Nashville’s Volunteer Heroes

We LOVE this time of year. The days are getting longer, the weather is in perfect balance, and… April is National Volunteer Month! Each April, we host a celebration of ALL Nashville volunteers at the Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards luncheon. This year, 105 incredible volunteers were nominated by nonprofits, faith-based groups, businesses, and individuals in recognition of the life-changing service they provide our community. Congratulations to everyone who was nominated! (See the entire list of these amazing people here, and if you happen to run into one of them around town, be sure to give them a high-five.)

On April 10 at the luncheon, six Strobel Award recipients will be selected from 18 finalists. From starting a running group with women in recovery at Magdalene House to recycling old mattresses while providing employment for the homeless, these 18 finalists are truly inspiring.

> Read about the Civic Volunteer Group finalists, including Belmont University Students in Free Enterprise, Oasis Center’s Middle School Teen Outreach Program, and The Patient and Family Advisory Councils at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

> Read about the Community Impact Award finalists, including Alice Essary, Gertrude Caldwell, and Tangerine Zielinski.

> Read about the Corporate Service Project Award finalists, including Dell ProSupport, Elite Martial Arts of Brentwood, and Reliant Bank.

> Read about the Direct Service Volunteer Award finalists, including Larry and Beth Lisle, Nancy Little, and Darlene Vastano.

> Read about the Volunteer Innovator Award finalists, including Marcie Brolund, Re-New (Julie Davis and Cheryl Hays), and John Poole.

> Read about the Youth Volunteer Award finalists, including Elizabeth Calton, Hui Cheng, and Simran Mahtani.

In grateful recognition of the sponsors of the 2012 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, Hands On Nashville would like to offer a sneak peek into why these generous organizations serve as great examples of community volunteerism at its best.

Caring for the Community Beyond Hospital Walls
Presenting Sponsor: HCA/TriStar Health

It is only fitting that the Presenting Sponsor of Middle Tennessee’s largest and longest running volunteer recognition ceremony – named for a beloved community volunteer whose life work focused on caring for others – is  HCA/TriStar Health. Committed to the care and improvement of human life, HCA/TriStar Health employees not only deliver healthcare services; they also improve lives through volunteerism and community outreach.

Every year, HCA/TriStar employees choose nonprofits to support with their time or money (or both!) through the company’s “Caring for the Community” campaign. During the 2011 Caring for the Community campaign, HCA employees pledged $2.9M to meet the needs of nonprofit agencies, and served 10,500 hours during HCA Community Day.

“We want to inspire each other to make a commitment to get involved with a local nonprofit and help,” said Joanne Pulles, president of the HCA Foundation and Hope Fund. “It’s a natural extension of our mission at HCA. We’re dedicated to the care and improvement of human life both inside and beyond the walls of the hospital, and are proud once again to present the Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards.”

Driving a Brighter Future in Nashville
Founding Sponsor: Ford Motor Company

What do creating an urban farm and making energy efficient upgrades to homes have in common? Aside from the fact that they are both Hands On Nashville programs and are made possible by the hard work of volunteers, both programs require a lot of stuff. (Think tools, insulation, dirt… You get the idea.) HON staff members spend a lot of time hauling all that stuff around Nashville in vehicles generously donated by Ford Motor Company.

Beyond making the already complicated logistics of these programs a bit more manageable, Ford Motor Company is also committed to engaging its employees in volunteerism. In 2011, more than 100 employees from Ford’s Nashville Business Center improved the energy efficiency of four low-income homes through HON’s Home Energy Savings Program; prepared garden beds for the summer growing season at HON’s urban garden; and supported youth programs at Oasis Center through a variety of projects.

“In the words of our executive chairman Bill Ford, ‘A good company delivers excellent products and services. A great company does all that and strives to make the world a better place,’” said Evelyn Sanders, director of Ford Motor Credit’s Nashville Business Center. “We are grateful to all the Strobel nominees for making Middle Tennessee an even better place for all of us.”

Volunteering Together for a Cause
Civic Volunteer Group Award Presenting Sponsor: U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company

When employees volunteer together to address an issue or benefit a cause, amazing things can happen. U.S. Smokeless Tobacco Company (USSTC) and its parent company, Altria, have seen this first hand. In 2011, USSTC and Altria Group employees built on their already strong culture of teamwork and caring by rebuilding Radnor Lake hiking trails destroyed by the May 2010 flood; creating rain gardens with Cumberland River Compact; improving the grounds at Monroe Harding Children’s Home; supporting Metro Nashville Public Schools during Hands On Nashville Day; and more.

“Volunteering together for a cause is core to Altria’s and U.S. Smokeless Tobacco’s culture,” said Olivia Wood of Altria Client Services. “We are proud to honor all the volunteer groups who do incredible work in our community, and the finalists for the Civic Volunteer Group Award: Belmont University Students in Free Enterprise, Oasis Center’s Middle School Teen Outreach Program, and The Patient and Family Advisory Councils at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.”

