POINT PLEASANT — Three deserving individuals and four groups of dedicated volunteers were honored this past Thursday evening and named as the 2012 Spirit of Our Community Award recipients.
During the second annual Spirit of Our Community awards program, sponsored by the Mason County Community Foundation (MCCF) and Point Pleasant Register and held alongside the grant reception at the Point Pleasant Moose Lodge on November 15, the hard work of the seven winners was applauded by the community members present at the fundraising event.
For the second year in a row, the MCCF Marketing Committee chose from among numerous nominees to select the seven winners who have impacted their community within seven different categories — youth leadership, arts and culture, recreation volunteerism, youth and education, economic development, health and human services.
Sammy Lopez, publisher of the Point Pleasant Register, who also serves on the MCCF Marketing committee spoke briefly at the event about the collaborative efforts of the Point Pleasant Register and the MCCF in its second annual awards program.
“This, I believe, is my favorite event that I attend all year long — bringing together people that are truly interested in the community and folks that can afford to help by writing a check and folks that choose to help by volunteering,” he said. “We get many, many nominees – over 25 this year and over 25 last year, and it’s difficult for the marketing committee to choose the winners which really says something about Mason County. It makes for a wonderful place to live and do business.”
This year’s award winners are: “Pay it Forward” for their service in youth leadership, Ed Lowe for his work in arts and culture, Brandy Barkey-Sweeney for her volunteerism in recreation, David Deal for his work with youth and education, Main Street Point Pleasant for their dedication to economic development, the Pleasant Valley Hospital Auxiliary for their work in the field of health, and the Mason County Action Group for their devotion to human services.
Prior to the acknowledgement of this year’s award winners on Thursday, Suzanne Dickens, MCCF Board Chair, spoke about the accomplishments of the MCCF this year and her hope for a bright future of the program and for all of Mason County.
“We are very proud of our accomplishments to date and we’re very optimistic about our future growth,” Dickens said. “I truly believe Mason County’s Community Foundation has such a great success because our citizens take responsibility for the well being of our community and are committed to making this place, a great place to live and to raise your family.”
Jane Winters, the regional affiliates manager for Our Community’s Foundation, spoke of the dedication of the MCCF Marketing Committee who had the hard task of selecting this year’s Spirit of Our Community winners from among the numerous nominees.
“This year marks the eighth year of service for the Mason County Community Foundation, and each year it always amazes me to see what we accomplish as we come together at the end of the year,” Winters commented. “Our marketing committee worked hard this year on this second Spirit of Our Community program in an effort to make it bigger and better this year.”
While praising the work of those award winners and the dedication they share to the improvement of their community, Winters also discussed the true goal of the community foundation which is the encouragement of the creation of charitable funds. Theses funds are then used in the provision of grants that support a variety of local programs and scholarships that support the pursuit of higher education in Mason County’s youth.
“We wanted to honor the people in the community who were working to improve the county, those who are doing good works with volunteer service and those who are leading change in our community for improvements,” Winters said. “At the same time, we wanted to build a strong collaborate effort of community funders to work together to build unrestricted grants funds to encourage our businesses and individuals that, when we work together, we can do so much more than on our own.”