Governor Glenn Youngkin has announced the recipients of the 2023 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Awards. The annual awards program spotlights the outstanding efforts of individual volunteers and organizations, contributed on behalf of citizens throughout the Commonwealth. “The resilience, generosity, and commitment of these volunteers exemplifies the best of Virginia,” said Governor Glenn Youngkin.
“Volunteers are not only a critical part of meeting needs across the state, but they make our Virginia communities stronger,” said Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS) Commissioner Danny Avula. “Through their contributions to Virginia communities, they set an example for what the power of volunteering can accomplish and inspire others to act," added Cliff Yee, Chairman of the Virginia Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism.
The program from the 2023 awards event is available here. Keep reading to learn more about this year's awardees!
Outstanding Youth Volunteer: Evan Nied
Evan Nied is the founder of Planting Shade, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit that has planted more than 13,000 trees through 10 local chapters in 7 states. In addition, he successfully lobbied to change admission policies for Virginia Beach’s annual Neptune Festivalbusiness networking "Royal Court" in order toremove gender restrictions.Read more >
Outstanding Young Adult Volunteer: Meghan McLees
Meghan McLees has always been involved in service and was an active student leader during her time at University of Mary Washington, serving with Circle-Kand Alternative Service Breaks. She also co-led andprepared educational materials for elementary school children in the Stafford Junction “Brain Builders” program, volunteeringmore than 60 hours last year. Read more >
Outstanding Adult Volunteer: Nancy Feldner
Nancy Feldner is a volunteer with the Columbia Baptist Church's Spend Yourself Food Pantry ministry in Bailey’s Crossroads, providing cooking and nutrition presentations. She assists hundreds of families each year, volunteering more than 100 hours each month to help meet the needs of low-income families and personally assisting more than 600 families. Read more >
Outstanding Senior Volunteer: Robert Schnapp
Robert Schnapp is the founder and leader of A Simple Gesture Reston, an effort that inspires and enables his community to help neighbors overcome the growing threat of hunger and food insecurity. In the past year, the program reached1,500 donor households and united approximately 700 volunteersto stock the shelves of four emergency food pantries in Reston and Herndon, donating 162,000 pounds of groceries. Read more >
Outstanding Family Volunteers: Frank and Mae Antkievicz
For more than 20 years, Frank and Mae Antkievicz have volunteered with the English as a Second Language (ESL) program at Walnut Grove Baptist Church in Hanover County. During their thousands of hours of service, they have taught more than 420 students and helped prepare 30 individuals to receive their U.S. Citizenship.Read more >
Outstanding Family Volunteers: The Berry Family
The Berry Family of Harrisonburg, founded the "Brent Berry Food Drive" 15 years ago, with the 2022 drive being the largest ever, collecting an estimated $65,000 in food and personal hygiene items for community members in need. They donate the collected items to the local Salvation Army, serving 300 families. Read more >
Outstanding Community Organization: Virginia Beach Medical Reserve Corps
Comprised of 1,817 medical and public health professionals serving alongside interested non-medical community members, the Virginia Beach Medical Reserve Corps (VBMRC) shares skills, expertise, and time to support public health initiatives and respond to health emergencies. In the past year,VBMRC volunteers contributed a total of 4,477 service hoursduring 321 different events, from vaccine clinics to back-to-school events to offer children physicals and vaccines.Read more >
Outstanding Educational Organization: Louisa County Public Schools
Louisa County Public Schools' (LCPS) commitment to academic excellence extends to include volunteerism and community service, positively impacting the lives of people across the county. LCPS has fostered a culture of giving back, encouraging others to join in and strengthening bonds between residents, schools, and local organizations, creating a more connected and supportive community.Read more >
Outstanding Faith-Based Organization: Salem Area Ecumenical Ministries
With the support of more than 300 volunteers, Salem Area Ecumenical Ministries (SAEM) offers elementary and middle school meal programs and school gardens as well as Mrs. Dorsey's Clothes Closet. Working with more than 3,000 partners, SAEM is recognized as the lead ministry partner in providing food, clothes, books, and school supplies to the local community. Read more >
Outstanding Small Business: Blazer Heating, Air, & Plumbing
In Hanover and King William counties, Blazer Heating, Air, & Plumbing has become a champion for Habitat for Humanity. For more than two years, the local business has worked to share their unique skills and expertise to directly change the lives of community members, providing no-cost HVAC replacement or repair for low-income homeowners who cannot afford to fix their units and donating new materials and equipment to Habitat ReStores, among other forms of service.Read more >
A committed volunteer with Feed More's Meals on Wheels program in Richmond over the past two decades, McKesson Medical-Surgical is an invaluable corporate partner in the effort to collect, prepare, and distribute food to neighbors in need across Central Virginia. Since 2004, their employees have volunteered nearly 10,000 hours of time with Feed More, mobilizing hundreds of their employees to get involved. Read more >
About the Virginia Governor's Volunteerism & Community Service Awards: These awards annually recognize the significant contributions of Virginia citizens to the life and welfare of the Commonwealth and its people. These outstanding award winners represent the millions of generous Virginians who offer their time and talents to others each year. The nominations are open from April through June annually. Learn more here.