The Engine Behind Community Impact
Community Impact Award Presenting Sponsor: C3 Consulting

C3 Consulting knows that groups are more innovative and productive when they have access to meeting space that is designed specifically to allow teams to gather, dream, plan, and grow. That’s why the company opened the engine, a creative new meeting space adjacent to the firm’s corporate offices in the heart of Nashville on Sidco drive. The space is available for professional and community organizations to use for problem-solving, strategic planning, team building, and a variety of other meetings.

With the engine and C3’s ongoing commitment to supporting nonprofits, the company’s impact on the community makes it a perfect match for the Mary Catherine Strobel Community Impact Award. “We are pleased to recognize volunteers who make a difference in their neighborhoods by presenting the Community Impact Award,” said Beth Chase, president and CEO of C3 Consulting. “Alice Essary, Gertrude Caldwell, and Tangerine Zielinski have made significant contributions to the community through their work, and we are honored to recognize their achievements.”

Celebrating Corporate Service
Corporate Service Project Award Presenting Sponsor: Emdeon

Emdeon employees are committed to doing the right thing, in the workplace and in their communities. Because Emdeon shares its employees’ enthusiasm for community involvement, the company offers paid days off specifically dedicated for volunteerism. In 2011, Emdeon employees used this time to build a sensory and reading garden at McGavock Elementary School; improve schools as part of Hands On Nashville Day; and sort, bag, and tag holiday gifts for the Salvation Army Angel Tree program, among other initiatives. In 2012, Emdeon will play a key role in the Nashville Waterway Recovery and Restoration Project through a variety of volunteer projects.

“Because Emdeon takes corporate service so seriously, we are honored to be a part of celebrating the volunteerism of other companies,” said Susan Byrd, vice president of human resources at Emdeon. “We look forward to presenting the Corporate Service Project Award to one of three amazing companies: Dell ProSupport, Elite Martial Arts of Brentwood, and Reliant Bank.”

Giving Time, Talent, and Heart
Direct Service Award Presenting Sponsor: McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations

Direct service is all about hands-on efforts that further an organization’s mission. For the past seven years, the work of the talented individuals at McNeely Pigott & Fox Public Relations has embodied the heart of the Mary Catherine Strobel Direct Service Award. Through its generous gift of time and expertise, MP&F artfully tells the HON story to media, volunteers, and other stakeholders, allowing HON to recruit more volunteers and make a bigger impact in the community. And HON isn’t the only charity that benefits from MP&F’s generosity: In 2011, MP&F provided more than 3,800 hours of pro bono service to 30 Middle Tennessee nonprofit organizations.

“We have seen the power of direct service and what it can mean for nonprofits,” said MP&F founding partner Mike Pigott. “We are proud to honor finalists for the Strobel Direct Service Award who are doing life-changing direct service work in our community: Larry and Beth Lisle, Nancy Little, and Darlene Vastano.”

Powering Volunteerism (and Engines) Through Innovation
Volunteer Innovator Award Presenting Sponsor: Cummins, Inc.

Many of us know the feeling. We want to volunteer, but with busy jobs and hectic schedules, it can often be difficult to carve out time. Cummins, Inc. doesn’t let that stand in the way of its employees’ volunteerism. Through an innovative volunteer program, Cummins partners with HON to provide large service projects at its Nashville headquarters, in addition to off-site opportunities.

In 2011, Cummins employees adapted toys for Technology Access Center, giving children with disabilities the chance to engage in fun activities independently; planted rain gardens to help protect our waterways; refurbished Smith Springs Recreational Area at J. Percy Priest Lake; and more. This year, in addition to continuing much of its work from 2011, Cummins will also play a key role in the Nashville Waterway Recovery and Restoration Project.

“As the world’s leading designer and manufacturer of technology products for engine-powered equipment, innovation is at the center of what we do,” said Josh Inman, sourcing director for Cummins Filtration. “Marcie Brolund, the YWCA Re-New program (Julie Davis and Cheryl Hays), and John Poole are remarkable volunteers responding creatively to an unmet community need. We are pleased to honor these volunteer innovators at the 2012 Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards luncheon.”

Promoting Compassionate Care Among Young Volunteers
Youth Volunteer Award Presenting Sponsor: Baptist Healing Trust

Most volunteerism starts from a small seed of hope and compassionate care. And from tiny seeds, abundant gardens can bloom. The Baptist Healing Trust knows that young people who volunteer serve as an inspiration to others, and can cause a great ripple effect in communities. The Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards’ longest-serving award sponsor of eight years, Baptist Healing Trust once again will honor youth volunteers at the 2012 awards luncheon.

“Each year, we are inspired by the young people nominated for the Strobel Youth Volunteer Award,” said Catherine Self, president and CEO of Baptist Healing Trust. “Each of them is driven to volunteer by a sense of compassionate care for those who need it, and serve as powerful examples for all of us. We are truly honored to recognize Youth Volunteer Award finalists Elizabeth Calton, Hui Cheng, and Simran Mahtani at this year’s Strobel Awards.”

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