender can do when trusted, given responsibility and relied upon to do a job well.

In the American Colonies, a circuit-riding judge handed down harsh, physical sentences to offenders that impaired an individual’s ability to help in the fields. The colonists often chose not to carry out the sentences because each person’s contributions to the community were valued and necessary to help the community thrive. Catherine’s volunteerism personified that bit of history for our organization. As a former offender, she could have lived out the typical story of marginalization but she chose not to do so by demonstrating fortitude, self-motivation and leadership.

16
Volunteer Name

Neville Clarke

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Anna Maria Island Community Center.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

About 10 years – amount varies by year – average is about 65 hours per year.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Neville is a true “Renaissance” man. He can and will do anything that needs to be done, from hanging banners on our double-high baseball fence to setting tables for a fancy dinner/dance and marketing our programs in the community. Neville is also always looking for the most efficient ways to get tasks accomplished and has a positive, upbeat and can-do attitude.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Like many nonprofits the Community Center finds itself trying a variety of fundraisers to help cover the cost of services to youth and families. Dinner/dances have proved successful. At one of our first events, at which Neville and his wife were attendees, it came to our attention that we needed a spotlight on the entertainers. Neville, realizing that we had no one to operate the spotlight became our “lighting engineer” for the evening – on this and a subsequent occasion. And yes, his wife was still talking to him at the end of the evening!

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Neville and his wife, Arlene, come to our Island part-time for the season. Neville has always been part of our “legends” tennis group; a group of very competitive tennis players who also help maintain the high quality of our tennis courts.

Neville is blessed with a sunny disposition and has been a wonderful promoter of our Community Center. He loves to help out with grounds maintenance and continually thinks of ideas to better our facilities and services.

Neville has proved a great mentor to our new facilities manager and has connected me (only 3 months into my job as Executive Director) with volunteers who are experienced grant writers. Neville is a giver who cares deeply about his community and takes pride in everything he does – he is a gem !

17
Volunteer Name 

Harriet Palloto

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Senior Friendship Centers.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

3 days per week since 2009.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Harriet is a tireless 81-year old retired nurse, originally from New Jersey, who lives to help others deal with their aches and pains. She is an integral part of the professional volunteer corps serving the uninsured and low-income older adults in Senior Friendship Centers’ Health Clinics. Her colleagues have come to rely on her.
She’s truly a leader! Volunteer shifts are typically four hours a week but not for Harriet who arrives by 7 a.m. several mornings each week to assure the clinic gets off to a solid start. Some of her duties include preparing exam rooms for doctors, pulling charts, reviewing lab reports, assuring x-rays are attached and even making coffee for the office. She involves herself in the many facets of patient care and clinic life.

The organization’s mission is to promote health, dignity and quality of life throughout the journey of aging. Harriet exemplifies this along with the motto of People Helping People. During her career, Harriet held a nursing license in five states and worked many specialties and segments including obstetrics/ gynecology, dialysis, medical/surgical nurse, home health and nursing homes.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

There are many volunteers who are dedicated and unselfish with their time but few compare to Harriet who is willing to work additional hours, often working double shifts to cover for someone who is unable to work or when the clinic is extremely busy. During the summer months, when many volunteers leave the area to travel north, Harriet is the constant.

Based on her experience and sound work ethic, Harriet anticipates the things that need to be done and then she rolls up her sleeves and just does it without prompting. Once her regular tasks are complete she heads to other areas to help with the filing, or coordinates the volunteer nursing schedule, patient appointment book and the volunteer doctor’s appointment schedule. She will pull faxes from the preceding night and pair the appropriate chart with the information received.

Her supervisor, Barb Schubert states, “Harriet does a tremendous amount of work and is invaluable in helping us train and orient new volunteers. She does so willingly and with such passion. What an inspiration she is to all of us in the clinic!”

“I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’t volunteer,” she said. “I have to be involved in something and this is so rewarding. I can see it makes a difference every day.”

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

In 2012, nearly 8,000 patient visits came through the Friendship Centers’ Health Clinic. Many of those patients have not been able to afford healthcare in their lives and they suffer with multiple chronic diseases. They’re down on their luck, many out of work, uninsured and worried how they’ll ever feel healthy again.

Then, they’re greeted by Harriet Pallotto. This veteran nurse with 61 years of experience makes sure there is a clinic ready to meet their needs – stocked exam rooms, charts that have been reviewed for accuracy and completeness, and physicians prepared with all the information they’ll need to provide the best care possible. She serves as an ambassador for other volunteers, training and encouraging them to make a difference along with her. She does it all because she truly cares and enjoys seeing the difference in the patients after their initial visit, seeing the improvement and watching the patient lead a healthier life.

Harriet is an essential team member of the professional volunteer corps who serve Sarasota County’s uninsured and low-income older adults through the Friendship Centers’ Health Clinics. Because of her, Sarasota County’s at-risk seniors can receive quality healthcare in a dignified and caring environment.

When we asked Harriet why she does it, she said she loves working at the Friendship Centers’ Health Clinic, “It’s the camaraderie of working with other caring professionals, encouraging others. I’m never tired when I’m volunteering. It’s the best part of my life.”

