2022 Spirit of NH Awards
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.
Watch the Spirit of NH Awards Recording
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The People’s Choice Award
Congratulations to Marie Hickey, the 2022 People’s Choice Awardee!
The Spirit of NH Award
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.
Aaron Joy, founder of the Uplift Foundation, will be honored in 2022 with the Spirit of NH Award.
The Uplift Foundation is an educational service that has taught over 400 students in New Hampshire and beyond in public speaking and debate, essay writing, and entrepreneurship. While the program is free, all donations made by families go directly back into New Hampshire communities. Aaron has donated nearly 9,000 between multiple Manchester public schools and Overcomers, a Concord-based organization serving refugees and immigrants. Aaron, a high school student himself, is not only devoted to education, but also to supporting New Americans in the Granite State– this year, he coordinated efforts to formally recognize World Refugee Day in the city of Manchester and organized a celebration centering refugees in the Manchester community at the YWCA. Aaron is diligent in his efforts to provide quality educational opportunities to youth and in his commitment to the cause of immigrants and refugees in New Hampshire.
Youth/Young Adult Category
This category recognizes individual volunteers age 22 or younger.
Outstanding Awardee: Rachel Caliguiri
Rachel worked as an intern at the United Way prior to serving two terms as a Summer Associate through the Covid Community Care Corps VISTA program at United Way. She stayed busy during her service, having a hand in starting multiple new programs including: Rosie’s Pantry, Over the Edge, Pop up Pantries and Summer Meals, and a tutoring program. She is passionate about giving back to children and youth in her community.
As a second-year student at Saint Anselm College, Jillian has served as a student leader active in addressing the issues of racial justice and educational equity. She is a strong mentor for her peers and continues to help prepare them to engage in community. In her words – “I want to continue my work of uplifting communities of color and creating positive social change.”
Abigail embodies service and volunteerism by advocating for those who are unable to advocate for themselves. She is especially dedicated to creating equality and inclusiveness within the state for the LGBTQ+ community. Abigail is truly working towards making the state of NH inclusive..
As a student at Dartmouth College, Aditi expertly weaves her dedication to social justice alongside public health, gender and human rights in a myriad of ways. In her words – “Service is my love language to the world and I honor all women who taught me that dignity starts with wellbeing.”
Ally is a dedicated volunteer with Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains. This year, she addressed the need for volunteers in her community by organizing a volunteer fair that was attended by almost fifty organizations. Her empathetic nature, kindness, and openness drive her to continuously look for ways to better the world around her.
PSU Office of Community Impact
Emily is an advocate for engaging her fellow students at PSU in serving their community. Her involvement on campus continues to foster meaningful opportunities for students to learn and grow as active citizens.
Scout has been volunteering at COVER Home Repair, with her mother at her side for 6 years. This “ultra-diligent young woman” manages many administrative tasks, welcomes visitors, and embraces COVER’s mission with the maturity of someone beyond her years.
Cassidy supports survivors of domestic and sexual violence, human trafficking, and dating violence in her role as an AmeriCorps Victim Assistance Program member serving with Turning Points Network. She is a knowledgeable asset and a fierce advocate for clients, offering assistance with everything from financial literacy to accessing food and housing.
University of New Hampshire Civic and Community Engagement Office
For Kate, a second-year student at UNH, giving back to the community is at the core of her engagement on and off campus. Her work as a PrOVES student leader includes connecting new students to resources and peers through volunteering and community building. In Kate’s words – “I’m enthusiastic to learn more about creating community spaces, as it’s an asset to remaining hopeful.”
Miss New Hampshire Community Outreach
Siena grew up volunteering. Starting at age four she has spread her service to all different types of organizations. While Siena’s focus is on children’s rights her fundraising and volunteer hours are spread generously over 6 agencies. When working with children she is able to transform herself to characters such as Mary Poppins making the children feel safe and comfortable.
