2020 Spirit of NH
2020 SPIRIT OF NH AWARDS DETAILS
Learn more About Spirit
About the Spirit of NH Awards
Volunteer NH has been hosting the Spirit of NH Awards as an annual celebration of volunteerism since 2003. This event recognizes those who go above and beyond the call to serve throughout the Granite State, shining a spotlight on the often unsung heroes among us in front of an audience of their families, friends, colleagues, and the greater community.
The 2020 Spirit of NH Awards
If you are familiar with the Spirit of NH Awards, you won’t be surprised to hear that the 2020 event looked a little different than in past years. Public health concerns meant that we were unable to gather together in person, but we took this unfortunate situation as an opportunity to re-imagine meaningful methods of celebrating!
A social media campaign ran on the Volunteer NH Facebook page leading up to a (free) virtual, live-streamed event. You can watch the recording below.
Spirit of NH Award: Jaimie Adams
The Spirit of NH Award honors one individual or group which, in the opinion of the nomination review panel, best exemplifies the spirit of service in New Hampshire. The name of this recipient is kept secret until event night, when the announcement is made. The 2020 Spirit of NH Award recipient is Jaimie Adams.
Jaimie registered on NH Responds when the State put out a call for volunteers to assist with the response to COVID-19 in NH. When a long-term care facility within the South Central Public Health Region found itself with a staffing shortage in April 2020, Jaimie knew that she had to step in. Jaimie volunteered her time and expertise at the facility for six weeks straight, working 3rd shift, 8+ hours/day 4-6 days/week. This meant living in respite housing to avoid infecting her husband and 2-year-old daughter, and completing a 2-week quarantine between the end of her service and finally being able to go home. Jaimie made a tremendous difference in the lives of the residents and staff during her deployment. Earlier in the pandemic, Jaimie also conducted testing and trained National Guard and Public Health members on how to properly test and run testing sites through the Metropolitan Medical Reserve System. Before the pandemic, she was a valued patient and Veteran volunteer with Wentworth Home Care & Hospice.
Jaimie wrote this poem about her COVID-19 deployment experience: https://volunteernh.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/New-Scrubs-Jaimie-Adams.pdf
People’s Choice Award: Ishwori Bhatta
For the first time ever, a People’s Choice Award was incorporated into the Spirit of NH Awards. The general public cast their votes, and Ishwori Bhatta was selected to receive the award!
Ishwori is a kindhearted and passionate individual. He volunteers for a wide variety of causes and organizations that serve and celebrate New Hampshire’s Nepalese community members. He has even served as a founding member of the New Hampshire Nepali Community, and the New Hampshire chapters of the International Nepali Literary Society and the Non-Resident Nepali Association. Throughout the pandemic, Ishwori has found ways to give back to the community, including donating supplies and working to increase awareness within the Nepalese community and beyond.
The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Manager of the Year Award: Nicole Finitsis
The Governor’s Outstanding Volunteer Manager of the Year Award was created by former Governor John Sununu to honor volunteer administrators and salute their excellence in leadership and management of volunteers in New Hampshire. Award nominations are reviewed by a panel of previous recipients of the award.
Nicole Finitsis was selected as the Outstanding Volunteer Manager of 2020. Nicole is the Volunteer Coordinator for Beacon Hospice Care, an Amedisys Company, in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. Nicole is creative, empathetic, and caring. She is known for her impressive “match-making” ability to pair hospice patients with the perfect volunteer – and for making each and every volunteer feel supported and appreciated. Nicole is also well-respected by her peers and serves as the Regional Mentor for the Amedisys offices in New Hampshire and Maine.
Generously sponsored by Orr & Reno.
Some of our award recipients began volunteering specifically to meet new needs brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Others nimbly adapted their regular volunteer activities. This video highlights their work, and you can learn more about each featured award recipient in the categories below.
Social Justice Volunteerism
Generously sponsored by Cigna.
Some of our award recipients have been engaged in service activities related to social justice. This video highlights their work, and you can learn more about each featured award recipient in the categories below.
Youth/Young Adult Category
Generously sponsored by the Stephens Family.
This category recognizes individual volunteers age 22 or younger. Click here to expand or collapse.
Outstanding Awardee: Isabel Povey
Isabel began fighting food insecurity at the age of seven! Since then, she has been advocating to find solutions to alleviate hunger not only in New Hampshire but also around the globe. To that end, Isabel volunteers with the New Hampshire Food Bank, primarily helping out Saturday mornings at the JFK Mobile Food Pantry, and at a variety of local soup kitchens. Isabel also founded Isabel’s Seeds of Hope, a nonprofit organization that provides vegetable seeds as a sustainable source of nutrition. In the midst of the pandemic, Isabel has found ways to continue providing support to her community by organizing food drives, collecting water for a neighbor whose well went dry, and inspiring her friends, family, and local community to get involved in everything she does.
Alex is committed to radical empathy. She has a passion for the arts and works in her community to help facilitate volunteering and community organizing of arts programs. Alex is a student at the University of New Hampshire and is an active member of the Changemaker Collaborative. She has also been involved with the university’s Pre-Orientation Volunteer Experience in Service (PrOVES) program and other Civic and Community Engagement initiatives. Her commitment to community led Alex to be selected as a 2020-2021 Campus Compact for New Hampshire Newman Civic Fellow.
