2021 Spirit of NH
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 2021 Spirit of NH Awards
Leading up to the event, check out the Volunteer NH Facebook page to see and share videos from one category per day. You can find all of the awardee videos on this page.
People’s Choice Award
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Youth/Young Adult Category
This category recognizes individual volunteers age 22 or younger.
Outstanding Awardee: Anastasia Morrison
Ana volunteers primarily with the Access Academy program at St. Anselm College through the Meelia Center for Community Engagement. She works with students, community members, and peers to explore ways to address economic, digital, and racial inequities in education while increasing access to educational resources and college for Manchester students. In Ana’s own words, “I am determined to help provide a more equitable and ethical future for the students that I am lucky enough to work with, and everyone who has faced discrimination based on their background.”
For the past three years, Marena has been an advocate for teen mental health awareness as a member of the Reach 1 Teach 1 Love 1 Peer Board. She shares her story openly and inspires others every day, whether that is by attending and speaking at events, taking part in live streams, or working one-on-one with individuals. She has a heart for service and loves spending her time sharing her message.
As a Youth Staff Volunteer for the NH Teen Institute, Leen has made a lasting impact not only on the program participants but also on her fellow team members. She has a way of making others feel welcome and accepted, often taking the time to go for walks or have long chats with participants of the overnight retreat program. Leen uses her strength and confidence to advocate for herself and others.
Alyssa views volunteering as a way to advocate for the needs of her peers while examining the root causes of social issues. As a board member of the Student Support Foundation at Plymouth State University, she has awarded more than 100 student financial grants, while also serving as the Food Pantry Manager – organizing food drives, opening satellite pantries, and advocating for funding. She inspires others to take care of each other and their communities.
Emma is passionate about making a difference in her community and has done so as a member of the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains for the past 12 years. Emma took her passion for civic engagement and made it an integral part of her Gold Award project. Volunteering over 100 hours of her time, Emma created a virtual program for girls to learn about the democratic process, developed a new Democracy Badge, held a mock election, and even wrote a book. Emma is the epitome of the traits that the Girl Scouts strive to instill in their participants.
Madison’s volunteer activities are almost too many to list – volunteering upwards of 40 hours per month throughout the pandemic, all while attending school, working, and caring for her family! As a ResearcHers Ambassador, Madison fundraises for the American Cancer Society, advocates for female-lead cancer research, and spreads awareness about cancer education and prevention. Madison is always looking for ways to give back to her community, which she does with compassion and perseverance.
Heidi Lynn Krantz
Heidi is a leader in her community who is passionate about making a difference. Whether it is preparing and serving meals at Derry’s Sonshine Soup Kitchen, advocating for arts education, or supporting her local theatre programs by building sets and helping to run workshops – Heidi can be counted on to show up for the causes she cares about. Outside of New Hampshire, Heidi has also served two terms as an AmeriCorps NCCC member, including one term as a Team Leader.
This category recognizes individual volunteers age 23-64.
Outstanding Awardee: Michelle Berke
Michelle began as a Front Desk Volunteer for HAVEN in 2017 and has since transitioned into a Volunteer Advocate role, providing crisis intervention and confidential emotional support to survivors of abuse. In the words of her supervisor, “Michelle is a true example of compassion and kindness. She greets each client with an open heart and mind – offering support to everyone she has contact with.” Michelle has contributed 247 direct support hours working with clients at HAVEN, and did not stop during the especially uncertain, early days of the pandemic – a time when many people were not “safer at home.” She supported 77 clients in the past year. Whether it’s fielding calls on HAVEN’s confidential support line, meeting survivors at hospitals, or assisting clients in court, Michelle takes on any role where she’s needed and she does it with care and a non-judgmental attitude.
As a Land Steward for the Forest Society, Tom helps to maintain and monitor the David Dana Forest in Dalton, NH. Tom tirelessly hikes the trail system at the Dana Forest, removing trash and blown down trees, mowing the trails to improve hiking access, clearing drainages, and rebuilding culverts. He is detailed, disciplined, and extremely thorough, with seemingly endless energy. His efforts are above and beyond – even hand washing trail signs every spring! The North Country and the hiking community greatly benefit from the well-maintained trails that come from Tom’s dedication and hard work.
