Volunteers from 53 counties were honored at the Ninth Annual Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards ceremony at the Franklin Marriot Cool Springs in Franklin on February 12th, 2017. The award celebrates the efforts of 84 volunteers statewide who have strived to improve their communities through service. Miss Tennessee 2016, Grace Burgess presented the awards, and NewsChannel5 weekend anchor, Jennifer Kraus, served as emcee for the event.
One youth and one adult volunteer were selected from participating counties to receive this prestigious award. Nominees were judged based on the community’s need of the volunteer service performed, initiative taken to perform the service, creativity used to solve a community problem and impact of the volunteer service on the community.
Adult Honoree from Macon County is Roger Russell of Lafayette. Roger volunteers numerous hours for the support of his community in Lafayette. Roger retired from the Tennessee National Guard and the Military Department of TN in 2005. He has volunteered most of his time in the past 11 years assisting people in his community and trying to improve the life of others. Since 2014, Roger has done volunteer work to coordinate the construction of a new city park in Lafayette, Winding Stairs Park. During the past three years, Roger has volunteered over 1,720 hours of work as the park is being developed. Through an agreement with the county, Roger worked side-by-side with several inmates each day, training them to learn and obtain a good job when they are released. Additionally, he volunteered to help with the design and construction of Lafayette Missionary Baptist Church, assisted with repairing homes in the community after the extensive damage of the 2008 tornado, and helped to coordinate the construction of the women’s building at the local fairgrounds.
Macon County Youth Honoree is Luci Allen. Luci lives in Lafayette, TN and is a student at Macon County High School in Lafayette. One of Luci’s main interests is 4-H. She is passionate about working with animals, as well as public speaking. Luci has performed hundreds of hours of community service in Lafayette and throughout Macon County. Through these hours of community service and through these projects has learned the true meaning of citizenship and leadership. She has held local, regional, and state offices in various clubs and organizations, including the Macon County Fair Board, the Beta Club and her local FFA chapter. She was an area representative for Central Region 4-H and state representative for Tennessee 4-H. She is currently serving as state president of 4-H Tennessee All-Stars. She was selected to attend the National 4-H Congress in Atlanta, where she and other students across the United States had an opportunity to learn from each other.
“Each year, 1.1 million Tennessee volunteers give more than 143 million hours of service, contributing the equivalent of $3.4 billion to Tennessee’s economy. They are the backbone of our great state, and by giving of their time and talents to fulfill needs that would otherwise go unmet, they truly embody the spirit of giving,” said Volunteer Tennessee Executive Director, Jim Snell.
Volunteer Tennessee coordinates the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards at the state level. Volunteer Tennessee is the 25 member bipartisan citizen board appointed by the Governor to oversee AmeriCorps and service-learning programs and to advance volunteerism and citizen service to solve community problems in the Volunteer State. Brenda Hiett, Macon County Chamber of Commerce, serves as the coordinator of the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards in Macon County.