Usually, they are invisible threads in the fabric of our community, but Tuesday they were in the spotlight, recognized and celebrated for their positive contributions that make Lawrence and Douglas County special. They are the 2012 Volunteers of the Year saluted by the United Way of Douglas County and its Roger Hill Volunteer Center.
Particular congratulations go to three, selected from a list of 17 nominees for the Wallace Galluzzi Outstanding Volunteer award. Susan Stuever is this year’s recipient, for her 19 years of volunteerism with Health Care Access and other organizations. Taylor Moldenhauer was honored in the youth category for her work at Lawrence Memorial Hospital. Joanne Hurst became only the third individual honored with the Galluzzi award for lifetime service, reflecting her years of commitment to Lawrence Memorial Hospital, its auxiliary and its endowment, as well as additional community causes and organizations. The usually unheralded volunteers and particularly the Galluzzi nominees more than deserve the accolades they were given Tuesday.
Altogether, recognition was focused on 60-some groups and individuals for the services they provide, generally in assisting the less fortunate in our community, and for their exceptional personal volunteerism. The 17 Galluzzi Award nominees ranged in age from 18 to 92. They exemplify others who work at 100 or more nonprofit agencies in the county; all give their time and abilities in countless ways that benefit our community.
Volunteers were honored in categories that included lifetime service with agencies, group and family contributions, leadership and board service, and direct service; contributions by collegians also were singled out.
The Galluzzi Awards have been given annually since 1985 in memory of Wallace E. Galluzzi, who died in 1984. He was the first president of Haskell Indian Junior College as it began its transition from Haskell Institute into an accredited four-year university. He was active in numerous nonprofit and service organizations, and the awards reflect his dedication to volunteerism and his interest in serving the community.
Congratulations to all those whose efforts were applauded Tuesday. Although they work outside of the limelight, their stories are indeed inspirational. And thanks to all the organizations and agencies for the services they provide. Well done!