Pete is a thoughtful, diligent, and consistent volunteer with the Queen City Bike Collective. He has served as a volunteer mechanic every single week for the past six years without exception, contributing 1,500+ hours of his time and counting. When many other volunteers (understandably) stayed home during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic, Pete stepped up to fill the gap during a time when cycling became more popular and the need for these services increased. Manchester community members have truly benefited from the bikes that Pete has helped to repair and refurbish.
Deb has been a dedicated volunteer for the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains for the past 26 years. She encourages others to serve and leads by example! She has been a troop leader, trainer/facilitator for new leaders, a member of the Gold Award Committee, 11-year Director of the Farnsworth Weekend leadership/enrichment opportunity for volunteers and older Girl Scouts, and so much more! She does all of this while encouraging the girls to always do their very best. She is an advocate for girl leadership and empowers them to make their dreams a reality.
Kelly has been a Rotarian for over 20 years. She is one of the North Conway Rotary Club’s most active members; serving two terms as president, leading fundraisers, participating in roadside cleanups, and taking part in countless other projects. As a member of the North Conway and larger Mt. Washington Valley community, Kelly donates her time volunteering with many other organizations on top of the work that she does with the Rotary Club. She embodies the Rotary’s motto of “service over self.” She does so many different projects and events all with the goal of helping others. She is a true champion of service.
Ann Kondig Elliott
Ann is an active leader in the city of Portsmouth and a dedicated volunteer with the Music Hall. She believes strongly in the Music Hall’s importance to the culture and community of Portsmouth, and no task is too large or too small for her to take on. Throughout the tough times of the pandemic, she took a hands-on approach to drive up ticket sales, which is unsurprising given her commitment to the success of the Music Hall for the past 23 years.
Corinne L. George
For the past 9 years, Corinne has volunteered her time as a troop leader for the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains. She leads two troops while also volunteering as a trainer and mentor for new troop leaders. Corinne has the exuberance and tenacity to not only succeed but to excel. Her enthusiasm is infectious, and as a result, adult membership in her service unit has grown and become unified. She inspires those on her team and as a result, the girls in her community have abundant opportunities for growth.
Mike truly embodies the Make-A-Wish® New Hampshire vision of reaching every eligible child in New Hampshire. This is evident whether Mike is swinging a hammer, painting walls, or getting the entire community involved to create a synthetic ice rink in a child’s backyard. Not only has he been a member of the Make-A-Wish® New Hampshire board member for nearly 10 years, but he has also been a volunteer wish-granter for just as long. During the pandemic, Mike seamlessly pivoted to other strategies to reach clients – such as conducting weekly phone calls to families. Mike is committed to making dreams come true and making magic happen for the clientele of the organization.
Professor Casey Golomski volunteers with the Seacoast African American Cultural Center (SAACC), a nonprofit organization with a mission to showcase the contributions of individuals of African descent in the Seacoast community. He has curated their past two exhibits – both on his own and with the help of Anthropology students he recruited from the University of New Hampshire, where he teaches. Flexible and creative, his work has enabled SAACC to highlight African culture to people from across the state and beyond.
Madhab volunteers as a Board Member of Amoskeag Health, a health care center offering family-oriented primary health care and support services in Manchester, where he helps people from all over the state improve their health conditions. He is also an active member of the Nepali Community of New Hampshire, connecting community members with much-needed resources. Madhab is kindhearted, talented, and hard-working in everything he does.
When the COVID-19 pandemic began, Denise sensed the need for help in her community of Bedford, NH. She responded to that need by creating Bedford Cares. What began as a Facebook Group very quickly became the central place to report needs in the town and match those in need with others who wished to help. The effort now has more than 100 volunteers. Denise not only started this effort but has rolled up her sleeves to help out. She answers the hotline, takes in donations, and coordinates food distribution – she even temporarily ran the local food pantry out of her home. This, on top of her many other volunteer efforts in Bedford, are what makes Denise an invaluable asset to her community.
