What a super night we had on Tuesday, April 20 as we honored our local volunteer Hands On Heroes at our 8th annual Cheers For Volunteers at the Big Oak. Thanks to everyone who came and celebrated with us!
Hands On Heroes is an annual program to recognize outstanding volunteer efforts in our community. More than 60 nominations were submitted by non-profit agencies and community leaders in student, individual, and group categories. Award winners, as well as honorable mentions were selected by a committee based, not just on hours served, but also for their inspiration, commitment, impact, passion, and leadership.
Each nominee received a certificate, a bag of goodies, and their very own Hands On Hero cape compliments of Everfan! Selected winners also received a Hands On Heroes awards, and the student winner received a $500 Bobbie Flowers Quiet Leader Scholarship. On behalf of our partners, HOTC is proud to recognize theses very special volunteers who shine brightly in the eyes of local non-profit agencies and community members as Hands On Heroes. Take a look at the winners and photos of the evening below.
2021 Hands On Heroes Award Winners
Individual Category – Volunteers 18+ who serve independently in Thomas County
Hands On Heroes Award Winner – Mr. Pat Christopher
Patriotism runs strong in our community, but unfortunately, there is little actual assistance for veterans in our community. Pat, who has a military background, not only believes all of our veterans deserve respect and dignity in return for their service, but works tirelessly to ensure it happens. Since 2015, Pat has been the Chairman of Dog Tagss, a group originally formed in Thomasville as a veterans’ home, which has now pivoted to a resource center run by volunteers to help veterans who are homeless or on the verge of homelessness, not just in Thomas County, but throughout southwest Georgia. His leadership and efforts help provide food, rent, utilities, clothing, and emotional support. Often personally going out into the community, and unfortunately, often into the streets, to find and assist hundreds of veterans in need each year. For this, we salute you! As our 2021 Award Winner, Pat received an award, and a $250 donation to DogTaggs.
Individual Category Honorable Mention – Rose Marie Robbins, Ellen Henderson
Congratulations also these Individual Nominees: Akoshua Williams, Barbara Johnson, Cheryl Walters, Christine Santos, Cynthia Anderson, Dale Millere, Dawn Phinazee Allen, Dr. Craig Wolff, Ginny Howard, Gretchen Stephens, Jacqueline Knight, Janice Hill, Janice Rauls, Jay Flowers, Jeffery Sigala, Keyla Sigala, Jodi Merritt, Kathy Pipken, Lindsay Leverette, Mary Beth Donalson, Megan Henderson, Melissa Artz, Nancy Tillinghast, Orangie James-McCraw, Rich Curtis, Sandra Crimley-Bell, Shelba Sellers, Tim Hobbs, Valerie West, Wayne Adams, and Wendy Beatty.
Special Lifetime Achievement Award – Mrs. Aldrena Williams
Aldrena is a long-time resident and volunteer in Meigs. She has a heart for service which extends beyond herself. Her efforts not only benefit the entire Meigs community, but specifically she acts as a mentor for hundreds of youth through the Virtuous Girls Group of Meigs. For more than 10 years, she has personally arranged, coordinated, and led volunteer efforts for community clean-ups through Keep Thomas County Beautiful, fed neighbors in need, and sewn comfort items for cancer patients at Archbold. She coordinates an annual literacy fair which provides free books to hundreds of children. She is a model volunteer, and you cannot keep Aldrena down. She is always full of smiles, gratitude, and a can-do attitude we should all strive for. As a 2021 Award Winner, Mrs. Aldrena received an award, and four Disney Park Hopper Passes.
Student Category – Youth in grades 6-12 in Thomas County
Hands On Heroes Student Award Winner – Mr. Oxzavier Rivers
Oxzavier is an 11th Grade student/athlete at Thomasville High School Scholars Academy where he volunteers for a wide variety of school functions and community organizations such as stadium clean-ups, Wildlife Arts Festival, Homeless Coalition, and more through his membership in the Thomasville High School National Honor Society. This year has looked very different in terms of the number of service projects that have been offered in our local community, yet Oxzavier has plugged himself in to support in any way that he can. When our selection committee chooses award winners, they look at not only the type and amount of service, but also their commitment and inspiration to others as reflected on the nomination form. And what really set Oxzavier apart for our committee was the impression he left on his teachers and advisors which in turn left a big impression on us. Comments like — He will do a wonderful job in whatever capacity he is asked to serve. We constantly marvel at this young man’s selfless acts and the positive attitude and wonderful smile that he shows when he is volunteering, and we have said time and time again how wonderful it would be to have a society full of hearts to serve like Oxzavier’s. He sets the bar high for his peers, and the example that he sets through his actions and through his volunteering is creating a legacy for Thomasville High School and our wonderful community. Thank you for being a role model for your peers! As our 2021 Award Winner, Oxzavier received an award, and a $500 Bobbie Flowers Quiet Leader Scholarship.
