2016 Governor’s Volunteer Service Awards were given out to four
Hatteras Island residents at the May 16 Board of Commissioners meeting
at the Fessenden Center in Buxton. With a packed house that included
many supporters of each of the recipients, the honorees were
praised and applauded by the crowd, as well as by the commissioners
Bennett, program coordinator at Dare County Friends of Youth, led the
presentation, and explained the background behind the annual awards.
Governor’s Volunteer Service Award program was initiated in 1979 and is
given to 1,000 volunteers annually all across the state. The Outer
Banks Community Foundation receives nominations from all across Dare
County for the award, and then reviews and turns over their selections
to the Governor’s office. From there, a final decision is made, and the
names are given back to the local awards committee.
this means that the awards are from the governor himself, and 2016
marks the 37th year that the award has been given to local honorees.
recipients – which includes a husband and wife team - were all praised
for the sheer amount of time and dedication they put into their work,
both from the crowd and the committee members.
have dealt with volunteers for 28 year in the county, and I was honored
to present the awards to this year’s [honorees],” said Bennett, the
stories behind each of the honorees’ service was distinct and
represents a unique cross-section of how local residents give back to
their community, in a myriad of essential ways.
RAY AND CLAIRE SCHAAF
first recipients of the evening were Ray and Claire Schaaf, who were
honored for their service with the local Cape Hatteras Methodist Men’s
Food Pantry and Emergency Assistance Program.
“This husband and wife team has volunteered for this organization for the past 15 years,” began Bennett. “Wow!”
this timeframe, the Schaafs have volunteered three to six hours per
day, 7 days a week, performing virtually all functions of the Cape
Hatteras Food Pantry. They pick up the donated food items from stores
and other suppliers, provide transportation and sorting, stock the food
and meet clients for daily appointments, keep log sheets for food
safety and records, clean and maintain the food pantry, and participate
in fundraising activities – just to name a few of the ways in which the
duo keep the food pantry going on a regular basis.
over the past 15 years, the Schaafs have provided food for needy
families and hurricane victims more than 20,000 times, and have
transformed the Cape Hatteras Food Pantry into one of the best
Albemarle Regional Food Bank systems by consistently receiving their
“They are an amazing couple that exemplifies the true meaning of volunteerism,” said Bennett during the presentation.
Schaafs themselves are humble about their work, but very grateful for
all the support they’ve received from the community. From local grocery
stores, to donations from realty companies in the summer months,
numerous local sources step in to collect supplies for this worthy
And with all these moving parts, the Schaafs are at the forefront of making sure the operation runs smoothly.
do it for the people – We get a blessing from helping our community,”
said Claire, who had multiple supporters at the meeting to cheer on her
and her husband. “The food pantry is something we love doing, because
the people [who benefit from it] are so appreciative.
a lot of people hurting down here in term of finances -- it’s expensive
living down here -- and they need help. So we’re on call every single
day,” she said.
when asked if she had any inclination of scaling back her tough,
seven-day-a-week schedule, she laughed and replied “Not yet. I’m 74,
and my husband will be 76… but we just keep moving.”
The next honoree was Natalie McIntosh, who was recognized for her work with Hatteras Island Meals.
this past year, her leadership skills and willingness to go the extra
mile to help in every way has continued to grow a much needed
organization on Hatteras Island,” said Bennett during the presentation.
2015, Natalie managed the local organization, which included seven
board members, three community coordinators, and more than 30 delivery
drivers. She also took on multiple positions throughout the
organization – including being a driver herself when needed – during a
time when the organization was both being re-defined and getting back
on its feet.
early 2013, she re-organized the Hatteras Island Meals board of
directors, assigning specific tasks and tackling some of the more
difficult and time-consuming projects herself. She orchestrated a team
that raised more than $21,000, which allowed Hatteras Island Meals to
pay off existing debt, and restart meal delivery three days per week,
which later increased to four days per week.
