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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: July 13, 2016


NEW CASTLE (July 13, 2016) - Nominations for the Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards are being accepted by the State Office of Volunteerism through Friday, Aug. 19. These awards recognize the important contributions that Delaware's volunteers, 18 and older, make to their communities. Award recipients will be honored on October 19 at a special ceremony at Dover Downs Hotel.

As in years past, the awards honor individuals, organizations, community groups, and corporate volunteerism in the areas of arts and culture, community service, education, environment, health, human needs, public safety and social justice. In addition, three new categories have been added: economic opportunity, veterans/military families, and healthy futures. The Paul Wilkinson Lifetime Achievement Award is presented to a person who has had a longtime commitment to volunteerism. Volunteer efforts must have been performed during 2015.

"I am moved by the commitment and passion that volunteers across our state display in supporting individuals and families in need," Gov. Jack Markell said. "Their selfless service has a profound impact in the communities they serve, and while they expect nothing in return, I believe it is important to honor their efforts as a way to showcase the difference that volunteerism makes. That's why I am pleased to host the Volunteer Service Awards each year, and to honor those individuals and groups who are helping to build a stronger Delaware."

Gov. Markell and his wife, Carla, have been champions for volunteerism and service, creating and participating in the annual Delaware Week of Service every year since 2009. During that period, Delaware's volunteer rate has increased, with the Corporation for National & Community Service (CNCS) reporting more than 192,000 Delawareans volunteered in 2014, contributing 21.4 million hours of service to nonprofit and community organizations. Since 2010, the number of Delawareans who volunteer has increased 30 percent and the state's rate of volunteerism has surpassed the overall U.S. rate.

Georgeanna Windley, Chair of the Governor's Commission on Community and Volunteer Service, said that the 2016 Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Service awards "provide an excellent opportunity for organizations to recognize volunteers for their service and also serves to highlight best practices."

The nomination form is available on www.VolunteerDelaware.org. Nominators may also request a nomination form by emailing dhss_VolunteerDelaware@delaware.gov or calling (302) 857-5006. Prior to submission, you may email the nomination form to the attention of April Willey via dhss_VolunteerDelaware@delaware.gov for review and feedback.

Nominations must be delivered by Friday, Aug. 19, to the Office of Volunteerism, Attn: Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Awards, c/o April Willey, Williams State Service Center, 805 River Road, Dover, DE, 19901, or emailed to dhss_VolunteerDelaware@delaware.gov .

"What I love most about volunteerism is how it connects one person to another," Department of Health and Social Services Secretary Rita Landgraf said. "Volunteerism brings us together - person to person - and enhances our collective sense of community. In honoring the state's most outstanding volunteers, we are holding up the value of that connectedness." The State Office of Volunteerism is part of DHSS' Division of State Service Centers.

The Governor's Outstanding Volunteer Service Awards are sponsored by the Office of the Governor and are coordinated by the State Office of Volunteerism and the Governor's Commission on Community and Volunteer Service.

For more information about the awards or volunteer opportunities, go to www.VolunteerDelaware.org , or contact April Willey, Volunteer Service Administrator, at (302) 857-5006 or via email dhss_VolunteerDelaware@delaware.gov .

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.