Corinne was nominated for her major contributions to Operation Care for Troops, an organization that delivers cards, care packages, and special treats for deployed military personnel. Corinne has spent countless hours making cards, assembling care packages, fundraising to cover shipping costs, and inspiring others to get involved. She has worked with a wide variety of groups to coordinate card-writing: Lion’s Club of Salem, Boy Scouts, Girls Scouts, Pelham High School, and St. Patrick’s Church, and more!
Deviroux is a hard working and engaged volunteer with the New Hampshire Teen Institute. This nonprofit organization that works with middle and high school students to promote healthly lifestyles and help prevent substance misuse. Deviroux is always willing to step up and take on more responsibilities, helping wherever she is needed. Most importantly, she is truly a mentor to other young women involved in the organization, including staff and participants.
Sachin is passionate about food justice. He is a Dartmouth College student and works on this issue with the Dartmouth Center for Social Impact. As an Eagle Scout, Sachin provided 100 backpacks with winter supplies to homeless individuals. He has also partnered with food banks to increase the donations that they receive from grocery stores. Sachin is currently focused on learning how ethical leadership and collaboration can help solve not only food insecurity but homelessness as well. This style of leadership drives Sachin in his service activities. His commitment to community led Sachin to be selected as a 2020-2021 Campus Compact for New Hampshire Newman Civic Fellow.
Smriti Sharma Sapkota
Smriti, who hails from Nepal, is currently a nursing student and Vice President of the Cross-Cultural Club at Colby-Sawyer College. Smriti is committed to working within her college and the local community to bring events that focus on race and culture so that everyone can learn a little bit more about the world. She brings folks together to have difficult conversations in a safe space, and strives to bring an inclusive culture wherever she goes. Her commitment to community led Smriti to be selected as a 2020-2021 Campus Compact for New Hampshire Newman Civic Fellow.
Tam, known as “Tallie,” is an international student at Plymouth State University who is passionate about volunteering and connecting with others through service. She believes that the best way to feel at home in a new place is to volunteer and make a difference in your community. To that end, she is President of PSU Volunteers and is involved with the Office of Community Impact, helping students find local service opportunities. Her commitment to community led Tallie to be selected as a 2020-2021 Campus Compact for New Hampshire Newman Civic Fellow.
As a social work student at Saint Anselm College, Tess understands the importance of meeting community needs – and, in particular, the needs of vulnerable populations. Tess served as a volunteer Site Coordinator for the Sununu Youth Services Center, where she developed an understanding of the systemic issues impacting disadvantaged youth. Tess is also involved with her school’s Meelia Center, where she facilitates volunteer opportunities for students. Tess believes that it is important to have discussions about the service folks are doing to help facilitate a deeper commitment to social issues within our communities. Her commitment to community led Tess to be selected as a 2020-2021 Campus Compact for New Hampshire Newman Civic Fellow.
This category recognizes individual volunteers age 23-64. Click here to expand or collapse.
Outstanding Awardee: Mary Beth Stocken
Mary Beth cares deeply about others. She identifies what needs doing and makes it happen with contagious enthusiasm that prompts others to join her efforts. For 17 years, Mary Beth has volunteered at the Upper Valley Haven, going above and beyond in everything that she does – including serving five-course lunches on Fridays. Additionally, countless families are appreciative of the hundreds of hooded bath towels she has sewn for families served by the Haven and Good Beginnings of the Upper Valley. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Mary Beth has also stepped up to help lead a mask-making effort, the UV Mask Makers, that has provided tens of thousands of masks for the Upper Valley region of New Hampshire and Vermont. Mary Beth is known and appreciated for her boundless energy and willingness to step up and help others.
Ajay Rana Bhat
As an active member and Secretary of the Everest Centennial Lions Club, Ajay Rana Bhat was a key part of the group’s COVID-19 response throughout the state of New Hampshire. Knowing that he wanted to help the community, Ajay and others in the Club worked on two primary projects. 1) They donated face masks and other medical equipment to healthcare workers, a local nursing home, and other community members in need. 2) They worked to collect and deliver groceries to international students studying in New Hampshire. Ajay not only participated in distribution, but also sewed face masks and purchased medical supplies himself. Even though he has only lived in New Hampshire for a short time, Ajay feels strongly about giving back and helping others in this community, and he has been instrumental in the success of these projects.
Barbara Mills has been serving with the SHARE Fund for over 5 years, working in both the thrift store and food pantry. She is happy to tackle any task given to her, and takes it upon herself to find and complete projects on her own. Whether it be organizing the dry goods in the pantry, sorting clothes, or organizing the annual holiday food baskets, Barbara does it with a strong work ethic and positive energy that is inspiring to those around her. She has been a huge asset – especially in the midst of the pandemic. Her spirit of behind-the-scenes service contributes immensely to the SHARE Fund’s efforts to serve the community.