After finding the New Hampshire Teen Institute as a participant, Kate has spent the past decade giving back to the organization as a volunteer. Whether someone is in need of an extra helping hand or an ear for listening, Kate is always willing to step up. Her support and caring attitude are felt by everyone that she works with, making a lasting impact on both the participants and staff in the program. As one community member said, “She is loving, caring, and very supportive of our community and has changed so many lives in so many amazing ways.”
Clifton West Jr.
Clifton, the founder of Black Lives Matter (BLM) Seacoast, serves with a true passion for equity and justice. Since the summer of 2020, BLM Seacoast has fundraised for direct aid to Black community members, held rallies, advocated on the city level for policy change, supported unhoused people facing eviction from their encampments, and much more. Clifton is always on the front lines of the action while balancing a full-time job and parenting two children. His quiet leadership and thoughtful communication skills are especially evident when breaks down difficult concepts into terms others can understand, which is so important when volunteering in stressful environments. Clifton is dedicated to building a sustainable, equitable, and effective racial justice movement in New Hampshire.
This category recognizes individual volunteers age 65+.
Outstanding Awardee: Doug Rebidue
Doug has been a volunteer meal delivery driver in the Milford, NH area for over 22 years! After retiring from doing grounds work for the Milford School System he said that he would “give it a year” – and after all this time, he is still selflessly serving participants. In addition to delivering nutritious food, Doug provides resource information, a friendly visit, and a wellness check which includes noting any concerns or changes to report to his supervisor. When the Milford site (understandably) saw a 33% reduction in its volunteer driver force at the start of the pandemic, Doug stepped up to do double or even triple duty – the staff has since emphasized that they would not have been able to continue their meal service without him. He is a true team player, eagerly rising to any occasion.
Robert H. Alamshah
Bob devotes himself to the Home Health & Hospice Care’s We Honor Veterans (WVH) program, which recognizes those who served our country as they reach the end of their lives in hospice care. He works with veteran patients and their families to honor these service members in ways unique to them and he takes the time to cultivate companionship and connect with his patients. Bob will sit vigil with veterans at the very end of life so they are not alone, customize a pinning ceremony, and even meet any special needs the family may request – such as finding a bugler for their burial service. During the COVID-19 lockdown period, Bob met the challenges presented to the WHV program by hosting remote ceremonies and finding every way possible to serve patients in a safe way. A Vietnam veteran himself, Bob understands his patients’ experiences and always goes the extra mile to provide comfort and dignity to his patients in their final weeks, days, or hours.
Kathleen has been a volunteer with the Canterbury Shaker Village for more than 20 years. She gives freely of her time and expertise to take on a variety of tasks at the Village. She greets volunteers, schedules performers, helps in the store, and serves on multiple committees. Kathleen embraces each role she takes on with an open heart and mind. She is always the first to volunteer her services at the Village!
Kim is a dedicated volunteer, believing in the mission of the affordable housing movement that ROC USA works towards. He is a board member of ROC USA, a volunteer director of the ROC Association, a volunteer workshop presenter, a mentor, and so much more. Kim’s volunteer leadership has been extraordinary; using his business savvy and professional background to benefit tens of thousands of low-income, land-insecure homeowners. Kim is an incredible spokesperson and volunteer leader, and a genuinely community-minded volunteer.
As part of Cornerstone VNA’s “Circle of Caring,” Glenn is an integral part of the agency. He comes into the office every week to assist with a variety of projects like mailings, organizing supplies, creating admission booklets for the clinicians, and anything and everything else asked of him. He is a kind and remarkable man, lighting up the room with his humor. Glenn is a wonderful help to everyone in the office!