Page is an AmeriCorps VISTA member serving at the Nashua Police Athletic League. During her time there, she has improved their volunteer program through enhanced training, appreciation events, and management processes. Page is ready to answer any call to serve, and by doing so has allowed more kids to take advantage of a safe place to come after school.
Malina graduated from participant to volunteer at the New Hampshire Teen Institute, helping with everything from day programs and virtual events to a week-long program. Malina quietly and selflessly creates a safe harbor for participants and staff alike, leading to their being selected as the organization’s Youth Volunteer of the Year.
This category recognizes individual volunteers age 23-64.
Outstanding Awardee: Ed Duer
Ed’s service began after years of seeing his father do the same for Meals on Wheels. Serving at Meals on Wheels of Hillsborough County, Ed continually sets a high bar for volunteerism. He packs and delivers meals, but – almost as importantly – he offers a social connection and wellness checks to older, homebound, and disabled adults. With a character and friendliness beyond reproach, it’s no surprise that when Ed doesn’t deliver, all his clients can’t hide their disappointment.
As the president of the Plymouth chapter of Rotary International, Denise is devoted to service. Her nominator described her as a “born leader,” always ready to take on a project, and an expert at evaluating situations and proposing solutions.
For an astounding 32 years, Pam has been volunteering with the Merrimack County 4-H providing hands-on learning opportunities for young people to gain skills and knowledge to become leaders and contributing members of society. Pam has a passion for youth development and leadership. In her volunteer role, she organizes meetings, communications to the organization, plans annual project meetings, as well as connecting with local businesses. She goes above and beyond for the organization but more importantly for the youth she works with.
Dr. Pat Edwards
Dr. Pat Edwards volunteers her time with the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains. Even though she runs a pediatric practice, she still finds time to mentor the scouts, engage with the alumni group, and travel with her troop across the country and the world. Her willingness to share her knowledge and skills inspires everyone she comes in contact with.
Sarah has been a volunteer with Merrimack County 4-H for over 27 years overseeing clubs consisting of 50 youth and an advisor to the statewide NH 4-H Ag Ambassadors. She does a lot of behind-the-scenes work organizing families, finding meeting locations, developing programming, and making awareness campaigns for the work of the organization. She creates as many opportunities for the youth as possible.
Kaleigh is a great example of a community volunteer. She offers organizational marketing services to Scouts BSA, but also provides meals at the Friendly Kitchen, serves on the board of the Concord Young Professionals Network, and helps at the Food Bank. Selfless and kind, she strives to bring joy to everyone she helps.
As a volunteer with the New Hampshire Teen Institute, James helps middle school groups plan volunteer projects and assists high school students discover their leadership potential. James’ amazing ability to connect with teenagers and willingness to take on any task is one of the reasons they are able to run their programs.
As a volunteer for Girl Scouts, Deb has given countless hours as a troop leader, mentor, recruitment lead, and trip coordinator (among other activities). Her caring and enthusiastic attitude towards current scouts and alums demonstrate her determination to make the world a better place.
As a volunteer with Peace of Mind Medicaid Consultants, Donna serves the elderly and disabled community members apply for and access Medicaid benefits. She’ll do anything and everything to ensure applicants don’t fall through the cracks – including reviewing financials, calling or emailing state contacts, and all the backend administrative work. Her perseverance through any trial and her passion for making an impact ensure that the most vulnerable are supported.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Barry has been pivotal in helping Goodwin Community Health Center clean and disinfected by completing daily sanitation of the doors and surfaces of the center. He keeps the space spotless and does it all with a smile on his face. Barry will always help when asked to complete a task and both staff, patients, and clients enjoy his company!
Todd has steadfastly volunteered with COVER Home Repair for more than 14 years. He co-led and developed an initiative to increase the impact of insulation on homes and has positively affected more than 15 homeowners this year. A relationship builder, Todd’s enthusiasm affects not only the people he serves, but his fellow volunteers as well.