Brent volunteers with the Southeast Land Trust (SELT) of New Hampshire in a number of ways. He serves on SELT’s Board of Directors; he is a volunteer easement steward, monitoring one of their conservation easements and helping to ensure that the landowners are adhering to the terms of the easement; he serves on the Land Stewardship Committee. Brent is COO for NEMO Equipment, and he has led teams of NEMO staff in a volunteer project, clearing and maintaining trails. He has also organized a sale of NEMO equipment where all of the profits were donated to SELT. Brent always jumps at the chance to help SELT in any way that he can and he does so with a positive “can-do” attitude.
Cathy is truly a volunteer with heart. She has been volunteering with Make-A-Wish New Hampshire as a wish granter for over three years now; signing up was one of the very first things she did after retiring. Cathy’s commitment to the organization, each child, and each small detail is what makes all the difference in the world to the children she serves. She always puts passion and effort into her volunteer work, continuously going the extra mile. When asked why she volunteers with Make-A-Wish New Hampshire, Cathy says it is because the positivity that a wish brings to a child has the power to take their mind off of their difficulties and brings pure joy into their lives.
As a lawyer in Nepal, Chhatra was committed to uplifting the social, legal, economic and cultural status of women, children, and other marginalized individuals. Since moving to the United States in 2007, she continued this work by supporting the Nepalese community here in New Hampshire. Through the various organizations she is involved with, – such as the Non-Resident Nepali Association and the Gurung “Tamu” Society of New Hampshire – Chhatra helps with matters related to resettlement, immigration, settling in (Engligh language assistance, apartment hunting), and finding employment (job application, starting a business). Throughout the pandemic, Chhatra has also helped others navigate the unemployment system, and volunteered to collect and distribute critical supplies for those in need.
Chris has been volunteering with the New Hampshire Teen Institute since 2017. They have worked with both middle and high school students through multiple overnight programs, which requires a large time commitment in advance for training and during for the program itself. Chris has helped to educate, mentor, and support the participants and staff in substance misuse prevention and other areas of public health and resiliency. Most recently, Chris took on an administrative role in the January Leaders in Prevention retreat, mentoring and supporting the program’s youth volunteer team. They helped with program sustainability by creating clear descriptions, expectations, and a schedule for the position. Multiple NHTI youth participants have commented that Chris is always willing to go above and beyond to help those who need it.
Dallas is a volunteer Welcome Ambassador for the Families in Transition – New Horizons Willows Substance Use Treatment Center. Her main responsibility is to welcome clients when they arrive at their facility for treatment and services. In addition to greeting clients, Dallas coordinates appointments, provides reminder calls, and completes other tasks throughout the office including faxing, copying and organizing. During the pandemic, Dallas has been taking the temperature of every participant that comes into the facility and cleaning community spaces. Dallas is a key member of the team as she provides a welcoming presence for those seeking substance use and mental health treatment – a very vulnerable time in their lives.
Heather has been dedicating her graphic design skills to help The Upper Room communicate a clear marketing message for the past 2 years. Recently, Heather donated her time and energy to their annual charity auction, designing the invitations, save the dates, envelopes, and promotional materials. Heather was able to help pivot the strategy during the pandemic and assist with an updated marketing plan that was appropriate – and still fun – to the current times. She is professional and dedicated, and her work on this event has been pivotal to its success.
Ishwori Bhatta is a kindhearted and passionate individual. He volunteers for a wide variety of causes and organizations that serve and celebrate New Hampshire’s Nepalese community members. He has even served as a founding member of the New Hampshire Nepali Community, and the New Hampshire chapters of the International Nepali Literary Society and the Non-Resident Nepali Association. Throughout the pandemic, Ishwori has found ways to give back to the community, including donating supplies and working to increase awareness within the Nepalese community and beyond.
Jaimie Adams registered on NH Responds when the State put out a call for volunteers to assist with the response to COVID-19 in NH. When a long-term care facility within the South Central Public Health Region found itself with a staffing shortage in April 2020, Jaimie knew that she had to step in. Jaimie volunteered her time and expertise at the facility for six weeks straight, working 3rd shift, 8+ hours/day 4-6 days/week. This meant living in respite housing to avoid infecting her husband and 2-year-old daughter, and completing a 2-week quarantine between the end of her service and finally being able to go home. Jaimie made a tremendous difference in the lives of the residents and staff during her deployment. Earlier in the pandemic, Jaimie also conducted testing and trained National Guard and Public Health members on how to properly test and run testing sites through the Metropolitan Medical Reserve System. Before the pandemic, she was a valued patient and Veteran volunteer with Wentworth Home Care & Hospice.
Jaimie wrote this poem about her COVID-19 deployment experience: https://volunteernh.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/New-Scrubs-Jaimie-Adams.pdf
James T. McKim, Jr.
James volunteers with the Manchester NAACP and the Town of Goffstown. He has championed, “Courageous Community Conversations,” a multi-segmented community initiative for members of the Goffstown community to talk about race, racism, and micro-aggressions. This program has been widely attended and has made a remarkably positive impact. James has spearheaded initiatives that include town staff, community members, and greater Manchester at large. His service with NAACP is focused on helping to diversify New Hampshire and develop the state into being a more welcoming place for minorities.