Applying his wide range of carpentry skills and experience, Ed volunteers his time and labor towards house builds with Southeast New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity. Ed donates his time with a smile on his face and a positive attitude, all while bringing a wealth of knowledge and experience. He truly cares about the recipients of the houses that he is building – even going so far as to design and build a custom cabinet in a home for a disabled veteran. Ed’s volunteer service greatly contributes to the success of Habitat’s mission in providing families with safe and affordable housing while building and strengthening communities.
According to those that get to work with Denise at the Animal Rescue League of New Hampshire, she is an absolute ray of sunshine. She has been volunteering as a small animal cleaner at ARLNH since 2016. On top of her regular volunteer duties, Denise has gone above and beyond, always devising better ways of doing things. As an avid quilter and seamstress, she has put her skills to work by sewing individual quilts to fit the bottom of each small animal cage, as well as surgery drapes for the veterinarians. She loves getting to know the animals, especially the bunnies, each with their individual personalities. She has a positive and infectious attitude. Denise is truly a volunteer leader for the organization!
Felice dedicates her time volunteering to support hospice patients at Amedisys Hospice Care in Bedford, NH. There are really no volunteer opportunities to assist patients that she has not been a part of. Especially of note are her weekly tuck-in calls to home patients, where she sometimes contacts 90-100 patients in a single week! Felice is always willing to go the extra mile and does so with a smile on her face. Her kindness to patients and their caregivers does not go unnoticed.
As a regular volunteer for the Listen Community Services Food Pantry, Jane knows how to get things done! She takes food orders, picks up food, and packs grocery boxes – all with a smile on her face. The staff and fellow volunteers especially appreciate her gift of being able to organize the pantry’s limited freezer space! Jane is dependable and will drop everything to come if the pantry is in need of extra help. Her friendly attitude and high energy are infectious to everyone around her.
The Seacoast African American Cultural Center is a hub of activity showcasing the contributions of individuals of African descent in the seacoast community. Sandi has long been at the heart of that activity, volunteering with the SAACC for over 20 years. As the current President, she fosters a culture of incorporating volunteers from many generations. She has been instrumental in bringing in new exhibits and making the Center accessible to all. Her contributions to the seacoast are also felt through her work with the Portsmouth NAACP chapter and various community events. Sandi is a role model in the community and she strives to provide opportunities to present positive images for all to enjoy.
Faithfully, for at least 4 hours every week, Carmen has been giving her time and talents to the Cornerstone VNA. Her variety of tasks include making admission booklets, filing, calling patients, and so much more. She does this all on top of other volunteer efforts, including running her church food pantry. Nothing slows Carmen down. She always arrives full of kindness and energy – ready to take on any task given to her. She is sincere, dedicated, and passionate about the impact she makes.
Eleanor’s commitment to and energy for volunteering is boundless. This is most evident through her dedication as a volunteer at the Laconia Senior Center for the past 16 years. She is involved with everything from craft fairs to holiday events to planning weekly activities. She even formed a sewing and knitting group that makes Christmas gifts for Meals on Wheels clients. She has been instrumental in creating safe and creative activities that allowed seniors to remain involved with the community during the pandemic – recognizing the importance of this space for so many. Her passion, love, and constant support shine bright in all that she does for the center. She is truly an asset to the Senior Center and the Laconia community.
Richard serves as President of the NH Association of Conservation Districts Board of Directors, and as a supervisor at his own County Conservation District. Retired from his career, Richard now spends his time advocating for the best interests of the state in conservation efforts and liaising with the ten conservation districts that make up New Hampshire. These conservation districts sponsor projects, provide education about the local landscape and land use, and advise on the best usage of our natural resources. Richard utilizes his expertise in leadership, networking, environmental education, and policy at the state and federal levels to advance conservation causes in New Hampshire.
Martha R. Manley
Martha has had an active role with the Girl Scouts for more than 50 years. With the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains, she has held roles such as serving as the National Council delegate and as a member of the audit and finance committees. She currently holds the position of Vice President on the Board of Directors, in which she guides the governance of the Council. Martha is always willing to step in and assist. She brings the expertise and passion that come with her lifetime commitment to Girl Scouting to support numerous projects within the organization.
