Public asked to vote for best volunteers

  • Friday, April 20, 2012

  • Updated Friday, April 20, 2012 5:52 am

AmeriCorps VISTA is asking the public to vote for the distinguished volunteer of the year.
The five AmeriCorps VISTA members who serve Georgetown County through a United Way collaborative will present one volunteer from the participating organizations with the award in May.
The winner will be chosen through votes received online and via telephone at the United Way office.
The 11 participating organizations in the United Way AmeriCorps VISTA collaborative nominated a volunteer of the year.
The participating organizations are: Georgetown County Family YMCA, Georgetown County Parks and Recreation, Georgetown County United Way, Friendship Place, Helping Hands, Miss Ruby’s Kids, Neighbor to Neighbor, Salvation Army, Smith Medical Clinic, Tara Hall Home for Boys, and Teach My People.
The volunteers chosen have all dedicated much of their time, efforts and talents to service throughout Georgetown County.
The public can vote by visiting the Get Connected website at www.getconnected.gcuw.org or by calling the United Way at 843-546-6317.
To vote on the Get Connected website, users will need to create a username and password to log in and then vote in the poll on the “About” page.
Voting will close May 4 at noon, and the winner will be announced on May 10 during a ceremony for the organizations.
“Our 11 VISTA organizations wouldn’t be as successful as they are without the help of the volunteers who donate so much of their lives to serving causes that touch them. We are really enjoying the opportunity to recognize the amazing work they all do and to bring attention to volunteerism in Georgetown County,” said Anne Marion, a member of the United Way AmeriCorps VISTA collaborative. “We want everyone in the community to share our excitement about these great volunteers and organizations and get online or pick up the phone and vote!”

The nominees


Mary Blunt, Helping Hands
Blunt has volunteered at Helping Hands for more than eight years. She began as a representative from Soul Saving Station assisting residents applying for financial assistance. Last year, she became the Clothes Closet leader. She helps ensure clothing donations are sorted and ready for those in need. Blunt is a role model to new volunteers and keeps the needs of the residents a priority in her heart and in her mind.

Dr. Carl Fisher, Smith Medical Clinic
As the medical director at Smith Medical Clinic, Fisher ensures that residents who have no insurance and can’t afford to pay for care have access to high quality healthcare. He’s been taking care of needy people in the Lowcountry for more than 23 years – and has never accepted any compensation. Fisher is a graduate of Rhodes College in Memphis and the University of Tennessee Medical School, and served in the Air Force for three years.

Jimmy Holt, Georgetown County Parks and Recreation
Holt began his coaching career with Parks and Rec in 1981 when his son began playing basketball. He added softball in 1990 when his daughter started. Holt continues to be a leader in the community by serving as the president of the East Bay Booster Club. He was presented with a lifetime achievement award for his more than 25 plus years of dedicated service to the youth of Georgetown.
 
Johnny Mau, Tara Hall Home for Boys

Since 2009, Mau has shown his dedication to the boys at Tara Hall by raising money to send them to Carowinds, organizing three field days, recruiting more volunteers, and spending much of his free time tutoring and mentoring our residents. He also volunteers his time with The Salvation Army, Helping Hands, the Senior Olympics, Church of God Home for Children, Habitat for Humanity, and Relay for Life.
 
Elaine Minkler, Teach My People

Hi, I’m Tootsie and that’s my mom, Elaine Minkler. I just turned 9 this year. After a successful racing career in Florida, I retired in 2006 and came to live with my new family. My mom and I began volunteering at Teach My People three years ago after learning that I can help kids with their reading skills. I love going to Teach My People. I get petted all the time and it’s especially fun when the kids use me for a pillow.

Heather Pelham, Georgetown County Family YMCA

Pelham is the chair of the YMCA Harvest Gala, which raises money for children’s scholarships to YMCA afterschool and sports programs. Pelham is always doing something on the volunteer front, like writing newsletters for nonprofits, teaching yoga to elementary school kids, helping kindergartners with reading readiness, and making videos for charitable groups. The mother of three, she works at the Georgetown Library and teaches aerobics.

Teresa Peterson, Miss Ruby’s Kids
Peterson has served Miss Ruby’s Kids for seven years. She was the first chair of the program committee and was instrumental in helping plan and implement a three-year series of parenting workshops. Prior to her election as board chair in 2009, Peterson served for two years as the chair of the annual Garden Party fundraiser. Teresa helped design the Education Mentor Program, volunteering as one of the first mentors and continuing to serve in that capacity.
 
Belinda Rutledge, The Salvation Army
Rutledge volunteers with The Salvation Army armed with a vacuum, Windex, and an attitude that draws a smile.  Last year she served more than 400 hours by filling clothing and furniture vouchers, merchandising products, filling food baskets and many other tasks. Her efforts helped to raise financial resources to serve more than 8,700 persons in Salvation Army Social Services and to help keep 30 students in The Salvation Army Reading/Math program.

Mike Sparkman, Neighbor to Neighbor

Retiring here in 2006 from Seal Beach, Calif., Sparkman and his wife, Gaye, are residents of Pawleys Island. Sparkman was one of the first Neighbor to Neighbor volunteers in Georgetown County, and in 2011, he spent more than 100 hours of his time providing 48 rides for 10 home-bound seniors, driving 1,380 miles. Sparkman volunteers with Meals on Wheels and a mentor program.

Fran Tilman, Georgetown County United Way

Tilman has been involved with the United Way in different capacities since 1997, and currently serves as the board chair. For the past 12 years, she has demonstrated unwavering dedication and whole-hearted support to the Georgetown County United Way. As the director of volunteer services at Georgetown Memorial hospital, she’s no stranger to volunteerism. The Georgetown resident also dedicates much of her time and talents to Prince George Episcopal Church.
 
Jerome “Rome” Washington, Friendship Place
A Georgetown native. Rome left in 1972 to join the Army but returned in 1992. He has been volunteering at Friendship Place six days a week for five years. He helps with the soup kitchen serving food, cleaning tables, sweeping, mopping and any other task thrown his way. He truly represents the best of volunteerism, selfishly giving of himself in any way he can.

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