Rick has volunteered as a Guardian ad litem for eight children over the past 10 years through CASA of New Hampshire. In this role, Rick advocates for abused and neglected children who come to the attention of the family courts. This means that he gets to know the children and their circumstances, advocates for their best interests, and becomes involved in key aspects of their lives (educations, mental health, etc.). Rick has spent the last four years advocating for and supporting two teenage sisters. Rick has an amazing ability to connect with the children and their caregivers, whether they are birth parents, relatives, or foster parents. He walks the walk and treats others with life-affirming respect and dignity.
Roland has been volunteering with the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard’s STEM Outreach Program since its inception. He has become pivotal in the success of one of their signature activities, SeaPerch, a program where students build an underwater robot. Roland has become the go-to guy for everything SeaPerch related and has helped bring this hands-on learning experience to hundreds of students throughout the Seacoast. He works with the teachers and students directly, but is also active behind the scenes, making sure the toolkits are compiled and delivered to the classrooms as well as training other Shipyard employees to facilitate the program. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Roland moved everything to a virtual setting so the program could continue. His impact will live on in the students he has helped through their increased knowledge and confidence in STEM-related courses and activities.
This category recognizes individual volunteers age 65+. Click here to expand or collapse.
Outstanding Awardee: John Barry
John “Jack” Barry has been a longtime volunteer with the Aviation Museum of New Hampshire. In the past year, however, Jack has taken the lead in a new initiative: a hands-on project in which local high school students at the Manchester School of Technology are building an actual airplane! Since the program started in September 2019, Jack has led a team of twenty students and an equal number of volunteer mentors in all phases of the complex build process: coordinating schedules, training students, assigning tasks, as well as checking and inspecting work. He has a knack for getting people to want to do their best. Jack inspires loyalty from the other adult volunteer mentors, which leads them to contribute time and expertise to the plane-build project to help today’s students become tomorrow’s aviation professionals. He also wins the confidence of students – despite their age differences of over six decades – with his open-mindedness, his plain-spoken demeanor, and his willingness to share his stories.
Celeste volunteers at UpReach Equestrian Center, a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the well-being of individuals by partnering them with the power of the horse. For the past 12 years, Celeste has given her time and talent in a variety of ways by leading therapeutic carriage lessons for people with disabilities and by being the horse handler for equine-assisted learning groups. She interacts with adults and children that have experienced abuse and trauma, as well as recently incarcerated women recovering from alcohol or drug addiction at the Dismas Home. She also helps to keep the horses happy and healthy by participating in their horse exercise program. Celeste is kind and empathetic to everyone she meets – and she has a knack for engaging those who are disengaged with just a little extra compassion and encouragement!
Dr. Robert Andelman
Greater Seacoast Community Health (including Families First Health & Support Center & Goodwin Community Health)
Since 2017, Dr. Bob has been a volunteer physician working with patients seeking treatment for substance use disorder at Families First, a community health and family resource center. Truly a champion for his patients, Dr. Bob goes above and beyond by calling them personally (even on weekends) to see how they are doing after starting them on a new treatment. Since the COVID-19 pandemic hit, Dr. Bob has taken on a host of additional opportunities – seeing patients above and beyond his usual schedule, offering his expertise to other health providers, and even undertaking telehealth. He’s passionate and cares deeply for all of his patients.
Greg has been very active in Scouting through the Daniel Webster Council, Boy Scouts of America in numerous capacities – including being a member of their Executive Board and as the Chair of the Council’s Properties Committee, where he is responsible for all Scout facilities in the Council. He also has served at the national level of Scouts in the High Adventure programs, as well as numerous in National Jamborees. His commitment and dedication to a life of service is an inspiration to his friends and family.
Karen’s involvement in the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains has been lifelong. She has been a troop leader, a board member, a training coordinator, and a volunteer service coordinator. Most recently, Karen has dedicated her time and passion to the Amherst and Mont Vernon community of Girl Scouts, helping to keep more than 200 girls (and their families) active in Girl Scouting from kindergarten through high school. Due to her inspirational and dedicated effort to outreach and engagement, this community has the highest retention rate in the Council. Everyone is touched by Karen’s service, whether they are a troop leader receiving her advice, as a Girl Scout who has in her a tireless advocate, or the community as a whole which has an enormous Girl Scout community working to make the world a better place.
Lucille A. Jordan
Lucille’s personal and professional mission is to work towards a more civil society. To that end, she has served as Chair of Campus Compact for New Hampshire, a national coalition of colleges and universities committed to the public purposes of higher education. In addition, she has served on the board of directors for a number of other organizations dedicated to creating the best education experience for all. Lucille is often looked to for her advice and expertise on issues surrounding the Community College System of NH. She’s a guiding light and inspiring mentor to the students she encounters every day.
Marc A. Boyd
Marc’s affiliation with AARP New Hampshire began in 2013. Since then, he has been an impactful, enthusiastic voice for the organization and their 220,000 members. He has energetically served as AARP NH’s Volunteer State President and works with staff and volunteers to achieve AARP’s mission – enhancing quality of life for all as we age – with vision and joy. Because of Marc’s passion for continuously raising the bar to ensure the world is place where the 50+ community can thrive, he has no qualms about speaking up and making his voice heard on issues he believes in. He is an advocate for those without a voice.
