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Know an Awesome Volunteer? Nominate Them for Governor's Award

Nominations due to Serve Illinois by Jan. 31.

File photo: A middle school student from Burr Ridge works with the Patch team packing meals destined for Djibouti, Africa. | Credit: Darren McRoy
File photo: A middle school student from Burr Ridge works with the Patch team packing meals destined for Djibouti, Africa. | Credit: Darren McRoy

Gov. Pat Quinn and the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service are accepting nominations for the Annual Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards, recognizing volunteers who "provide selfless service to the state," and "highlight the importance of volunteerism and community service in the state of Illinois," according to a news release from Gov. Quinn's office. 

“The heart of America is the heart of a volunteer,” Governor Quinn said in a statement. “Our Volunteer Service Awards is one way of recognizing the volunteer stars whose energy and tireless compassion remind us how one person can truly make a difference. If you know of a special volunteer, I invite you to nominate them for this special award.”

According to Volunteering in America, at least 2.73 million Illinois residents performed some volunteer activity or community service in 2012, an impact valued at $6.6 billion – enough money to purchase three space shuttles and the Chicago Cubs, with some money still left over.

Last year’s Governor’s Volunteer Service Awardees included West Central Region 7th-grader Sophia Marcolla, who organized “Picks for Pups” to help the Quincy Humane Society; James “Major” Adams, a WWII Veteran from Northeast Illinois who mentored countless youths at Chicago’s Henry Horner Homes; Jackie Whitworth, an AmeriCorps VISTA in Freeport, who organized a community group for low income residents and an afterschool writing program for youth; Senior Corps member Ruth Hieronymos of Atlanta, Ill., who has been a Foster Grandparent in two second grade classrooms for eight years; and South Beloit’s Finnegan’s RV Center whose “Vets’ Roll” project transports aging veterans to Washington, D.C., for the chance to visit the National Memorials that commemorate their sacrifice and the sacrifice of their fellow servicemembers, according to the release.

Individual awards will be presented to one youth (18 years and under), one adult (19-54 years old) and one retiree/senior (55 years and older) in each of the Commission’s five service regions across the state (Northeast, Northwest, East Central, West Central and Southern). National Service Awards will be presented to one AmeriCorps and one Senior Corps member in each of the five regions. One award will be provided to a for-profit business in each of the five service regions. Within each category, applications will be given special priority based on six areas: economic opportunity, education, environmental conservation, disaster preparedness and response, health, and veterans affairs, according to the release. 

Nominations are due to Serve Illinois by Jan. 31, 2014. Visit Serve.Illinois.gov for the nomination forms and more information. Recipients will be selected and notified by April 1, 2014. Governor Quinn and the Serve Illinois Commission will host a ceremony to honor recipients on April 28, 2014 at the Executive Mansion in Springfield.

The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40-member, bi-partisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services (IDHS). Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing traditional volunteer activities and supporting national service programs, including the Illinois AmeriCorps program.

“All citizens have an opportunity to recognize their ability and help strengthen their communities through voluntary service. Through Serve Illinois, we expand volunteerism throughout rural, suburban and urban Illinois, and involve people of all backgrounds, cultures and ages,” Serve Illinois Executive Director Brandon Bodor said. 

Information courtesy of a news release from Gov. Pat Quinn's office.

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