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DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498
Email: jill.fredel@delaware.gov

Date: September 23, 2014


NEW CASTLE (Sept. 23, 2014) - Twenty-one individuals and groups will be honored with the 2014 Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Award on Oct. 14 at Dover Downs. The people and organizations participate in such diverse activities as educating others about the environment, advocating for causes close to their hearts, and raising thousands of dollars for community organizations.

"Every day, we see the difference that volunteers make across our state," Gov. Jack Markell said. "This year's Volunteer Award recipients are just a few of the outstanding Delawareans who give their time and talents to make Delaware a better place to live and inspire others to do the same."

The 2014 Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards recipients represent the efforts of thousands of Delawareans who make positive contributions to society and inspire others to do the same.

More than 148,000 Delawareans volunteered in 2010, contributing 16.9 million hours of service to nonprofit and community organizations, according to the Corporation for National & Community Service. Another 41,000 Delawareans volunteered informally by helping neighbors or working on community issues.

"As a state of neighbors, we can improve the lives of many by working together. By doing that, we create a positive and healthy future for all," said Rita Landgraf, Secretary of the Department of Health and Social Services, which oversees the state's efforts to foster volunteerism and service. "This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism in our state."

On Oct. 14, more than 400 people are expected to honor the volunteers for their outstanding service at Dover Downs. The event will begin with a reception at 5 p.m., followed by dinner at 6 p.m. and the ceremony starting at 7. The event is open to the public. Tickets are $35 per person and are available by visiting www.volunteerdelaware.eventbrite.com. Information on the event and the winners is available on www.volunteerdelaware.org .

The Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor, the Department of Health and Social Services, the Division of State Service Centers, the State Office of Volunteerism, as well as the Governor's Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.

The 2014 recipients are (short biographies are attached): PAUL WILKINSON LIFETIME ACHIEVEMENT AWARD:
Marilee Bradley , Seaford

New Castle County
Henry Alisa, Hockessin, Human Needs
Tedd Cocker, Wilmington, Community Service
Lauren Gibson, Wilmington, Social Justice and Advocacy
Fran Peterson, Hockessin, Environment
Seth Ross, Hockessin, Environment
Cheryl Stump, Newark, Social Justice and Advocacy
Arthur Wilson, Wilmington, Environment

Kent County
Karen Waters, Felton, Community Service

Sussex County
James Angus, Frankford, Social Justice and Advocacy
Denise Emery, Lewes, Arts and Culture
Helen Pickford Daley, Rehoboth Beach, Community Service

New Castle - Group
Ardens' Environmental Duo, Environment
AtTAcK Addiction, Health
Big Brothers and Big Sisters of Delaware, 5+ years, Education
Delaware Jaycees, Community Service
Widener Law Veterans Law Clinic, Social Justice and Advocacy

Kent - Group
Educational Program Interpreters, Education
Mended Hearts Volunteers, Health

Sussex - Groups
Trap Pond Partners, Environment
Village Improvement Association, Community Service

Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Awards Short Bios

Marilee Bradley
Paul Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award
Nominator: Gayle King
Since 1969, Marilee Bradley has been a vital part of the Auxiliary of Stockley Center in Georgetown. During this time, Marilee has held the positions of president, vice president, and assistant treasurer. Marilee is a strong advocate for the center, and for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families. She never misses a chance to talk about the needs of the Stockley Center or to participate in an event. At 92, she is still active raising funds for projects and awareness about the center.

New Castle - Individual
Henry Alisa
Human Needs
Nominator: Katie Macklin
In 1992, Henry Alisa joined the Board of Directors for the Alzheimer's Association of Delaware and organized the first Delaware Walk. Since that time, Henry was asked to serve as an Alzheimer's Ambassador to Congressman John Carney. As an ambassador since the program's inception, he has played a major role in contributing to the strides made, including several legislative victories for the Alzheimer's community.

Tedd Cocker
Community Service
Nominator: Mary E. King
In his six years with Riverview Historic Cemetery, Tedd Cocker has provided hope and information for thousands of people. He has researched, cross-referenced, and confirmed the previous 36,000 burials at Riverview and re-mapped sections. A volunteer passionate about the final resting place of veterans, he has also located graves of many African-American troops who served during the Civil War and leads commemorations on Memorial Day in honor of the more than 928 veterans interred there. Tedd is also active in the repair of more than 100 stones, all done thanks to a grant he wrote for the program.