Jim has been serving with Cornerstone Hospice for over 3 years. Jim is described as quiet and humble, providing a safe space for patients and their loved ones during this difficult time in their lives. He stays with patients as family members run errands or holds the hands of dying patients. Jim always answers the call to support people in need, giving a lot of his time to the organization.
Paula is an active volunteer with Make-A-Wish NH contributing to the organization for over 10 years. She is a member of the Giving Society and has invited her friends to participate as well. Paula is a dedicated fundraiser and volunteer, reaching out to anyone who will listen to share the impact of Make-A-Wish. From her personal connection to the work, her commitment is infectious as she levels up every year, bringing in new resources.
Adam has been serving with Big Brothers Big Sisters of New Hampshire for over five years devoting his time to mentor young boys in the program. Some of these activities include playing basketball, hiking, and trips to the beach or to get ice cream. Adam makes connections with his mentee to help open up conversations and allow for new opportunities. He is committed to his mentee and ensuring that their relationship lasts as long as possible knowing that he gets as much out of the relationship as the mentee.
Dave Phelps has been an integral part of the Habitat For Humanity family for our four years. His most recent volunteer efforts with us included project management of a home built in Nashua, NH. Dave led this project through the difficult times and challenging restrictions of Covid and led the volunteer build crew to completion this summer. As a result of this project Habitat For Humanity was able to hand over the keys of a duplex to two veteran families who are now homeowners!
Emily is a gentle and compassion “Big Sister” for Big Brother Big Sisters. Matched with a Little with autism, Emily patiently visited her weekly in order to establish trust – even if her Little wouldn’t come out to meet her. After many visits, her little now runs out to greet her. The impact she’s had on her Little is immeasurable.
Jean volunteers with the Girl Scouts of the Green and White Mountains in many capacities. She leads three troops, acts as a cookie manager, trains new leaders, and coordinates community services activities – just to name a few. A lifetime member of Girl Scouts, there’s nothing Jean won’t do to ensure the next generation of scouts will become young women of courage, confidence, and character.
Chris volunteers at SHARE Fund Food Pantry, doing anything that is asked of him – including packing, cleaning, maintenance, and more. He especially shines at the “pop-up” mobile food pantries that allow SHARE Fund to serve more senior and low-income communities. His humility and ability to act as an ambassador ensures that this organization can continue to impact the 500 households served every month.
Marjorie’s passion for the arts is evident in her 10-plus years of service at the Music Hall. Volunteering as an usher, greeter, and ticket taker, she welcomes everyone to the theater with a genuine smile. She uses her extensive knowledge of the history of the theater to inform guests and encourage them to share in that history. Marjorie is “the epitome of going ‘above and beyond’. She is the first to arrive and the last to leave. She is the first person I look to whenever we need an extra hand and she will always take on extra responsibility without a second thought.”
This category recognizes individual volunteers age 65+.
Outstanding Awardee: Cliff Smith
The rides Cliff provides for Future in Sight’s blind or visually impaired participants go beyond simple transportation. Cliff’s kindness and the respect he has for the people he transports allows him to provide assistance without compromising their dignity or independence. Cliff continues his lifelong commitment to service with rides, fundraising, and any other opportunity to assist.
Sister Norma Comeau
Sr. Norma has been teaching English to English language learners at Holy Cross Family Learning Center for over a decade. She has volunteered over 2000 hours of her time teaching in class and remotely, not counting the many hours of preparation that this entails. During the Covid years, she accepted the challenge of teaching online and continues today, in spite of being a young 90 years old. Her energy seems endless when it comes to meeting and teaching her students. Several of these students have reached out to her for help. Many have succeeded well in continuing advanced education and finding positions.
Susan founded Connections Through Kindness when her independent efforts to distribute food and other items to Dover community members experiencing homelessness two to three times a week expanded to include other volunteers. Susan is a tireless advocate for her unhoused neighbors and frequently collaborates with other local organizations to get their needs met.