“She is extremely worthy of this award for going above and beyond the call of duty,” said Bennett.
herself humbly credits most of her success to the board members and all
the volunteers who were instrumental along the way.
really honored by all the nice things the people who nominated me had
to say,” she said. “It’s a little embarrassing, because the success of
the organization is much broader than just one person... I can’t accept
it for just me – it’s for everyone at Hatteras Island Meals.”
Natalie originally joined the organization because it fit in with her work schedule at Real Watersports.
it came to light that the organization had financial difficulty, you
couldn’t just say ‘Oh, I’ll go do something else…’ You couldn’t
just walk away,” she said. “But so many people stepped up to get
involved… the board members jumped in and helped with the resurrection
need for donations and volunteers continues – especially on the board
level – but Natalie attests that the experience is a rewarding one.
very eye-opening. It really makes you appreciate being a healthy person
with all your facilities, and it makes you realize how many people are
hidden in the community,” she says. “It’s a good call to action to keep
your eyes open for your neighbors and the people in the community who,
as they age, may not be able to take care of themselves.
organization helps people hang on to their independence as long as they
possible can, in conjunction with other services that are available.”
SANDI JONES GARRISON
Jones Garrison was the last recipient of the evening, and received the
award for her work with the Dare Home Health and Dare Hospice. She will
also be receiving the Governor’s Medallion award in Raleigh, which is
given to only 20 recipients statewide.
“This volunteer was far and away the most dedicated, hardworking hospice volunteer during 2015,” said Bennett.
and Lisa Slaker, the volunteer coordinators for Dare Home Health and
Dare Hospice, confirmed the accolades. “We’re very proud of her,” said
Jeff. “She did all the hard work, and it was the right thing to do to
recognize [her accomplishments.]”
volunteered 343 combined hospice and respite hours during 2015, which
is the highest amount of hours ever recorded by Dare Home Health and
Dare Hospice. During this timeframe, she gave 125 hours in September
and October to assist two hospice patients and their families during
as a volunteer, her job description is both tough and all-encompassing.
Her work entails providing compassionate support for patients and
families, giving comfort and respite to caregivers during times of
stress, and improvising for individual situations to provide care that
goes above and beyond the highest of expectations. In 2015, she also
greatly assisted two challenging hospice cases, and even stood strong
at the moment when a loved one passed.
feel humble, but at the same time I don’t feel like I’m any more
special than the next volunteer,” says Sandi on the topic of receiving
the award. “I’m honored that Jeff [Slaker] recognized the work I’ve
done, and if anything, it will bring more information to the community
on what the hospice is all about, and what we do, and how much of a
need there is for volunteers. It’s a very worthwhile experience.”
addition to the other volunteers and hospice coordinators, Sandi also
noted that the patients' caretakers deserve the lion’s share of
caretakers are the true volunteers,” she said. “They’re involved 24/7.
I’m in their homes several hours a day, but they’re the ones whose time
is really given to their loved ones, and who don’t have time for
anything else. They always have to be one step ahead – making sure the
medications are given, the clothes are washed, the doctors are
contacted –and it is humbling to be invited into their homes as a
volunteer and see what they have to do to take care of their loved one.
don’t think I’m anyone special, but I’m honored to be part of hospice,
because it’s personal, and these families need the help,” she adds. “I
didn’t grow up here, so for the community to welcome you in this kind
of very personal environment is heartwarming. As a new resident – I’ve
only been here six years – it’s nice to be needed.”
three of the honorees were presented with certificates and loud rounds
of applause at the meeting, and all three continue the dedicated
volunteer work for which they were recognized.
Want to honor this year’s honorees through a donation? Here’s where you send it:
- Hatteras Island Meals. PO Box 854. Buxton, NC 27920.
- Cape Hatteras Food Pantry. Cape Hatteras United Methodist Men. PO Box 1591. Buxton, NC 27920.
- Dare Home Health and Dare Hospice. PO Box 669. Manteo NC 27954.