For the past three years, Gerry has been volunteering his mechanic services to the Queen City Bike Collective with a smile on his face and kind words for all. His pleasant nature makes the shop more welcoming and accessible to everyone. He prioritized his volunteer service throughout the pandemic which was vital as the demand for bikes increased while volunteer capacity decreased. Even while recovering from surgery and unable to come into the shop, he found a way to help from home. Gerry truly helps to keep Manchester rolling!
Kathie volunteers her time with Home Health & Hospice Care. She has become an integral part of their team, stepping up again and again to volunteer wherever there is need. She provides administrative support, front desk coverage, and so much more. Most notably, Kathie has made a profound impact this past year through her card writing. Kathie hand-wrote well over 1,000 cards to facility residents in Southern NH, hoping to combat their isolation and loneliness – and all of the beautiful cards came from her personal collection! Kathie is deeply invested in making things better for other people, whether they are hospice patients and families or her fellow volunteers and staff.
Leora has volunteered for Home Health & Hospice Care for more than 10 years and can best be described as an “unsung hero.” She works largely behind the scenes, maintaining a low profile, but she has a profound effect on the daily workings of the organization. As a retired nurse, Leora uses her medical knowledge and skills to set other volunteers up for success. She is able to give volunteers the medical information that they need in a language they can understand to best interact with patients. Volunteers have grown to expect this information, but rarely know that it is Leora who generously gives of her time to make it available. She is a loyal and dedicated volunteer – consistently making her volunteer work a priority so that others can provide the best care possible for patients.
Dick Ver Eecke
For the past nearly seven years, Dick has used his lifetime of experience in the private sector to give back to the community through Merrimack SCORE. This organization is a local chapter of the nation’s largest network of volunteer business mentors who provide services to anyone at no cost. He is an engaged coach and mentor who consistently goes the extra mile to support his clients. During the pandemic Dick has seized the opportunity to reach even more entrepreneurs by conducting workshops over Zoom, broadening the reach of Merrimack SCORE, and helping to guide small business owners in this incredibly challenging time.
This category recognizes individuals of any age for their service as an AmeriCorps member or AmeriCorps Seniors volunteer.
Outstanding Awardee: Cheryl Stevenson
Cheryl gives her heart and soul to every individual she serves through the NH Senior Companion Program. Since September 2018, she has provided vital transportation services, resource referrals, companionship, and enrichment to senior citizens in the Greater Manchester area. Her work has helped many to remain independent in their homes as they age, and has provided respite for families and caregivers. Not deterred in any way by the COVID-19 pandemic, Cheryl found ways to be a lifeline to her seniors and to see them through a period of intense social isolation. The way in which she so deeply connects with her clientele on an individual level is an inspiration to her peers.
Rhoda W. Hardy
Rhoda volunteers as a Senior Companion, visiting and socializing with homebound seniors. She makes deep connections with her visitees and has a skill for helping them to feel comfortable and at ease. Rhoda does everything from having long talks, playing cards, and taking her visitees out for car rides. These connections are so important, not just to the visitee, but also to their families. Rhoda is also a champion of the Senior Companion Program by posting flyers and helping with recruitment in other ways. She is a tremendous asset to the program and the seniors that she works with.
Chris has been an AmeriCorps member serving with the SCA NH Corps since April 2021 doing land management, trail development and rehabilitation, and historic preservation across the state. Through arduous physical labor, she assists the NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources and various towns and nonprofit organizations with their much-needed projects. Chris is always on time and fully invested despite all of the challenges that have been thrown her way – including living in an uninsulated cabin, heavy rain leading to tent floodings, and even poison ivy. No matter what she is faced with, Chris always pushes through without complaint.
