In a lot of ways, a volunteer uses his or her actions to speak for those less fortunate, but in Judy Wallace’s case, her service is used for the welfare of those with no voice at all.
Wallace has volunteered for the past 18 years, first with the Humane Association of Wilson County and then when it became New Leash on Life. The no-kill Lebanon animal shelter dedicated to improving the welfare of companion animals in the community through shelter, placement, spay-neuter, education and awareness.
“I began volunteering in animal welfare because I saw the tremendous need to help homeless dogs and cats in Wilson County,” Wallace said. “The satisfaction of helping hopeless animals in our community find loving, forever homes keeps me going. It’s the most challenging but rewarding work I’ve ever done.”
For her volunteerism, Wallace was honored as a 2016 Wilson County Governor’s Volunteer Star.
“It was such an honor,” Wallace said. “I haven’t done this work for the animals to get recognition or pats on the back, but I must admit, it was nice to be recognized.”
Wilson County is currently accepting nominations for the 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Star Awards, and there’s an easy way to nominate a worthy local volunteer.
The annual award recognizes “outstanding volunteers from each of Tennessee’s 95 counties,” according to the Volunteer Tennessee website.
“We know the value of calling attention to someone’s service and sacrifice; the military does this extremely well, but even in the military, someone has to submit the proper paperwork in order to recognize that special someone,” said Wilson County committee member John McMillin. “Honestly, nominating someone for outstanding volunteer service isn’t a lot of work to reward someone’s dedication, hard work and creativity.”
Nominations for youth and adults may be made. Nominations for Wilson County honorees will be accepted through Dec. 15. At that time, a committee will go through the nominees and select one youth and one adult to send on to the state level, but all of the nominees will be honored locally.
“The deadline to get them in to the state is Dec. 30,” McMillin said.
McMillin, who is executive director of United Way of Wilson County and the Upper Cumberland, said, “from my standpoint I’m thankful for a volunteer no matter what level.
“I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and working with volunteers in this county who are simply amazing. I’m happy to be working with the county mayor and our local Volunteer Stars award committee to search these people out and be able to give some recognition where it is truly deserved.”
Anyone can nominate someone for a Governor’s Volunteer Star Award. Nomination forms may be picked up and dropped off at various sites, including the United Way office, the county mayor’s office, the Mt. Juliet Chamber of Commerce office, the Watertown Public Library and at The Lebanon Democrat office. Again this year, nominations may be made online at lebanondemocrat.com/gvsa.
“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to nominate volunteers for this deserving honor in Wilson County,” McMillin said.
The Wilson County awards ceremony will be in January where all of the local nominees will be honored.
Participating counties, including Wilson, will name one outstanding youth and one outstanding adult volunteer. Those named a 2017 Governor’s Volunteer Star will gather in Franklin in February to be honored and celebrate volunteerism in Tennessee.