Congratulations to Mechele Hairston of Chesapeake – winner of the 2021 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Adult Volunteer! When two Hampton Roads neighborhoods lost their last remaining grocery store, the largely minority population of nearly 18,000 citizens faced dire food scarcity challenges. Michele Hairston served as a driving force that led to the free food distribution of 25,000+ pounds of food over a two-weekend period. But it was her ongoing efforts on behalf of Impact Southside and the Solid Rock Worldwide Outreach Ministry that she made an even greater impact. In 2020, Mechele and a volunteer army of 400+ distributed more than 766,000 pounds of food which provided enough food for 1.6 million meals!
By building partnerships and alliances for food distribution planning and sustainability and creating a Norfolk Food Ecosystem, she put in place long-term solutions for which the effects will be felt for years to come. In addition to organizing, coordinating, and facilitating community-wide food distributions, she also provided recommendations to include the development of a food policy council (FPC).
Her efforts extend beyond preparation of food and dissemination. The network of volunteers coordinated by her encompasses youth volunteers, seniors, individuals from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds, and members of the LGBTQ community. She is truly helping to make her community stronger in more ways than one.
Mechele Hairston is a champion fighting for the underserved and intentionally marginalized. She is a uniter, a believer in the power of love and fellowship, who is tireless in effort, far-sighted in vision, and willing to engage and meet community organizers where they are.
Six months ago, in the midst of online learning, Fairfax County teen Ian Wallace decided to use his love of building computers to help low-income students. Wallace learned his love of computers from his father, who still keeps the original desktop he built in their garage. When it came time for his Eagle Scout project, he decided to teach students of immigrant families how to build computers of their own. “Otherwise, they wouldn’t have a computer, they don’t even have enough money to buy one themself, and I thought it would also be nice since I know how to build...
Lori Schmiege & Huey Gordon
Story of Service: Lori Schmiege & Huey Gordon
National Service Alumni of the Year Huey Gordon & Lorie Schmiege, CARITAS, Richmond Both AmeriCorps Alums with CARITAS, the dynamic duo of Lori Schmiege and Huey Gordon manage the CARITAS Furniture Bank operations. Lori, who served from 2010-2011, and Huey, who served from 2011-2012, both react with empathy and a resolve to “get things done,” attitudes they developed as members. They are also both willing and happy to coach and mentor other AmeriCorps members and ultimately show these members how to be excellent employees when they move on to the workforce. Since joining CARITAS staff, they have mentored 40 AmeriCorps members...
Story of Service: Beth Rebholz
For Beth Rebholz, AmeriCorps has provided the ultimate pathway for her to forge a successful career in financial planning. Her interest in finance, combined with her deep-seated roots in service, led her to join as an AmeriCorps member, serve as an AmeriCorps Program Director, and eventually find her dream job! Beth got her early belief in the power of service through her mother, who served as a Hospice volunteer for most of her life and also volunteered at their family’s church. Her mother’s example of community service made the decision to join AmeriCorps a natural fit. Beth also says that...
Story of Service: Doug Monaco
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Doswell Limited Partnership
Story of Service: Doswell Limited Partnership
Congratulations to Doswell Limited Partnership of Ashland - winner of the 2021 Governor's Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Small Business! Doswell Limited Partnership (DLP) recognizes the fact that residents of Hanover County can benefit in many ways from their position in the community and their access to resources. DLP, an affiliate of LS Power and owner of the Doswell natural gas power generation facility located in Ashland, employs 32 individuals and is capable of providing energy to meet the needs of more than1.2 million area homes in the Commonwealth of Virginia. DLP has made a commitment to supporting...
Story of Service: Andrew Richards
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...