Rhi fully immersed herself in her service and the broader Concord community during her AmeriCorps term. Not only did she go above and beyond to serve the students of NHTI – Concord’s Community College through her VISTA term with Campus Compact NH, Rhi also spent time volunteering with Sycamore Community Gardens, The Friendly Kitchen, the Concord Coalition to End Homelessness, the Friends Program, and more local organizations that tackle food and housing insecurity. Despite moving to New Hampshire and beginning her term during the pandemic, Rhi was able to offer students the support they needed through educational programs, fundraising efforts, and ensuring the Lynx Food Pantry was stocked and safe to access.
This category recognizes groups of 2+ individuals who volunteer together or with the same organization.
Outstanding Awardee: Friends of Aine Volunteer Facilitators
At Friends of Aine, volunteers offer support and care for children who are grieving the death of a loved one. Working with young people ages 4 to 18 years old, the volunteers utilize compassion and empathy to help them feel seen and heard during this difficult time. Throughout the pandemic, the volunteer facilitators offered virtual and in-person options for meetings, finding a silver lining in that Zoom allowed them to reach participants beyond the immediate Manchester area they had previously been serving. The Friends of Aine volunteer facilitators are skilled in what they do, engaging children in discussions about grief, leading activities designed to foster communication and conversation, helping children develop coping skills, and creating an environment where no child feels as if they grieve alone.
Bedford Cares Volunteers
The approximately 100 volunteers of Bedford Cares came together during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic to help their friends and neighbors through a challenging and uncertain time. Since the group’s founding in 2020, they have become a Bedford institution, providing non-emergency services to anyone who requests help. When residents reach out – via phone, online sign-up sheet, or their Facebook page – volunteers are matched with the needs. The group regularly receives requests for grocery shopping and errand services for homebound or quarantining individuals. In addition, these volunteers have stepped up in ways such as providing food for the local food bank and delivering items to first responders.
East Kingston Fire Department Volunteers
Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, the East Kingston Fire Department Volunteers have stepped up to work vaccination sites as many days as they could be available, and even offered up the Fire Department location to host a mobile vaccination site. This group is supported by their caring and generous leader, Chief Warren, who is described as a “wonderful teacher, leader, and advocate.”
Frankie D'Alessandro and Tracey Campaiola-Gaipo
Frankie and Tracey are committed, twice-weekly volunteers at the Animal Rescue League of NH, building off of each other’s strengths to create an environment that puts animals at ease – animals who often arrive at the shelter in a state of stress. Their compassion and strategic thinking complement one another as they work with the needs of the bunnies, guinea pigs, and other small animals. Frankie and Tracey have been trained in small animal care since 2016 and remain committed volunteers who always treat these animals as if they were their own.
Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains Alumnae Association Advisory Board
The Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains (GSGWM) Alumnae Association Advisory Board channels the true meaning of “Once a Girl Scout, Always a Girl Scout.” They promote camaraderie amongst women within and beyond the Girl Scouts. Through social connections, networking, and hosting events, the GSGWM Alumnae Association Advisory Board creates a space for a community to live on long after their Girl Scout badges have been earned.
Granite VNA Bereavement Volunteers
The Granite VNA Bereavement Volunteers are committed to supporting those dealing with the loss of a loved one. These individuals serve as grief support group facilitators, bereavement companions, and in various administrative support roles. They truly embrace their fellow community members in a way that highlights persistence and commitment to the mission and values of Granite VNA. A vital part of the agency, the bereavement volunteers create a warm and welcoming atmosphere to foster relationship-building. “With so much collective loss in our world, our groups and personal outreach offered a space for expression that validated the unique, individual experiences of bereaved in our state.”
Jaffrey Meals on Wheels Volunteers
The Jaffrey Meals on Wheels program has a decades-long history of providing meals to the Jaffrey community. From homebound seniors to individuals with disabilities, the organization has reached each corner of the community and has provided vital resources that go beyond food. Monday through Friday, summer or snow, volunteers have worked tirelessly to provide meals and company for those in the area. During the COVID-19 pandemic, the volunteers have stayed committed to helping ease some of the isolation many of their clients have felt, providing not only nutritious meals, but a safety check and an opportunity for a socially distanced conversation.