Lauren Gibson
Social Justice and Advocacy
Nominator: Angela Seguin
In August 2004, Lauren Gibson attended her first Sexual Offense Support (S.O.S.) program during her freshman orientation at the University of Delaware. She went through training that school year and has volunteered as a victim advocate ever since. Lauren's work with S.O.S. fueled a passion to pursue prevention work professionally, all the while serving several thousand hours as a volunteer advocate.

Fran Petersen
Nominator: Julie Bartley
Fran Petersen began her volunteer career at Tri-State Bird Rescue during the summer of 1992. Since then she has served as an integral member of the volunteer team. A few of Fran's duties include training and mentoring new volunteers, leading tours, and serving as an educator during the annual open house. Fran dedicates more than 300 hours to Tri-State each year and had volunteered more than 6,000 hours since 1992.

Seth Ross
Nominator: Hannah Starke and Breanna Goggin
Since 1997, Seth Ross has dedicated his time, talents and resources to advocate and support the Delaware Nature Society. As a former DuPont engineer, Seth understands energy and climate change issues. Because of these skills, Seth has led numerous committees and represents the Delaware Nature Society on the Delaware energy task force. Seth's lifelong commitment to the environment is exemplary and provides a model for a new wave of volunteers.

Cheryl Stump
Social Justice and Advocacy
Nominator: Angela Seguin

Cheryl Stump began volunteering with Sexual Offense Support at the University of Delaware in 2008 and is now a backbone of the organization. In her role with S.O.S., Cheryl provides support for victims, accompanies them to the hospital, teaches coping strategies for managing crisis, and offers referrals for other resources. Newer volunteers look to Cheryl as an experienced and knowledgeable peer. She can always be counted on to make others feel comfortable.

Arthur Wilson
Nominator: Cristina Palmer
Arthur Wilson, or Art as he is known around Brandywine Creek State Park, made it his goal to reach 1,000 hours of service before his one-year anniversary there. Not only did he reach his goal, he surpassed it and continues as a leader among volunteers and staff alike. According to his nominator, the Brandywine Creek Park is in the best shape in years because of Art and the amazing staff that inspires him and is inspired by him.

Kent - Individual
Karen Waters
Community Service
Nominator: Angelica Morales
For the past three years, Karen Waters has volunteered as coach for the Delaware's Finest Stars basketball team. However, to the 15 or so teens she coaches, she is so much more. Karen keeps the teens focused year-round, helping them to become the successful young men she knows they can be. When one player got in trouble in school, it was not the parents who came to help, it was Karen. She encourages the young men to set goals and to explore opportunities, such as college, which most of them would not have considered before.

Sussex - Individual
James Angus
Social Justice and Advocacy
Nominator: Rashmi Ragan
Since 2008, James Angus has served as the resident tax expert and volunteer for the Delaware Community Reinvestment Action Council (DCRAC). Jim volunteers as tax clinic director, assisting with client files, IRS regulations, and policy changes that affect clients. To date, Jim has volunteered more than 5,000 hours to DCRAC and more than tripled the number of clients helped each year.

Denise Emery
Arts and Culture
Nominator: Edna V. Ellett
As president of Coastal Concerts, Denise Emery works tirelessly to advocate for the organization and its mission of promoting classical music appreciation. Concert attendance, contributions, and scholarships have all increased substantially during her tenure. Denise has also introduced new programming, such as "Musical Perspectives," as a way to further enhance the audience experience.

Helen Pickford Daley
Community Service
Nominator: Maryanne Seiler
Helen Pickford Daley is an extraordinary volunteer, giving thousands of hours to various organizations throughout the area. On any given day you may find her interacting with Gull House residents, giving caregivers a respite though Delaware Hospice or helping people who are homeless find the resources they need. A retired nurse, Helen stays true to her nurturing nature and belief that we are in the world to help others.

New Castle - Group
AtTAcK Addiction
Nominator: Rita Landgraf, DHSS Secretary
AtTAcK Addiction is a grassroots advocacy group of parents and other adults who have lost children to drug overdoses or have been touched by addiction in some capacity. AtTAcK Addiction educates families about opiate addiction and treatment options, works to prevent drug use, advocates to reduce the stigma associated with the disease, and lobbies for legislation that supports their causes. Thanks to this organization, the Good Samaritan 911 Bill now protects those who call 911 to report an overdose and has helped to change the public discussion about addiction.