Marie is dedicated to her patients as well as the Rockingham VNA & Hospice organization. In addition to going above and beyond to make her patients feel comfortable and cared for she is always ready to jump in wherever help is needed on the administrative side to ensure that things run smoothly for patients, family, and staff. Her commitment to forming deep relationships with her patients has enabled them to get the most they can from their time with the program.
For over four years, Bob Kirouac has been a faithful construction volunteer with Southeast New Hampshire Habitat for Humanity. He brings his experience and skills to assist with new home construction projects from start to finish, as well as one-day projects. Bob has poured hundreds of hours of labor into building homes, which is a huge blessing for the partner families. Without volunteers, like Bob, the projects wouldn’t be possible. Bob does it all with a positive attitude and seemingly endless energy that spreads to the others volunteering around him.
Jackie Martel has been a volunteer with the Senior Companion Program for over three years. In that time, she has volunteered over 1800 hours providing companionship to nearly 15 homebound older adults in her community. Jackie’s charismatic personality, sense of humor, and remarkable level of professionalism differentiates her from other volunteers. She is a source of comfort to her visitees and a role model to her peers.
As Director of the New Boston CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) Bruce and his team operate the shelter and cooling station and support the town’s emergency services. Bruce is always available to respond to a call and is dedicated to putting in the time to make sure the team is trained and the equipment is maintained properly. Through this work, the CERT not only helps the community through their direct work but frees the time and resources of the town’s emergency responders to respond to more technical incidents.
The team at Special Olympics New Hampshire knows that if they need something done, they can go to Kim. With 35 years of experience with SONH Kim is an organizer, an implementer, and an all-around joy to work with. From event planning to getting over a thousand envelopes stuffed and mailed Kim will get it done with a smile on her face and even leave the space cleaner than she found it.
For the past two years, Joni has volunteered her time doing data entry for LISTEN Community Services in Lebanon, NH. Her dedication and proficiency in this role allows the staff to focus on the vital services they provide, as well as the ability to produce timely and accurate reports. The task can be long and tedious, but Joan does it all with a positive attitude.
Through her work with the Sunrise Sunset Activity Center/Recreation Department Kathy leads her Sunrise Strummers through learning new music and bringing joy to audiences from preschool age to 98 years old, from the nursing home to the town square. Her care and dedication to supporting her senior musicians across experience levels is evident and clearly extends to the people in the community that the group performs for.
In her 3 years with the Senior Companion Program, Cam has grown into a dedicated team leader and home visitor. She has consistently gone above and beyond in her work with homebound seniors and disabled adults in the Berlin/Gorham area, resulting in an impact on her visitees and their families that is not to be underestimated.
This category recognizes groups of 2+ individuals who volunteer together or with the same organization.
Outstanding Awardee: Granite VNA Volunteers
The more than 150 dedicated volunteers of Granite VNA impact the lives of so many. The services they provide range from hospice care, administrative and project support, and board and committee members. In all of their diverse roles, these volunteers demonstrate their character with their commitment to serving others, dedication not only to patients, but the Hospice Team, and the mission of Granite VNA: enhancing the dignity and independence of people by delivering quality health and promoting wellness in homes and communities through all stages of life.
Ernest Landry, Walt Roy, Peter Coffin
Ernest Landry, Walt Roy, and Peter Coffin are long time volunteers of the Southeast Land Trust (SELT) within their town of Kingston, NH. The three of them do it all – from monitoring and improving trails, building kiosks, helping on field trips, serving on committees, and much more. All three are known to be dependable, reliable, and enthusiastic in their volunteer work, not to mention funny. It takes a special type of person who can volunteer so widely, and so consistently, while having fun, and making the experience fun for others. SELT is lucky to count these three as part of their team!