Student Category Honorable Mention – Tisha Stevens, DeAsia Daniels, Jiayi Yao, Andrew Robertson, Xavier Glenn, Peyton Cosby, Anna Pope, Mya Cooney, Randy Sowell, and Katie Giemza
Group Category – Businesses, Organizations, and Civic Clubs in Thomas County
Hands On Heroes Group Award Winner – Vital Signs LLC
Vital Signs has been a supporter of HOTC and other organizations such as Hands & Hearts for Horses, and the Humane Society for many years, but really stepped up to fulfill an urgent need for the community this past year. When lock-down was ordered, owner Chris Lovelady turned Vital Signs into a full-time mask-making effort with the help of a group of 50 volunteers (led by Dawn Phinazee Allen). Chris, had just taught himself how to sew and devoted company efforts to making more than 8000 masks that were then distributed free to individuals and groups, as well as essential workers during a very critical time. He did not do it for the credit, but because he saw a need. Even when his business re-opened, he continued to devote his own time, his staff, and resources to this effort. Although many companies pivoted during the pandemic to stay in business, Vital Signs pivoted to fill an urgent need to protect our community and for that we are truly thankful. As a 2021 Award Winner, Vital Signs received an award.
Group Category Honorable Mention – South Georgia Adventures, Thomas County School – 3D Printer Group
Congratulations also to these Group Nominees – City of Thomasville Public Works, First Missionary Baptist Church, Magnolia High School Alumni Association, PBL Chapter of Southern Regional Technical College, Providence Missionary Baptist Church Leadership, The Lomax Family, Thomas County Health Department, Thomasville Jeepers, Victory Fellowship Church Food Pantry, Thomas County Central Key Club, Thomasville High School JROTC
Our first ever Community Impact Award – Ashley HomeStore
Ashley HomeStore has a corporate culture of stewardship that shines brightly through their Thomasville division. Their commitment to community starts with its leadership. This top-down approach inspires employees at every level. Locally, their far-reaching support as volunteers and donors benefits the arts, environment, healthcare, veterans, schools and youth. Examples of their corporate civic-mindedness include Hope to Dream which provides mattresses to organizations like The Boys & Girls Club. in 2019, Ashley employees and partners created teachers lounges and updated the bathroom and kitchen at Scholars Academy and MacIntyre Park Middle School with a commitment to continue this work in other schools in our area. They have provided design assistance and furnishings for the Chamber of Commerce, Vashti Center and local festivals; provided over 400 meals to local healthcare staff during the pandemic; and support local organizations like Thomas University, Troupe, Thomasville Antiques Show foundation, Tall Timbers, the Humane Society, and of course HOTC where they come out every year to volunteer for at least one project site – this past year at a Manna Drop in Pavo. Ashley HomeStore is committed to the present and future well-being of this community as also noted by their recent investment — the 1915 South Building in the West Jackson Street Corridor. Thank you for being a model corporate citizen! As a 2021 Award Winner, Ashley HomeStore received an award.
BIG CHEERS to all those who volunteer tirelessly and selflessly every day. Super thanks to Everfan, City of Thomasville, Thomas County Schools, Banks Italian Ice, Jennifer Rhodes Photography; as well as all of our sponsors and grantors who make free, community-minded events like these possible, especially Diamond Level and above sponsors Ashley HomeStore, New Hire Solutions, Mr. & Mrs. Russell Chubb, Mr. & Mrs. Howell L. Ferguson, Ms. Diane W. Parker, and Dr. & Mrs. Philip C. Watt.
Take a look at the photos below. Click to enlarge.
Student Winner – Oxzavier Rivers
Group Winner – Vital Signs
Community Impact Award – Ashley HomeStore
Thomas County Schools – 3D Printer Group
Lifetime Acheivement Award – Ms. Aldrena Williams
South Georgia Adventures
Individual Winner – Pat Christopher