Volunteer awards given

Published 5:36 pm Saturday, May 7, 2016

Two Suffolk organizations and a team that did work in Suffolk this year were honored last month at the Hampton Roads Volunteer Achievement Awards given by VOLUNTEER Hampton Roads.

The awards were presented April 13 at the Founders Inn & Spa.

Honored were the Western Tidewater Free Clinic and SCM Vision, as well as Sam Johnson, a U.S. Navy member who works with Team Red White & Blue.


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The Virginia Beach Chapter of Team RWB has provided many volunteers in recent years for activities at the Albert G. Horton Jr. Memorial Veterans Cemetery in Suffolk, said Johnson, who’s a hospital corpsman second class and stationed at Naval Station Norfolk in the Navy Environmental and Preventive Medicine Unit No. 2.

“What we do is we use physical and social activities as well as community service to connect veterans to the communities,” Johnson said. “It gives them that sense of purpose, that sense of service, connections — all those things you have in the military.”

Johnson said the Virginia Beach chapter annually supports the Horton Wreath Society at Christmas. About 50 volunteers showed up last year to help lay wreaths at the annual event coinciding with Wreaths Across America, Johnson said.

The team members also turn out on Memorial Day to help place a flag on each gravesite at the state veterans’ cemetery, Johnson said.

While he appreciates the award, Johnson said everything done by Team Red White & Blue is, as the name suggests, a team effort.

“I don’t get that nomination for that award without having a team that I work with,” he said. “This award was in part due to the amazing work that our team here does. I’m very proud and honored to receive this award but I feel it is because of my team I was able to accept it.”

SCM Vision was honored for its work with young people and adults looking to get on their feet.

“I didn’t do it by myself,” said the Rev. Sylvia Copeland Murphy, the founder of SCM Vision. “If it had not been for my board of directors and the many, many volunteers and interns I have to come in and help me, I could never accomplish the things that we do.”

Murphy highlighted the organization’s tutorial programs, summer enrichment camp, ministry at Western Tidewater Regional Jail and participation in the Suffolk Public Schools’ dropout task force.

“We’re pleased and we’re honored,” Murphy said of the award.

The Western Tidewater Free Clinic also was recognized during the event.

“Volunteers are the lifeblood of Western Tidewater Free Clinic,” the nomination form read. “They are critical to fulfilling the mission of WTFC, which is to provide high-quality, non-emergency health care to residents of Western Tidewater who cannot otherwise afford it.”

The clinic has about 200 volunteers, according to the nomination. About 100 contribute in any given month, giving about 700 hours of support, equaling almost six full-time employees.

Volunteers include nurses, physicians, dentists, dental hygienists and students, mental health counselors, pharmacists, pharmacy technicians and students, an ophthalmologist and administrative assistants.

“It is thanks to these volunteers that the clinic is able to serve their Western Tidewater patients, helping to create a healthier community for all,” the nomination states.