Individuals were honored on May 7, 2019, for their outstanding service at the annual Virginia Volunteerism and Service Conference in Richmond. The 3rd Annual Virginia National Service Awards celebrated six AmeriCorps and Senior Corps volunteers who have demonstrated a commitment to service that has impacted countless communities in Virginia. These awards shine a light on those individuals serving in national service programs who have shown a passion for those they serve and exhibited outstanding dedication to their commitment to service.
“These national service members are helping to empower youth, prevent drug overdose, and build more resilient communities,” said Liz Burneson, Chairman of the Virginia Service Foundation. “We are so proud to honor these outstanding members of the year and to express our deepest gratitude to the thousands of additional members serving across our state!”
Winners of the 2019 Virginia National Service Awards:Rosealee Maxey, Senior Services of Southeastern Virginia
Senior Corps – Senior Companion of the Year - Senior Companions are volunteers age 55 and over who make a difference by providing assistance and friendship to adults who have difficulty with daily living tasks, such as shopping or paying bills. Rosealee Maxey is always there for the seniors she serves in her Hampton Roads senior apartment complex -- coordinating activities and meals for the residents, providing transportation to doctor’s appointments, taking her clients out for manicures and pedicures, and even traveling to the hospital daily when one of her clients became ill.
Clyde Roberts, Clinch Valley Community Action Agency
Senior Corps – Retired Senior Volunteer Program (RSVP) Volunteer of the Year - RSVP allows seniors to share their skills and talents while serving in a variety of volunteer activities. Clyde Roberts has served more than 8,600 hours of service in his 14 years as an RSVP volunteer making a tremendous impact to countless veterans in his community. As an RSVP volunteer, he assists veterans with their day-to-day activities so that they may live independently in their homes. Mr. Roberts helps these veterans and their families with necessary paperwork needed for VA benefits, organize their bills, balance their checkbooks, arrange appointments, provides transportation to appointments at various VA centers in three states and often serves as a member of honor guard for funeral and memorial services for fallen veterans and their families.
Evelyn Freeman, Peninsula Foster Grandparent Program
Senior Corps – Foster Grandparent of the Year - Foster Grandparents are role models, mentors, and friends to children with exceptional needs. At 91 years of age, Ms. Freeman has been serving for 14 years as a Foster Grandparent volunteer at the Discovery STEM Academy. Over the years of service with the program, she has watched many of her elementary students go on to graduate from high school and earn college degrees. Her positivity fills her students with hope and she’s always encouraging them that they can accomplish anything with commitment and hard work.
Crystal Curtis, Appalachian Community Action and Development Agency
AmeriCorps VISTA Member of the Year - AmeriCorps VISTA (Volunteers in Service to America) members bring their passion and perseverance where the need is greatest: to organizations that help eradicate poverty. Ms. Curtis is the Appalachian Community Action Agency’s first dedicated staff member to address the drug/opioid addiction issue which is crippling Southwest Virginia. As an AmeriCorps VISTA, Crystal has been highly effective in raising community awareness about the agency’s program and expanding its reach throughout the community. She has been a constant presence at educational and drug take back events and even worked to acquire 4,000 drug disposal packets for partner organizations. Crystal has also been instrumental in the planning of a large-scale conference offering a discussion of opioid issues for the faith community and has worked to compile a comprehensive community resource list which has been shared extensively, including with East Tennessee State University.
Denise Carl, Richmond Area Healthy Futures Opioid Project
AmeriCorps State Member of the Year (Robert E. Wone Award for Exemplary Service) - The Wone Award was established in memory of Robert E. Wone, who served on the Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and Volunteerism from 2002-2006 and dedicated his life to volunteering for charitable organizations and offering pro bono legal service. The award recognizes an exemplary AmeriCorps member who has exhibited the same dedication to community service and civic engagement as did Mr. Wone. Ms. Carl was practicing law when she changed the trajectory of her life and was inspired to help others have access to life saving and life changing information. As a second term full-time AmeriCorps member with the Richmond Area Healthy Futures Opioid Program, Denise serves at VCU Rams in Recovery as a mentor providing peer support services to students and other individuals. She also assists with the Family Education Programs which are held weekly for families and individuals that are seeking information and resources.
Andrew Richards, Virginia Service and Conservation Corps
National Service Alum of the Year
Andrew Richards served from 2017-18 as a Resource Crew Leader with the Virginia Service and Conservation Corps AmeriCorps program at Hungry Mother State Park in Marion. He and his team served by battling invasive species conducting prescribed burns, applying herbicides/pesticides, and maintaining trails. Andrew also participated in various restoration projects throughout the region, including helping to restore native species habitat and completing a new trail for the Virginia State Parks system. He led his crew by adopting modern technology and introducing new methods of data tracking and reporting to the program. Andrew made the most of his service experience and fell in love with the town and the people in the region. Now that his service term has ended, he continues to live in Marion and is an employee with Virginia State Parks.