NORWICH – For the past 123 years, the Norwich Family YMCA has held an annual dinner in recognition of everything the Y stands for – volunteerism, respect, professionalism, the community and its youth. Since 2010, a special emphasis has been placed on the hundreds of volunteers who contribute to the YMCA every year with its Hero Award Ceremony for Volunteer Recognition.
Originally initiated by former board member Steve Benenati in 2009, Norwich Family YMCA Executive Director Jamey Mullen said the ceremony is a way to honor and recognize volunteerism in all its many forms at the YMCA.
“Volunteerism is every facet of what the YMCA is all about and the Y was founded by volunteers,” said Mullen. “That passion for community service continues to support the YMCA every day.”
According to Mullen, close to 500 volunteers donate thousands of combined hours every year at the YMCA, helping out with annual events such as the Gus Macker 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament, the Friday night dances and Halloween Parade, Healthy Kids Day and the Turkey Trot. Without their support and dedication, he added, these events wouldn’t be possible.
At the 2011 Hero Awards Ceremony, the YMCA recognized youth volunteer Luke Shaver, adult volunteers James Harty, Paul Bucalo and Nancy Heiss, staff volunteer Kim Martinson, board volunteer Kim Perez and Jeff Abbott, who received this year’s Lifetime Achievement Award.