By Michele Bernard, TSB Lifestyle Editor
McKinney celebrated the community’s brightest stars on Saturday with The Spirit of McKinney Salute To Volunteers, presented by Volunteer McKinney.
Since 1998, Volunteer McKinney has worked to connect those with a heart for service to local nonprofit organizations. The organization also provides assistance and training and serves the area through community-wide events such as Make A Difference Day and events recognizing community volunteers.
Dana Riley serves as executive director of Volunteer McKinney. Board members include: Mike Foster, Danny Ledbetter, Scott Snellings, Lisa Bourassa, Sue Bohner, Patrick J. Cloutier, Michael Dodson, Jennifer McLaughlin, Melanie Scobey, Doc Vranici, LeRoy Wilkerson, Trish Yanes and Rafael Zambrana.
Guests gathered together at the Collin County Regional Airport to honor those who exemplify the Spirit of McKinney with a trip back in time to enjoy a 1940’s inspired hangar dance. Master of Ceremonies Johnny B of 97.5 KLAK kicked things off spinning Glen Miller’s “In The Mood” with The SMU Ballroom Dance team taking the floor by storm. Guests enjoyed a buffet dinner, complete with an ice cream bar manned by City Council members Travis Ussery, Geralyn Kever, Ray Ricchi and Mayor Brian Loughmiller serving as soda jerks.
The first award of the evening, The Kim Hoffman Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Edna Brown. Brown, a long time community volunteer who has served multiple nonprofit organizations and charities through the years, received her award on behalf of the work she does for Chestnut Square Historic Village. According to Volunteer McKinney, the award is presented to the “one adult who exemplifies the true spirit of volunteerism through volunteering with numerous organizations in or around McKinney and demonstrates a passion for identifying and meeting this community’s needs.” The award is named in memory of McKinney volunteer Kim Hoffman who passed away after battling leukemia. The award was presented to Brown by James Tippit of Independent Bank.
The Spirit of McKinney Business Service Award was presented to the business that demonstrated community support through volunteerism and/or financial support of local nonprofits. This award went to the McKinney Community Development Corporation, and was presented by Volunteer McKinney Board President Mike Foster of Market Street. The McKinney community Development Corporation funds community and economic development projects. According to its website, total grants approved by MCDC number $77,641,350.
The Youth Volunteer Award went to Sierra Francis on behalf of the special needs livestock show she developed. TSB featured this show in October, and for Catherine Festa’s story, please click here. This award goes to the 21 or younger volunteer who demonstrates leadership and/or a commitment to serving others in the McKinney area. Dana Riley, executive director of Volunteer McKinney, presented Francis her award.
The Inspired to Serve Award, presented by Barbara Tomes of McKinney Education Foundation, went to the McKinney Christian Academy. This award goes to the “public or private school, home school group or other group that endeavors to teach and demonstrate serving others to its students through curriculum, programs and community service initiatives.”
Long-time resident and community volunteer George Webb received a standing ovation from the crowd as he made his way to the stage to receive the Pete and Nancy Huff community Service Award. The Huff family presents this award to the person who “demonstrates a long-standing commitment to the community through volunteerism, board service and/or leadership of local organizations or groups. Webb has served in numerous capacities through the years. He was honored this night for his work with the McKinney Independent School District and with McKinney Parks, Recreation and Open Space. Said Webb as he expressed his thanks for the award, “We can’t all be famous, but we can all brighten our own corner.”
Teresa Price of SPCA McKinney received the Heart Award, presented by Brandon Johnson of First United Bank. This award goes to the “individual or group who has provided significant volunteer service to one agency or organization and has made a significant impact on the agency and/or the clients they serve.”
Celeste H. Cox of North Collin County Habitat for Humanity received the Nonprofit Leadership award, presented by Jeannine Sellmeyer, the founding executive director of Volunteer McKinney. Cox received this award for demonstrating leadership, commitment and vision as a paid staff member within a McKinney-area nonprofit organization.
The Volunteer Group Award, presented by Dee-Dee Guerra of McKinney Convention And Visitors Bureau, went to DV8-First Baptist McKinney for the work it does with the McKinney Housing Authority.
After the presentations of the awards, State Rep. Scott Sanford took the stage to close the evening offering his gratitude to the community’s volunteers, crediting them as a big reason McKinney is the number one place in Texas to live. “Our nonprofits, churches and volunteers are the fabric of our community,” said Sanford.
To learn more about Volunteer McKinney and how you can become a part of McKinney’s vibrant service community click here.
Photography by Sawyer Erickson, TSB Photographer