Fix It Station Volunteers, Charlie Bedard and Joanne Gersten
There are 10 stations throughout the city of Manchester that allow the community to have access to bicycle repair tools 24 hours a day. People who rely on their bicycles for transportation depend on these stations being open and stocked. In their roles, they recruit and manage volunteers, as well as make repairs if a station has been damaged or if parts were stolen. They do this work behind the scenes, often without seeing the positive impact of their work. Riders in the community depend on these stations and they are grateful for the work of these volunteers!
Future In Sight Volunteer Drivers
Future In Sight’s Volunteer Driver Program serves individuals who are blind or visually impaired in New Hampshire. Often referred to as “friends” or even “angels,” drivers provide essential rides to doctor’s appointments and grocery shopping. They also provide much-needed transportation to peer support groups, social activities, keeping their clients happy, independent, involved, and present within their communities.
Greater Nashua Habitat for Humanity Build Crew
The Greater Nashua Habitat for Humanity volunteer crew not only build homes for low-income families, they also lead volunteer build days for outside groups to participate. Always ready to go above and beyond, this crew worked 6,000 hours handling all aspects of building a home from the ground up. It’s apparent that everyone on the team puts their heart and soul into their service.
Greg and Nancy Noga
Greg and Nancy Noga have donated their time for the past two years volunteering with UpReach Therapeutic Equestrian Center. They do it all – from helping with programming to mucking out stalls, and in all kinds of temperatures and weather. They often go above and beyond what is expected of them as volunteers – happily picking up extra volunteer shifts and contributing to the completion of any number of endless tasks, without even being asked.
HSFN's Rescued Treasures Volunteers
IINE-Manchester Refugee Resettlement Volunteers
Refugee resettlement must be a community effort to be successful, and the volunteers at the International Institute of New England in Manchester, NH make it possible. Their eagerness to welcome new Americans and to help them integrate is genuine, self-driven, and truly inspirational. Rather than simply signing up for tasks and completing them, they take it upon themselves to form deep and meaningful relationships with families, and to use whatever expertise and resources they have to address their specific needs—be it installing air conditioners in their apartments, helping them practice English, giving them rides, teaching them to drive, or watching their children so they have the chance to socialize and support one another. The impact these volunteers have on strengthening their diverse community will be long lasting.
Immaculate Heart of Mary 5 and 2 (5 Loaves and 2 Fish) Ministry
The volunteers at Immaculate Heart of Mary Catholic Church’s 5 Loves and 2 Fish Ministry work together to bring food to those in need around them. Each week 30 to 40 volunteers of all ages pack and deliver bread products to local food pantries, daycares, and low income and senior housing. If they see a need, they take action and meet it! With a heart for service, individuals and families serve with enthusiasm and joy.
New England Wolves Hockey
Our Corner Store Volunteers - Roger and Cindy
Roger and Cindy are dedicated volunteers at Our Corner Store in Whitefield, NH. For the last 15 years they have been integral members of the volunteer team. From collecting and sorting donations, testing electronics, to cleaning things and cashiering – the list goes on and on! At nearly 80 years old, they have cut their schedule back to two days a week, previously opening and closing the store every day. The two are role models for other volunteers. They are a hard-working and dependable team. Roger and Cindy are always happy to help and will never turn anyone in need away.
Partnership For Public Health CERT & MRC Teams
Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team
The volunteers of the Pemigewasset Valley Search and Rescue Team (Pemi-SAR) assist NH Fish & Game with woodland searches for lost and missing people as well as ensuring injured hikers are safely and efficiently carried out of the White Mountains. Team members are invited by necessity to what are often the worst days in people’s lives; from an injury that prevents the victim from getting back to the trailhead to much more tragic situations. They are not deterred by the time of day, weather, or trail conditions in their response. Beyond their individual skill sets, they bring a deep sense of camaraderie, trust, and gratitude for one another to each rescue.
Volunteer Champion Category
This category recognizes nonprofit/public service organizations and businesses for their volunteer initiatives.