Patricia M. Lucas
In her more than six years tenure as a volunteer with the SHARE Fund, a nonprofit that provides material and financial support to those in need during severe hardship, Pat has done pretty much everything there is to do. In fact, she often takes care of tasks before she’s even asked! Data entry, bagging, shopping, cleaning, answering phones, filing, customer service, inventory, and restocking are just some of the important activities that Pat is involved with. Whether she’s helping a single mom pick out clothing or finding a few “special” food items for someone’s cart, Pat always puts her heart into serving others.
Richard A. Mason
Though Rick has spent his professional career in fire service capacities all over the state of New Hampshire, he has always been actively committed to service in the Scouting program – specifically in the Daniel Webster Council, Boy Scouts of America. He was the first youth member of the Daniel Webster Council’s Executive Board, and has continued there for over 45 years so far! He has been also active in other areas of Scouting in national level capacities – the Order of the Arrow, National Risk Management, and many national jamborees. Rick is known to his friends as always happy, pleasant, and cheerful, and – most importantly – committed to serving others.
Stephen has volunteered with Southeast New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity for the last four years. Each month, he has consistently contributed over 24 hours of service – working on all aspects of residential building. In addition to his actual volunteer activities, he makes other volunteers feel welcome and is always willing to share his knowledge. A perennial problem-solver, Stephen is the one who you can count on to find a creative solution using a tool or some kind of gadget – and always with a smile on his face.
National Service Category
Generously sponsored by McLane Middleton.
This category recognizes individuals for their service as an AmeriCorps member or AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer. Click here to expand or collapse.
Outstanding Awardee: Carol Austin
Carol has been a volunteer with the Monadnock RSVP Volunteer Center since 2003, participating in both the Neighbors-In-Deed independent living program and America Reads, a national literacy program. During the 2019-2020 school year, Carol worked with 31 children in kindergarten and first grade as part of the America Reads program to help them improve their reading skills and promote a love of reading. During the pandemic, Carol made sure these students received their books with hand-written notes before the summer break and stepped up this fall to tutor students in school and to participate in the new Pen Pal program. In her service with the Neighbors-In-Deed program, Carol has continued to provide support to those she serves by keeping in regular contact via phone and connecting them with resources to navigate these challenging times. Carol builds a great rapport with people of all ages and has been crucial in supporting the onboarding of new staff and volunteers within the organization. She has been an invaluable source of support for program participants, staff, and volunteers – especially during these tough times.
Ally O’Neill served as an AmeriCorps member with the Goodwill AmeriCorps Serves Multilingual Leadership Corps from April to September 2020, supporting multilingual public school students in the Nashua School District’s first remote learning summer academy. She helped tutor students and provided much need wraparound services, helping teachers navigate a new learning environment and reaching out to English learners at risk of falling behind academically and socio-culturally from peers. Her focus and hard work helped to sustain and promote the program even in the midst of the pandemic.
Ariel J. Kapteyn
Ariel first served as an AmeriCorps VISTA member with the Catholic Charities NH (CCNH) VISTA Project in 2018-2019 with the Manchester Police Athletic League (MPAL). She stayed on with MPAL as their first Director of Marketing upon the completion of her service year. In May 2020, Ariel came back to national service and is currently serving as the CCNH VISTA Leader. As the CCNH VISTA Leader, Ariel assists with managing the program and approximately 15 AmeriCorps VISTA members. She conducts regular check-ins with the members and has streamlined processes, created centralized locations for program information, and re-imagined their bi-monthly VISTA meetings to fit the COVID-19 era we are currently living in. Ariel has a strong work ethic and is always ready to tackle any project.
Bonnie has been an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer with the Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties Senior Companion Program for almost ten years. As a Senior Companion, she helps seniors living independently at home by offering support and companionship. Bonnie currently provides companionship for five individuals in the Plymouth area. When COVID prevented her from going to visit, Bonnie instead communicated with her visitees via telephone on a weekly basis, making sure they were doing alright. Bonnie’s long history with the program has made her a valuable resource and asset for staff and other Companions.
Bridget has been serving as an AmeriCorps member with Goodwill AmeriCorps Serves since November 2019. She takes on any task, big or small, with a can-do, tireless attitude. She has worked on various marketing projects, infusing all her work with artistry and fresh energy. Bridget encourages other Goodwill NNE AmeriCorps members to share about their service and their impact and has been instrumental in highlighting these efforts throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. She is creative and helpful, and a real asset to the organization.
Eunice has been an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer with the Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties Senior Companion Program for over 11 years. She currently offers support, companionship and a friendly smile to two seniors living in the Plymouth area. Eunice goes into her community to help frail seniors who need help in order to remain independent in their own homes. She offers friendly visitation, help with light household tasks, transportation to necessary appointments, respite for caregivers, and assistance with information and referrals. When the COVID-19 pandemic prevented her from going to visit, Eunice instead communicated with her visitees via telephone on a weekly basis, making sure they were doing alright. She is a strong advocate for her visitees and a role model for other Companions.
Geri Sargent has been a Foster Grandparent AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer with The Friends Program for 22 years. She currently volunteers with a second grade classroom at Belmont Elementary School, providing support for her teachers and engaging in various projects with the students. Geri gets to know all of her students on an individual level and is loved by the staff and students alike.