Harriet is a model for volunteers and healthy aging. She proves that the heart that gives, gathers.

18
Volunteer Name 

John E. McQueen

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Suncoast Communities Blood Bank.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

40+ Years.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

John passed away unexpectedly on 12/18/12. Consequently, Suncoast Communities Blood Bank (SCBB) wishes to nominate him for this award for the 40+ years he volunteered in the not-for-profit sector of Sarasota County. Not only did he dedicate his time and abilities to Suncoast Communities Blood Bank, but to the following organizations as well: Family Counseling Center, Consortium for Children and Youth, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Boys and Girls Clubs, Cooperative Extension Service 4-H, and the Florida Association of Family and Consumer Services – Sarasota and District groups.

John was on the cutting edge of computer services for not-for-profits, even writing programs in the early years for organizations when software wasn’t available. He helped set up systems for tracking finances, grant proposals, membership lists, donor lists, mailing lists, staff directories, mail merges for personalized thank-you systems, and inventory tracking. He produced state-of-the-art printed materials for handouts, grant proposals, newsletters, and teaching materials.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

The doing was more important to him than the credit of hours. He always volunteered more hours than officially recorded. He would go into “a zone” when setting up a project to fit the organization and time didn’t matter to him. His finished product always had all the “bells and whistles,” as he called them.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

John was an unsung hero. He declined any recognition and he was available 24/7. He believed passionately in each of the organizations for which he volunteered and was challenged to put together infrastructures that would outlast his time with the organization—or as it turned out, outlast his lifetime. In the final weeks of his life, he expressed to his wife his feelings that what he volunteered to do with SCBB gave his life a renewed purpose.

19
Volunteer Name 

Kathy Suter

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Myakka City Foundation.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

10 +/- hours per month and more with ongoing events.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Kathy is our go-to person for event planning and gathering of other volunteers. She is always quick to offer assistance in any capacity but foremost she has an amazing ability to get the crowds riled up and excited about our cause! She takes the “bull by the horns” at our annual rodeo fundraiser by getting the jar for the 50/50 running over, silent auction items raised and memberships increased. Kathy is not someone who prefers to stick with one task, she prefers to help where she is needed most and can have the best impact.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Although the Myakka City Foundation is a newer non-profit we plan to have a long time effect on the community and Kathy understands the “big picture”. At our 2nd Annual Band Bash she worked tirelessly to be able to line up doctors and volunteers to offer free glaucoma and diabetes testing for anyone and everyone who came to enjoy the day. This free service to the community was completely her doing from the very thought to the end result.

As proof of her ability to ensure a great time and a great event, you can see her live in this video:

(@ 1:57 , Kathy is on the far left) she started the food line dancing!

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Not only is Kathy an integral part of the Myakka City Foundation, she still manages to find the time to be an active part of the Sarasota Lions Club, Successful Women Aligning Together (S.W.A.T.), National Association of Financial Advisors, Myakka City United Methodist Church and Tuesday Night Ladies Summer Bowling League where she has held positions anywhere from a member or served on the board of directors. Did we mention she’s also received many awards as part of these organizations, all while owning/managing a local and successful Allstate Insurance Agency. She is truly a person who cares deeply about her community and those in it.

20
Volunteer Name 

Audrey Lanczki

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Charlotte County Homeless Coalition.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

3.5 years.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Audrey manages all the graphic designing throughout our agency. She handles everything from flyers to newsletters to save the dates, etc. All of these include but are not limited to: Events, Campaigns, Bingo, Hunger Prevention, Homeless Prevention, Safe House Emergency Shelter and Transitional Housing.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Audrey caught our eye from day one with her extremely admirable attitude and enthusiasm towards any project put her way but especially during her first year when she came up with what is now the new CCHC logo and basically re-branding of our company.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Audrey came to CCHC over 3 years ago by pure fluke; she was assigned the task of doing the census for our Safe House Shelter in 2010. After that Audrey had seen the immediate need with our organization and been with us since. Audrey originally began volunteering her time helping with flyers, leading into the creation of our new logo and volunteering her creativity to miscellaneous design and art print work. She was the racing commissioner for the first 2 years of our Annual Derby (for those who know of our Derby, know this is a pretty hefty position alone) during that time she continued volunteering her creativity while also sitting on numerous committees of CCHC’s. Audrey also helped in great part to the success and continuous creativity of our monthly newsletter “The Voice.” If you are as exhausted as I am for her, after hearing all of these different types of volunteerism…take a breath on her behalf because this year in addition to all other held volunteer positions she created and became trainer of her own Derby team, “Lucky Lemon Bay.” Audrey is a HUGE asset to CCHC in every form, we are more than fortunate to have her on our team, and could not possibly thank her enough for all her hard work and dedication.