Ardens' Environmental Duo: Elaine Schmerling and Carol Larson
Nominator: Jen Boders and Katrina Streiff
Bound together by their passion and commitment to the forests and natural areas, Elaine Schmerling and Carol Larson have been transforming the Ardens (Arden, Ardentown, and Ardencroft) for more than a decade. During this time, they have reclaimed swaths of forest from invasive species, written several successful grants, recruited other volunteers, and sit on several Boards. In addition, their work has extended beyond the Ardens by assisting other communities with native plantings, water management, and habitat improvement. The work they do has benefited local communities and beyond.

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware - Mentors Serving 5+ Years
Nominator: Mary P. Fox
Since 1964, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Delaware (BBBS) has been providing caring adult mentors for at-risk youth throughout the State. These volunteers not only mentor, but open their hearts and influence the lives of the youth. BBBS mentors help youth reach their potential, impacting not only academic development, but social and familial relationships as well. The 54 mentors serving 5+ years have spent more than 5,400 hours this year alone with their little brothers and sisters!

Delaware Jaycees
Community Service
Nominator: Alex Mili
For more than 75 years, the Delaware Jaycees have executed local community service projects, most notably the Wilmington Christmas parade and the Separation Day festival in New Castle. Each of these projects require over 200 hours of planning and preparation by more than 20 New Castle Jaycees. They also help other local organizations, such as West End Neighborhood house, for whom the Jaycees led several food drive to ensure that no one was left hungry at Thanksgiving. This is just a small sampling of the large impact this organization has made on Delaware.

Widener Law Veterans Law Clinic
Social Justice and Advocacy
Nominator: Mary Allen
The Veterans Law Clinic volunteers provide free legal aid to disabled veterans and their dependents with a claim pending before the Department of Veteran's Affairs (VA). Law students spend approximately 20 hours a week in the clinic, working with lawyers who are volunteering their time, as well as with clients. During the 2013-14 academic year, they provided representation to 302 clients and recovered more than $3 million for its clients over the past four years.

Kent - Group
Educational Program Interpreters
Nominator: Di Raftner and Tiffany Leonard
The Delaware Agricultural Museum and Village (DAMV) relays heavily on their Educational Program Interpreters to educate visitors and share the DAMV mission regarding the impact agriculture had on the shaping of our nation's history and its impact on our daily lives. Each year these 21 volunteers spend more than 5,000 hours leading school tours, serving as docents to visitors, participating in local events, and executing fundraisers. If it were not for these amazing volunteers, the DAMV would not be able to keep their doors open and educate visitors on the importance of agriculture and local history.

Mended Hearts Volunteers
Nominator: Terry Schrenker
The nine Mended Hearts Volunteers who serve in the Cardio-Vascular Intensive Care Unit at Bayhealth, Kent General Hospital are also heart surgery survivors themselves. Their personal experiences enable them to be empathetic and compassionate while interacting with the patients and their families. From impatient visitation to recovery, these volunteers are there every step of the way. The Mended Hearts Volunteers also offer monthly meetings open to those in the community that are dealing with heart disease and heart surgery.

Sussex - Group
Trap Pond Partners
Nominator: AshLeigh McKinney
The Trap Pond Partners is a group of volunteers dedicated to raising funds and meeting the needs of the local community through programs offered at Trap Pond State Park. For the Children in Nature Initiative they volunteers promote various resources, such as a bike rally, Borrow-A-Bike program, healthy Kids Day, and other initiatives to encourage young people to be active outdoors. Through their fundraising efforts, this group was able to provide full or partial scholarships for outdoor recreation/ education for over 1,500 underserved youth in 2014 alone.

Village Improvement Association
Community Service
Nominator: Gail Schaffer
In 1909, a group of approximately 16 women in Rehoboth Beach united to improve their community through the Village Improvement Association (VIA). More than 100 years later this organization is still tending to the needs of Rehoboth beach and neighboring communities. One such program is "Help the Homeless," where the VIA and partners give those in need a hand up to secure homes, jobs, and household items. The VIA recently finished expanded the original 1926 clubhouse and look forward to 100 more years of improving their community.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.