Outstanding Awardee: SCORE-NH
SCORE is a non-profit whose mission is to foster vibrant small business communities through mentoring and education. Over the past 12 months, SCORE mentors (often retired business executives themselves, and all volunteers) provided mentoring sessions for over 1,400 NH residents. Once assigned, mentors stay with their mentees for as long as the mentee finds it helpful, and business owners at any level are eligible for help- whether their business is just an idea, or they have been in business for years. SCORE utilizes technology and their cohort of over 100 volunteers to successfully reach business owners in every corner of the state.
Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country
Adaptive Sports Partners of the North Country is a nonprofit that empowers individuals with disabilities by building community, confidence, and skills through sport, recreation, and adventure. In the past year, 350 volunteers provided over 2,500 sport and recreation outings – including skiing, rock climbing, and even fly fishing. Volunteers not only provide the lessons but go above and beyond to drive those without transportation and fix gear.
Canine Companions is a service dog industry nonprofit with chapters nationwide, including New Hampshire, Maine, and Vermont. The chapters raise awareness, recruit new puppy raisers and volunteers. Volunteers report immense pride in helping to move their puppies along on their journey to become service dogs. In tandem with the service dog recipients, volunteers do an incredible job of spreading awareness through events and fundraising; The impact of our volunteers is felt throughout the entire canine community.
Granite State Ambassadors
The organization creates opportunities for civic-minded people, mainly retirees, to use their skills and talents, which then enables NH welcome centers and events to promote our state. Volunteers do anything from staffing info desks, partnering with many tourism-related nonprofit organizations in NH, and even helping with large, statewide events. Together, they hope to create a legacy of welcome for visitors and residents in the state.
International Nepalese Literary Society
The International Nepalese Literary Society, based in Concord, is a Nepalese-run nonprofit dedicated to helping the NH Nepalese community understand and integrate with America while also preserving their culture. Volunteers help others with English skills, teach civic engagement and how to vote, and promote volunteerism in the community.
Less Leg More Heart
Less Leg More Heart is a nonprofit that seeks to spread hope, decrease suffering, and enhance viability within the amputee community. They do this by providing customized education, support, services, and supplies during and after life-changing medical circumstances.
New Market Historical Society
The New Market Historical Society (NHS) has existed for many years, but during the 2020 pandemic and beyond, its volunteers have been laser-focused on researching, documenting, and publishing local history through the creation of a historical walking tour. The volunteers of the NHS made a concerted effort to bring historical perspective outside, to the people of the town. Their work involved countless hours of volunteer time and welcomed businesspeople, teachers, students, senior citizens groups, and others to walk the tour and engage with the rich history of the town.
Peace of Mind Medicaid Consultant
Peace of Mind Medicaid Consultant’s mission is to support every older and disabled adult in New Hampshire (even those who are unable to pay for their services) through the “Red Tape” application process for the NH Long Term Care Medicaid or Independent Choices Medicaid Programs. Volunteers support clients every step of the way through submitting an application, providing follow-up documents, and even court appeals.
Portsmouth Naval Shipyard STEM Outreach Program
The Portsmouth Naval Shipyard (PNS) Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Outreach Program engages employees in volunteer activities throughout New Hampshire and New England, in schools and after school programs. The mission of the program is to inspire, engage and educate students from kindergarten through graduation in hands-on STEM activities while introducing participants to STEM careers.
New Hampshire Charitable Foundation
Community Builder Sponsors:
Bangor Savings Bank
Bernstein Private Wealth Management & the Sidebotham Family
Coca-Cola Beverages Northeast
Northeast Delta Dental
Orr & Reno
Friends of Volunteer NH:
C&S Wholesale Grocers
Davis & Towle Insurance Group
Nathan Wechsler & Company
Community Builder Sponsor:
St. Mary’s Bank
Friend of Volunteer NH:
Hypertherm HOPE Foundation
The Common Man
Hermanos Cocina Mexicana