21
Volunteer Name  

Luisa Goldman

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Safe Place and Rape Crisis Center.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

9 years, volunteer time has varied from a few hours weekly, to 40+ hours per week

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Luisa has served many roles as a volunteer for SPARCC. She served as Auxiliary President from 2009-2011, leading SPARCC’s group of 300+ volunteers as they planned fundraisers and spread awareness throughout the community. In this role, she rallied volunteers, took event reservations, she conducted meetings, and she inspired those she worked with to do more, raise more, and to be better volunteers than they had ever been. She has chaired numerous events, including most recently SPARCC’s 10th Annual Sparccle on the Links Golf Tournament, and the 2012 Fashion Show & Luncheon. Luisa currently serves as the 1st Vice President of the SPARCC Board of Directors.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Luisa always takes on much more than her leadership roles and committee responsibilities for SPARCC. When she sees something that needs attention, she gets in there and gets it done. If someone at SPARCC needs something to do their job better, she asks “how can we get that taken care of?” She seems to always be thinking of ways to do more for those in our community affected by domestic violence and sexual assault. For example, during the Holidays last year, Luisa heard that SPARCC had not received as many donations as usual. She responded immediately by bringing bags filled with toys. She did not want recognition, in fact she protested when I asked to take a photo; she just wanted to make sure our littlest clients were provided for. While I remember her excitement and smile when she showed me the Legos, Barbies, and games, she truly had no idea what she was doing for the families who received those gifts. She empowered those mothers, during a time at which their world was falling apart and they were losing everything. She gave them the gift of confidence. They were able to select toys that their children would love, toys they could not afford otherwise, and give them to their little ones as if they had purchased them themselves. Her gift made those mothers feel confident and happy. These are women who have been abused – emotionally, and often physically. She will never meet these women, or even know their names, but she gave them something priceless without even knowing it.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Luisa is a leader in her volunteer efforts but if people only knew how much she did behind the scenes, they would wonder how she does it all. Whether it’s cleaning out a home and sending furniture, clothing, and paper products to our Shelter; or chairing a fundraiser that provides significant funds for our operations, Luisa is always there and always willing to get in and do the hard work.

22
Volunteer Name

Adrienne Blum

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Women’s Resource Center of Sarasota County.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

She’s been a volunteer for 7 years. She comes on Monday and Wednesday and will stay until she finishes whatever she’s working on.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Adrienne cheerfully and efficiently does any task that we ask her to perform and often asks for more! She is an incredible help with administrative tasks like stuffing envelopes, preparing mailings, folding brochures and assisting with special event preparations.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Adrienne will work tirelessly until a job is finished. She stayed well past 8 p.m. one night to complete a project, which involved the stuffing and mailing of several hundred invitations.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

At 89 years old, Adrienne is one of our most faithful and beloved volunteers. She is like family here and encourages the staff. She always has a smile for everyone she sees.

23
Volunteer Name 

Dorothy Wissmuller

With what organization does this person volunteer?

Center for Building Hope.

How long has he/she worked with this organization? How many hours per week/month/year?

Doroethy has volunteered here for over 2 years and averages about 40 hours per month.

What specific tasks does he/she perform?

Dorothy has been a dedicated volunteer for the past two years. She answers the phones and directs callers to the appropriate person, program, or resource. She is the first face that is seen when a person comes to Center for Building Hope. She is always friendly, warm, and welcoming and knowledgeable. We are thrilled to have Dorothy be representing CBH especially because many times participants who pass through our doors are riddled with anxiety due to their cancer diagnosis.

Not only is Dorothy highly organized when it comes to the elaborate phone system and program schedule but her talents have extended into our library as well. Dorothy took it on herself to catalog, organize and completely re structure our library, to make it totally user-friendly. She took each and every book out, listed it by author, title and subject in order to provide the simplest way of finding a book. This was a very challenging project that Dorothy worked many hours on completing. After it had been finished Dorothy then called a meeting of the staff to explain and train all of us on the correct way to best utilize the new efficient system. Our new efficient library is now helping our participants find the information and resources that will provide education to help them improve the quality of their lives while living with their cancer diagnosis or that of a loved one. Much of our population is more comfortable using books as references, rather than the internet. Dorothy’s commitment to ensuring that the participants of CBH were equally connected the possible resources has been a gift to all who utilize our facility.

With Dorothy’s meticulous eye, she is also heavily relied upon to be an integral part of the editorial staff for our Calendar of Events which is a calendar that contains all the program information for two months, over 150/month.

Please tell us about an incident in which this volunteer demonstrated his/her special attitude and abilities.

Dorothy’s desire to take over the library demonstrated her understanding of how important our mission is to our participants. Education and empowerment is the theme of Center for Building Hope. We encourage people to make educated decisions because knowledge is power. So many of our participants simply aren’t comfortable on the computer nor using the internet, however, Dorothy didn’t believe that should be the reason these people should be limited.

Why else should this person be Volunteer of the Year?

Not only does have Dorothy have a very kind committed spirit, but she also has a very kind and talented husband as well. The passion of giving back runs in the family as her husband Jan has been very gracious with his talents as a classical guitar player. Jan has never turned us down for a request to offer music at any of our events.

 










Limelight People & Parties

Limelight People & Parties

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