Lakes Region Genealogy Interest Group
The Lakes Region Genealogy Group – celebrating its 10th anniversary this year – provides classes and individual help to those researching their family history and lineage. It benefits all people in the Lakes Region and beyond who wish to learn research techniques. The all-volunteer group utilizes their own time and resources to secure amateur and professional genealogists to host presentations for anyone who cares to participate. They have also assisted many individuals in breaking through “brick walls” in their research, organized field trips, and they are now even involved in volunteering in the local library’s genealogy room.
McGregor Memorial EMS Volunteers
The McGregor Memorial EMS volunteers are trailblazers in their commitment to service. Since 1968, volunteers have collectively accumulated over 39,000 hours a year and did not slow down during the COVID-19 pandemic, when they stepped up and made an extensive impact on the Durham, Lee, Madbury, and University of New Hampshire communities. The 70+ volunteers on this team have provided direct medical care to COVID-19 positive and suspected positive patients as first responders. They provided health screenings for the entire New Hampshire state legislature as members met in-person at UNH. Volunteers also staffed countless clinics at UNH and beyond when the vaccine became available. In addition, they helped move the organization to an entirely new emergency headquarters which was established to better meet the challenges created by the pandemic.
Mount Sacred Heart Garden Volunteers
The Mount Sacred Heart Garden Volunteers lead by example and help empower others in the community through the art of gardening. They use their passion and wealth of experience to engage future volunteers and maintain healthy and sustainable community practices around food. Volunteers work together to cultivate the 10,000 square feet of gardens and distribute their yield to food banks in the North Country, providing produce to those who need it, year-round. Throughout the pandemic, this group has been able to work with the ever-changing nature of COVID-19 and reach a wider community in a time where many are experiencing food insecurity.
Nansen Ski Club Volunteers
Backed by a multidisciplinary group of Granite staters, from politicians to local business owners, the Nansen Ski Club volunteers are dedicated to restoring a piece of history for their community. The Nansen Ski Club is the oldest continuously-operating ski club in North America, and its volunteers are committed to shaping the landscape of skiing in the North Country. They maintain trails, host community events and workshops, and recently completed the restoration of the “Big Nansen” ski jump. They are actively fundraising to further the mission of bringing competitive ski jumping back to New Hampshire, with the hopes of being deemed a sanctioned ski jump site in 2022.
Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund Volunteers
The Old Man of the Mountain Legacy Fund is a volunteer group founded in 2004 that helped to create and now maintain the Old Man of the Mountain Memorial Plaza located in Franconia Notch State Park (Franconia and Lincoln, NH). In 2021, volunteers put the final touches on the project and it was officially unveiled by Governor Sununu. The plaza effort took place over a span of 17 years, and their enthusiasm hasn’t waned. Today the group continues to work closely with the Division of Parks and Recreation to maintain and expand the recreational, scenic, and historic opportunities in and surrounding the plaza.
South Central NH Medical Reserve Corps COVID-19 Response Team Volunteers
Volunteers on the South Central NH Medical Reserve Corps COVID-19 Response Team came together to address an immediate community need in 2021. Composed of both healthcare and non-healthcare professionals, they made a tremendous impact by administering over 8,500 COVID-19 vaccines as soon as the rollout began: in schools for staff and students, in senior and low-income housing facilities, at drive-through clinics for vulnerable populations, and at community events. Working alongside the local EMS/Fire departments, school administrations and staff, and many other partners, the South Central MRC volunteers quickly became valued, appreciated, and well-respected throughout the community.
Unlimited Possibilities Volunteers
Unlimited Possibilities is an education and service foundation dedicated to helping eliminate social injustices by providing financial support and direct service. The organization is supported by dedicated volunteers – including its founder, Bill Cuff, who has truly dedicated his life to service. From serving students in the classroom to bringing a global lens to his lessons, Cuff has made service a continual part of his life and brought that passion to Unlimited Possibilities.