Izcar Desueza Delgado
Izcar has been serving as a Goodwill NNE Granite State Service Corps AmeriCorps member with Nashua PAL since January 2020. Her primary duties involve mentoring youth at PAL and supporting them with homework and social-emotional skills. Izcar also uses her Spanish language fluency to make PAL’s programs more accessible for Nashua’s many Spanish-speaking families – and more recently, to help more families understand the pandemic. Additionally, Izcar assisted with providing outdoor activities over the summer to keep the PAL kids engaged. She has been a true asset to the PAL team.
Lyman A. Cousens
Lyman is an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer with The Friends Program RSVP and transports seniors in need to critical medical appointments. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, he stepped up to the plate by ensuring that homebound seniors had what they needed and continued offering his driving services. Lyman’s dedication and willingness to step up – even in the midst of the pandemic – helped the program continue to provide critical services and ensured that seniors could remain as independent as possible. Lyman’s dedication and perseverance are evident through his willingness to help seniors in both good times and bad while always going the extra mile.
Peggy L. Verney
For more than two years, Peggy has been an AmeriCorps member serving as a Harbor Homes Recovery Corps recovery coach with White Horse Recovery. Peggy provides those in with recovery from substance misuse with support calls and assistance with insurance or other primary needs to help achieve a chosen path of recovery. She was instrumental in the launch of the 24/7 Carroll County Peer Recovery Support Services program. Peggy does not quit until she finds the service or assistance that a client needs and always goes the extra mile to reach any set goal that she has for assisting others.
Bob has been an AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer with the Community Action Program Belknap-Merrimack Counties Senior Companion Program for over eight years spending nearly 75 hours each month offering companionship and transportation to seniors in the Greater Manchester area. He goes above and beyond, adjusting his personal schedule to fit the needs of those he helps. Others have called him a comfort and inspiration and say that his visits have had a profound impact on their loved ones. Bob is dedicated to his role and to the people he visits, often becoming considered as a part of their family.
This category recognizes groups of 2+ individuals who volunteer together or with the same organization. Click here to expand or collapse.
Outstanding Awardee: New Hampshire Food Bank Salvage Sorting Volunteers
The seven members that make up the core group of volunteers at the New Hampshire Food Bank are truly committed to the organization’s mission. As the only food bank in the state, the NH Food Bank distributed over 14.2 million pounds of food last year, which would not have been possible without this amazing group of volunteers. Their main responsibility is salvage sorting, which consists of inspecting and organizing non-perishable food donations. Due to COVID-19 restrictions, only a limited number of volunteers can sort in the salvage room. This core group has been responsible for ALL of the salvage sorting at this time. This group is dedicated, reliable, does their work with precision, and all group members have amazing, can-do attitudes.
Cacidy and Matt Mowry
Matt and his 11 year old son, Cacidy, are Cornerstone VNA’s newest Companion Volunteer team. In their role, they were paired with an elderly individual in the community who was in need of companionship and support – playing games, talking, or doing whatever is needed in the moment. Even when they were out of town, Cacidy and Matt are known to take the time to mail letters and postcards to make sure their companion knew that they were thinking of her. They are kind, attentive, full of fun and – very importantly – excellent listeners. The compassion and concern they show has created true joy in their companion’s life.
Concord Regional VNA Hospice House Kitchen Volunteers
The kitchen volunteers of Concord Regional VNA have been serving patients and families at the Hospice House for anywhere between 2 to 23 years. The oldest volunteer is over 90 years old! During this past year these volunteers have logged over 547 hours doing activities ranging from grocery shopping, preparing meals, and serving meals to patients. In addition to their assigned service tasks, these volunteers also find time to offer emotional support to families going through a difficult time. Their attention to detail, compassion, and creativity make them invaluable as volunteers.
Concord Regional VNA Pet Therapy Volunteers
The volunteers in this group (human and canine) have been serving patients and families at the Concord Regional VNA’s Hospice House and 10+ long-term care facilities. During this past year these volunteers have logged over 171 hours. Volunteers in this group include pet therapy dog owners, their certified therapy dogs, and volunteer pet escorts. These human/canine teams provide much needed comfort and support to patients, families, and visitors. It is amazing to witness the intuitive nature of each team (especially the dogs!) as they interact with the people they visit. Dog owners and escorts remain flexible and attentive to the needs of the people they are visiting and are instrumental in helping everyone feel at ease.
Deering LakeSmart Team
The NH LAKES Lake-Friendly Living Program was started in 2019 to help ensure the generations to come inherit a lake with a healthy future. The program itself is focused on education, evaluation, and recognition. The Deering LakeSmart Team was established to be one of the first volunteer groups to take on this initiative. Made up of three Deering Lake residents, this group stepped up to the challenge of working on a brand-new program, volunteering their time to train and work in the classroom and in the field. Working within one’s own community for change can be difficult, but the team took the chance to implement change for the better with open arms. A total of 6 LakeSmart Awards have been given to Deering residents as a result of their amazing efforts and they look forward to seeing this number increase!
