Six Bloomington community members were honored in an online presentation of the Be More Awards on Thursday, April 22. The recipients of this year’s awards honoring local volunteers for committed community service, response, and support were revealed in a video presentation Thursday at noon that may be viewed at www.BloomingtonVolunteerNetwork.org/bemore.
“Every year, the Be More Awards recognize Bloomington’s finest, those who contribute their time, talent and efforts to the greater good,” said Mayor John Hamilton. “This particularly rough year, Bloomingtonians have pitched in to feed folks laid off from jobs, sew masks to protect us, or countless other lifesaving and community building efforts. They inspire us to explore the many ways we can all get involved at BloomingtonVolunteer Network.org.”
Each of the recipients in six categories (listed below) will be presented with a commemorative plaque; and the principal organization he/she/they serve will be recognized with a $1000 contribution from the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County (except for the Business Category that will receive no cash award). This will be the second year for a virtual presentation of the Be More Awards, a ceremony that is normally held in person in the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
“It has been a joy to get to know these individuals, groups, organizations, and businesses and their contributions to our community during a very challenging year for volunteer engagement,” said Volunteer Network Director Lucy Schaich. “The Be More Awards are a beloved annual tradition and an opportunity to celebrate all of the ways that people build community through service and engagement. I am very grateful to be able to help publicly celebrate these six recipients and all of the honored nominees. The stories of service that are shared each year through these nominations never fail to inspire each of us to see the good in our community and rise to join them in that endeavor.”
The Be More Awards event is sponsored by the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, a program of the Community and Family Resources Department, with IU Credit Union, United Way of Monroe County, and WTIU Public Television serving as co-sponsors. Award recipients in six categories were chosen by an independent selection committee, which included representatives from each of the sponsors of the program.
The 2021 Be More Award Recipients (Award & $1000 cash award provided by the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County)
Descriptions provided by the Bloomington Volunteer Network
Be More... Committed (no cash for this award)
Community-Minded Business of the Year
Recipient: One World Enterprises
Summary: One World Catering provided family meals to the community five days a week during the peak of the pandemic last spring. While the catering business was closed, owners Jeff Mease and Lennie Busch were able to leverage their own surplus with donations from restaurants and businesses within the food system to provide food for this drive. These meals were available not only to furloughed and unemployed workers and their families in the food and beverage industry, but also laid-off workers and their families in service industries, and artists. Meals were also made and delivered to third-shift IU workers at IU Health Bloomington Hospital who did not have access to a cafeteria. The caterers took the necessary precautions due to the pandemic to ensure the meals were safe, by following all health-code recommendations. Plus, there was a real intention to reduce waste. The family meals were served in returnable, reusable plastic containers that those receiving them were asked to clean, sanitize, and return so that they could be used again. "My main goal is to tell people we are safe,” said Mease. “‘You are safe. We are safe. You will get fed. You will not run out of food until I run out of food. So we can make this work.’"
Be More... Impactful
Volunteer of the Year
Recipient: Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc., Sigma Kappa Lambda Chapter (cash award will be given to Bloomington Alpha Leadership Foundation Inc.)
Summary: The Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc, Sigma Kappa Lambda Chapter was chartered in 2017 and immediately began working within the Bloomington community. The newly created chapter is full of the wisdom, creativity, will, and servant leadership of generations of Alpha Men. They are always moving onward and upward and have future plans for many areas within the brotherhood. They have over 800 hours of community service yearly. Their leadership is shown by brothers being a part of executive boards of other nonprofit agencies, such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, The RISE, and Boys and Girls Clubs of Bloomington. They continue to look at supporting other organizations as they celebrate positive growth in the community.
Be More... Bloomington
Community Collaboration & Response Award
Recipient: Bloomington Mask Drive (cash award will be given to the Bloomington Quilters Guild)
Summary: Kelly Clark and Nola Hartman created the Bloomington Mask Drive (BMD) in March 2020, after they met in a store, each searching for fabric and elastic to make cloth masks. They quickly united in a mission to help stem the spread of COVID-19 by providing clean, high-quality, homemade fabric masks free to the people of Bloomington and Monroe County. Nola, a member of the Bloomington Quilters Guild, has formidable sewing skills and deep community roots; Kelly, a physical therapist and business owner, has healthcare, project management, and expertise in IT and social media. Initially relying on Nola’s contacts in the quilter community and then expanding recruitment via word of mouth, BMD attracted 350+ volunteers and distributed 25,000 masks in its first three months and over 50,000 masks by the project’s end this year.
Be More... Extraordinary
Volunteer Program of the Year
Recipient: Hoosier Hills Food Bank Volunteer Program and Ryan Jochim, manager of volunteers and community engagement
Summary: Ryan Jochim has been at the helm of the engagement program at the Hoosier Hills Food Bank for the past seven years. He is well-liked by the approximately 2,000 volunteers who help HHFB each year and is a key member of the food bank team. Last year, he was called on to make significant adjustments as HHFB lost almost all of its volunteers due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Ryan was able to pivot quickly to working with the National Guard soldiers deployed to help the food bank for nine months and continued to ensure that necessary tasks were performed as many of the procedures and processes completely changed at the same time that community need increased by nearly 40%. HHFB supports and honors its volunteers by engaging and treating them respectfully and appreciatively. Each year they host a Hunger Action Awards and Volunteer Recognition Reception where awards and t-shirts are provided. As this wasn't possible due to COVID, they still named "19 Heroes of Covid-19" including many of the volunteers who were able to continue working with them.
Be More... Energized
Youth Volunteer of the Year
Recipient: Sadio Kone from the Banneker Community Center
Summary: At eight years old, Sadio Kone and his peers have witnessed far too much tragedy. They’ve seen the deaths of Tamir Rice, Trayvon Martin, Ahmaud Arbery, George Floyd, and Breonna Taylor. They've experienced school shootings and are living through a global pandemic. Instead of letting fear overtake him, Sadio used his voice, his energy, and his passion to help promote a cause he cares about--supporting Black lives. Because of his actions, he was selected to represent youth at the Elm Street Black Lives Matter mural dedication in November, where he eloquently expressed what Black Lives Matter means to him. Sadio is not only inspirational because of what he's accomplished to date but he is a role model who offers hope for the future of our community and our country.
Be More... Dedicated
Lifetime of Service Award
Recipient: Terry & Dixie Patterson from LIFEDesigns, Inc.
Summary: Terry and Dixie Patterson are one of the founding families that came together over 40 years ago to create what was then called Better Living for Special People, now known as LIFEDesigns. Over the past 40 years, both Terry and Dixie have served on the nonprofit’s Board of Directors. Currently, Terry is Board Chair. They have participated in many committees over the years including the Golf Scramble Planning Committee and the Month of Chocolate Committee. They volunteer or attend every event and have made a huge difference in the lives of the many LIFEDesigns clients over the years and for their daughter Jennifer, who is a LIFEDesigns client and the reason they were part of creating this agency.
Their nominator said, “Forty years ago they had a dream for individuals with disabilities to live just like anyone else and have the opportunities that anyone else had. That dream has helped individuals get employment in their community. Live on their own in their own apartment or house independently. Helped individuals with disabilities to be a part of the community rather than segregated away. And has given (and still gives) individuals with disabilities the help they need to live as independently and safely as possible!”
For more information about the awards, or photographs of the honorees, please go to BloomingtonVolunteerNetwork.org/bemore or contact Lucy Schaich at 812-349-3433 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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