Vigil Volunteers at the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care
The vigil volunteer program at the Jack Byrne Center for Palliative & Hospice Care was developed during the COVID-19 pandemic to support patients whose family and friends are unable to be present. Composed of volunteers experienced in hospice and palliative care, this particular group began caring for patients whose families were unable to travel or be present in person due to their own medical vulnerability. They embody compassion in practice, providing company and comfort in the absence of loved ones in the patients’ final moments. The vigil volunteers are committing to meet every need of the patients and their families.
Russell Weldon and Mike "The Trail Guy" Gelinas, SELT’s Birch Ridge Community Forest Trail Volunteers
Mike and Russ have been crucial to the Southeast Land Trust’s Birch Ridge Community Forest restoration since their start in 2018. Throughout their time volunteering on the land they are both so well acquainted with, they have helped build trails, restore portions of important areas, and organize volunteers to accomplish an impressive scope of work. Both have brought passion and drive to the organization by supporting the conservation and protection of important land and water areas in the state. Russ and Mike are passionate about what they do, and they also help others to connect and feel included in the building and maintenance process of the trail system.
Volunteer Champion Category
This category recognizes nonprofit/public service organizations and businesses for their volunteer initiatives.
Outstanding Awardee: Bartlett Athletic and Recreation Association
Bartlett Athletic and Recreation Association (BARA), now an officially registered nonprofit organization, was originally formed by community members in 1978 for the purpose of creating organized sports and programs for our youth outside of the school hours and to organize a summer program. Since then, BARA and its dedicated employee and volunteers have played a major role in making Bartlett a place where children, families, and adults can participate in fun activities year-round. Volunteers help run yearly events, raise money for the scholarship fund, and support the town’s youth in their sporting endeavors.
Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire
The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire, located in Portsmouth, is supported by a team of 50 volunteers who contribute their time, talent, and knowledge to build educational programs and host events to promote Black history and culture in our state. The volunteer force enables the organization to run events such as the Black New England Conference, their Tea Talk series, the Frederick Douglass Community meeting, and more. The Black Heritage Trail of New Hampshire’s volunteer program, active for the past five years, is the backbone of their efforts to promote awareness and appreciation of New Hampshire’s Black history and life, and foster dialogues about race, diversity, and inclusion in the present day.
Freese Brothers Big Band
The Freese Brothers Big Band has a long history of community involvement and support for young, high-school-aged musicians. Since 1986, they have presented scholarship awards to over 100 students in grades 9 through 11. These scholarship winners attend summer camp and then return to their school tasked with sharing their experiences and helping to improve their school and community music programs. The Scholarship Fund is supported by a portion of the band’s performance fees and by tax-deductible contributions from the public. The leaders of the organization work together as a board of directors to determine the best opportunities for the band’s performances and they are responsible for rehearsals, equipment maintenance, transportation, and staffing. They are a dedicated group of volunteers that come from various occupations but that share a common love for big band music.
University of New Hampshire's Therapeutic Riding Program
The UNH Therapeutic Riding Program provides a model of therapy, adapting equine activities for people over the age of 5 with cognitive, physical, and emotional challenges – including cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, arthritis, autism, visual or hearing impairments, seizure disorders, and more. Clients are referred to the program, which works with up to 90 individuals per year. The volunteers are a crucial part of their operations, trained in a variety of adaptive and therapeutic activities that are intended to achieve client goals. The volunteers with this program are focused on maximizing the abilities of each individual and providing a service that brings joy, confidence, and a sense of accomplishment to all participants.
New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
Community Builder Sponsors:
Bangor Savings Bank
Northeast Delta Dental
Orr & Reno
Sidebotham Family & Bernstein Private Wealth Management
Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast
Friends of Volunteer NH:
C&S Wholesale Grocers
Davis & Towle Insurance Group
Nathan Wechsler & Company
St. Mary’s Bank
Friend of Volunteer NH:
Hypertherm Hope Foundation
The Common Man
Hermanos Cocina Mexicana