Voices of Alaska: First Lady’s Volunteer Awards: A time to recognize all that is good

  • By Sandy Parnell
  • Wednesday, February 12, 2014 4:24pm
  • Opinion

Since the First Lady Volunteer Awards were founded by Bella Hammond a quarter century ago, hundreds of Alaskans have been honored for their volunteerism in the 49th state.

During the past few years, I’ve been privileged to continue the tradition, and today I invite you to participate by nominating someone on the Kenai Peninsula who demonstrates a personal commitment to long-term volunteer service, and who has had a significant impact on the lives of Alaskans.

Last year’s recipients included a volunteer firefighter in Cordova, a football coach in Anchorage, a mentor at a youth correctional facility in Fairbanks, and a volunteer who works with special needs students in Anchorage. One recipient was a 95-year-old who worked with at-risk youth, and another was an architect who used his skills and time to design and build cabins for a Camp Fire summer camp. Past recipients have also included exceptional teens who have had a great impact on the lives of others.

The day-in and day-out work of Alaska volunteers often goes unheralded. They are not the kind of people who wait for things to change, wish for conditions to be different, or get involved simply to gain recognition. So many Alaskans are change agents with the highest motivation – rolling up their sleeves because they are determined to improve the lives of people in their community.

I’m reminded of a young girl who penned one of the most famous diaries in history. Anne Frank wrote: “How wonderful it is that nobody need wait a single moment before starting to improve the world.” Alaskans embody that spirit.

All types of volunteer work are considered for the award, but don’t wait: the nomination period ends March 3. The guidelines note that the volunteer committee is looking at qualities such as length of service to the community or state, extraordinary personal commitment, or significant impact or benefit to the community or state. Awardees are chosen by a committee of Alaskans, and will be honored at a luncheon and ceremony at the Governor’s House in May.

Nomination information is available at volunteerawards.alaska.gov, or contact Lindy Irwin at 907-269-7450 or email governor@alaska.gov with other questions.

I look forward to reading about the good service of Alaskans who make our state strong, vibrant, and an extraordinary place to call home. Thank you in advance for taking the time to nominate and share the stories of these wonderful people in our community.

Sandy Parnell is First Lady of Alaska.

More in Opinion

Former Gov. Bill Walker, right, and his running mate former commissioner of the Department of Labor and Workforce Development Heidi Drygas, speak to Juneauites gathered for a fundraiser at a private home in Juneau on Tuesday, June 7, 2022. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Why I’m voting for Walker

Walker is the only candidate with the potential to govern effectively for all Alaskans.

Nick Begich III campaign materials sit on tables ahead of a May 16 GOP debate held in Juneau. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Nick Begich is who Alaska and America need now

It is in Alaska’s best interest to elect a member of the Republican party

State Sen. Josh Revak (Photo provided)
The time has come to end Big Tech’s rule

The hope is that the bipartisan American Innovation and Choice Online Act (S. 2992) will come to the Senate floor for a vote

Michael Heimbuch attends a memorial service for the late Drew Scalzi on Aug. 5, 2005, at the Seafarers Memorial on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)
Point of View: King salmon: The clash of culture and science

People do some pretty awful things to king salmon stocks

Lieutenant governor candidate Edie Grunwald speaks at a Charlie Pierce campaign event at Paradisos restaurant in Kenai on Saturday, March 5, 2022. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Election Integrity: An Alaskan question with an Alaskan answer

A needless round of feel-good meetings and what-if conversations will be a thing of the past

This photo shows the University of Alaska Southeast campus in Juneau. (Jonson Kuhn / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: I’m a longtime educator, and I’m supporting Walker/Drygas

The issues our state faces are significant with regard to education.

The offical ballot for the Aug. 16, 2022, Special General Election features ranked choice voting. (State of Alaska Divison of Elections)
Opinion: Alaskans deserve an election system that represents our differences

The new system’s goal is to make this election cycle transparent, secure and easy for all Alaskans to vote

Larry Persily (Peninsula Clarion file)
Opinion: Congress could keep health insurance costs from rising, but it has to act fast

The cost of health insurance will rise substantially next year for about 13 million Americans

UAA Chancellor Sean Parnell (Courtesy)
Opinion: UAA’s career certificates are helping to fill Alaska’s workforce pipeline

At UAA, we are announcing a new suite of certificate programs responding to some of the state’s most critical needs

Most Read