Lake Host Program Local Coordinators
The NH LAKES Lake Host Program is the first line of defense in keeping lakes free of invasive plants and animals by providing courtesy boat inspections at boat ramps across NH. This program would not be possible without its dedicated Local Coordinators, who wear many hats. They recruit and interview potential Lake Host Inspectors to staff the ramps, oversee daily operations to ensure high-quality performance, and oversee administrative aspects like timely data entry, scheduling, and so much more! The program has faced many changes over the years, and Local Coordinators have stepped up to the challenge and exceeded expectations. Without them and their ability to adapt to and implement changes, the health and safety of New Hampshire’s lakes would be much different.
Newmarket Community Church Food Pantry Garden Volunteers
The Garden of Eatin’ is a community garden on property owned by the Newmarket Community Church, intended to supply the church’s food pantry with fresh produce. In 2020, volunteers have worked tirelessly in the garden throughout an incredibly hot and dry summer, gardening and working on projects such as building a storage shed. These volunteers are passionate gardeners and enjoy sharing their knowledge with others. The garden has provided over 500 pounds of fresh, organic produce to date. Food pantries have experienced higher than usual need since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic; food from the Garden of Eatin’ has helped to alleviate some of this pressure. This garden has been a true labor of love and will continue to grow and provide for those in need for years to come because of the volunteers that run it.
SJCS Meals on Wheels Volunteers
SJCS Meals on Wheels volunteers have reduced hunger and isolation among low-income and older, homebound, and disabled adults by providing a nutritious meal, a visit, and wellness check, as well as referrals to additional community resources. The 150+ active volunteers deliver food or serve at the nutrition sites. The drivers deliver an average of 7,300 meals per week and drive nearly 1,000 miles a day in total. However, these volunteers provide so much for than a meal. Even during the pandemic, volunteers are checking and confirming the wellbeing of their clients, and as a result they are able to combat hunger and social isolation one meal at a time.
TASC Volunteer Drivers
Volunteer drivers for Transportation Assistance for Seacoast Citizens (TASC) help people maintain their health, independence, and dignity by providing rides to eligible residents of the NH seacoast. These drivers provide rides to adults who are at least age 55 or have a disability that prevents them from driving. Rides aren’t restricted to medical appointments & grocery shopping, but also to life-enriching activities like music lessons or social groups. The COVID-19 pandemic resulted in a decrease in the number of volunteer drivers, but the need for rides to essential appointments and grocery/medication delivery persisted. A group of dedicated volunteers stepped up to continue to provide rides during this difficult time, oftentimes as the only provider of community transportation. TASC volunteer drivers are people who enjoy people. They find simple, meaningful ways to contribute to their community.
Tom Rush Forest Chestnut Orchard Volunteers
The Chestnut Orchard volunteers help the Forest Society, in partnership with the American Chestnut Foundation, work towards re-establishing the American chestnut tree in New England forests. For the past year and a half, this dedicated group of about a dozen local volunteers has planted, watered, weeded, mulched, mowed around, and fertilized 600 American chestnut trees and have been cheerleading their growth and development. Not only has all of their hard work been paying off, but they have had fun while doing it! Their effort benefits New Hampshire’s environment and residents as the ultimate goal is re-establishment of this majestic tree into local forests.
Upper Valley Mask Makers
The Upper Valley Mask Makers (UVMM) Facebook group was formed in March of 2020 as a response to the growing need for cloth masks in the Upper Valley of New Hampshire to help slow the spread of COVID-19. This group of over 500 active members (most of whom did not know each other) banded together to help the community. They have sourced supplies that were often difficult to find, taught beginners how to make masks, and continuously coordinated with facilities and individuals in need of protective equipment. To date the UVMM group has sewn and donated over 45,000 masks and 1,000 “ear savers” to over 200 hospitals, nursing homes, and other essential workers – all free-of-charge. They have provided 10,000+ masks in total to 24 different schools and to over 5,000 individuals. UVMM will continue providing as long as there is the need!
Wolfeboro Area Mask Makers
The Wolfeboro Mask Makers group was formed in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, when masks were in very short supply and difficult to obtain. The group has since been providing masks free of charge to anyone in need. Many group members are sewers, but others have donated fabric, thread, cording, buttons, elastic, and more! Still others volunteered to make deliveries, wash, iron, and/or cut the fabric, be the liaison between the group and local hospitals (such as Huggins Hospital), long-term care facilities, daycare centers (such as The Children’s Center), and other essential businesses. If a request for 30 masks was made, more often than not more than 60 would appear in the collection box. The group has made a clear impact on their community, but also provided a way for isolated individuals to stay engaged and know that they are making a difference.
Volunteer Champion Category
Generously sponsored by St. Mary’s Bank.
This category recognizes nonprofit/public service organizations and businesses for their volunteer initiatives. Click here to expand or collapse.
Outstanding Awardee: YMCA of Greater Nashua
The YMCA of Greater Nashua was started by volunteers in 1887, and continues to meet its mission only with the support of the nearly 1,000 volunteers who generously donate their time. Volunteer roles range from fitness instructors, to early childhood education volunteers, to food drive organizers. They have also provided support to the local community with COVID-19 relief through two volunteer programs: partnering with the United Way of Greater Nashua on the COVID Relief Food and Produce Distribution Program and providing childcare and remote learning support through its Educational Academy program. In total, YMCA of Greater Nashua volunteers donated over 14,000 volunteer hours last year impacting over 35,000 individuals in the Greater Nashua area.
Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua
The Boys & Girls Club of Greater Nashua has been the leading youth organization in the Greater Nashua area since 1971. They work every day to create a safe, fun environment so kids can have every opportunity to be successful in life. They rely heavily on the skill sets and time that their volunteers contribute to ensure a strong positive experience to the youth involved with the Club. Whether it be mentoring, tutoring, coaching, or breaking down tables, the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Nashua is grateful for their volunteers and the vital role they play in keeping their quality programs accessible to the youth they serve.
Keene Serenity Center
Keene Serenity Center provides peer recovery support services for those who struggle with substance use disorders. Volunteers help with administrative duties or serve alongside certified peer recovery specialists and coaches to assist with strengthening peer recovery skills and providing a safe, non-judgmental environment. Because transportation is one very common barrier to obtaining recovery, the Center is working on opening a program to assist those in the Cheshire county area to get transportation to and from recovery related appointments. The Center is focused on building community partnerships and having total wraparound services for individuals to help them be successful in their recovery.
Merrimack Valley SCORE
Merrimack Valley SCORE relies on its 70+ volunteers to provide one-on-one small business mentoring and assistance. This includes anything from applying for financial assistance to marketing to operations. In the past 12 months, the chapter’s volunteers provided over 1,500 free face-to-face mentoring sessions and over 125 free workshops attended by over 3,700 aspiring entrepreneurs and small business owners. Since the COVID-19 pandemic began, the number of free business workshops offered and volunteer mentoring hours have more than doubled. Volunteers have also provided workshops helping business through the process of applying for PPE loans. This local chapter recently received an award at the SCORE National Leadership Conference for recognition for outstanding client education in 2020 because of the outstanding work that is done by their volunteers.
New Hampshire Nepali Community
The New Hampshire Nepali Community (NHNC) is to represent and promote interests of the Nepali American community living in the State of New Hampshire and to help the community flourish. Volunteers step up in a variety of ways to make this happen – one significant way is by serving as interpreters during visits to the hospital, the DMV, the polls on election days, and so on. NHNC volunteers are also involved in a number of activities that impact the greater community, such as American Red Cross blood drives, beach clean-ups, and recently, getting their second-generation children involved with serving meals at the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter. Group members are proud to have become established enough that their focus has expanded beyond Nepalese immigrants; they will go above and beyond to help anyone that needs it!
North Country Pride
North Country Pride is a group that was founded by volunteers and is made up entirely of volunteers. The group was started because a group of local residents felt that northern Grafton and Coos counties were in desperate need of a Pride group with the goal of ensuring that the beautiful region is welcoming to ALL. The group is made up of individuals from around the area – some identify as a member of the LGBTQ community while others are a parent of a transgender child or an ally seeking to support the community. The group had a successful first event – the Pride Ride – in 2020 and they are currently planning for a Pride weekend in the summer of 2021. It will be the first of its kind in the North Country.
Orr & Reno
Orr & Reno is a law firm that values a culture of service and volunteerism among its employees. The firm was founded on the belief that a lawyer is also a part of the community and should give back to the community through service. The attorneys and the staff are encouraged to volunteer, and together, they provide many hours for general community service as well as hours devoted to pro bono cases. Throughout the pandemic, Orr & Reno attorneys have donated their time and legal expertise to present a number of webinars to educate people and businesses about COVID-19 legal issues, many in conjunction with the New Hampshire Bar Association and the Concord Chamber of Commerce. Orr & Reno folks spend their time giving back to the community in many ways, small and large.
As part of their mission to deliver high-quality oral care for all, Virtudent is committed to partnering with local organizations that support underserved communities to enable better access to preventive oral health services. Virtudent provides on-site dental care to the Boys & Girls Clubs in New Hampshire, the Spaulding Academy & Family Services, and in several public elementary schools at no cost to the patient. Beyond the dental cleaning, Virtudent has created educational and kid-friendly resources, and the clinical team also assists with care coordination for patients. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, Virtudent has been successful in sustaining and expanding its oral health care program in the community by introducing virtual teledentistry. The Virtudent team is committed to providing excellent care for all, as is evident in the positive feedback that they receive from the patients, organizations, and schools that they work with.
Wings of the Dawn
Since 1987, the team of trained volunteer staff (led by Director Maria Colby) and consulting veterinarians at Wings of the Dawn has provided professional rehabilitation and care to injured and orphaned wildlife throughout New Hampshire. In the past twelve months, Wings has cared for 800 birds and 300 mammals of all different shapes and sizes. Unlike other wildlife rehabilitators, the volunteer staff at Wings is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week – including holidays – to respond to calls from anyone in need of help with an animal. During the spring and early summer the staff will often respond to up to 150 calls per day!
Bellwether Community Credit Union
We never forget where we came from and believe that giving back to our local communities and helping them prosper is what matters most. Bellwether employees give their time and resources to help others in the community through a variety of initiatives and programs throughout the year.
Bellwether became the first-ever Legacy Sponsor for the Spirit of NH Awards in 2012, helping over the past 8 years to nurture the event into the large-scale celebration of service that it is today.
For more information about Bellwether Community Credit Union’s giving efforts, visit www.BCCU.org.