Volunteers are vital in ensuring that Jamestown's many organizations can continue to be successful in their missions.
Seventeen of those volunteers were honored Tuesday evening during the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County's annual "Volunteer of the Year Reception," which was held at the Lillian Vitanza Ney Renaissance Center in Jamestown. United Way hosts the program each year to honor those who give back to the community. This year the event also coincides with National Volunteer Week, which takes place April 21-27 and was established in 1974 to focus national attention on the impact and power of volunteerism and service. At the commencement of the event, City Council president Greg Rabb commented that there "wouldn't be a renaissance here in Jamestown without all of the volunteers."
"It's fitting that we're honoring our volunteers during this week when the whole country is recognizing volunteerism," said Tory Irgang, United Way of Southern Chautauqua County executive director. "In fact, in conjunction with the United Way of Northern Chautauqua County and the Service Collaborative of Western New York, we're promoting a new website at www.volunteerwny.org that connects volunteers with opportunities to help all across Western New York. This essentially is a one-stop-shop for volunteers wanting to help and the nonprofits that are seeking the help."
In picture at left, Nancheska Torres, left, receives her award as volunteer of the year for United Way of Southern Chautauqua County as Tory Irgang, executive director looks on, during Tuesday’s ceremony. In picture at right are County Executive Greg Edwards and City Council President Greg Rabb opening Tuesday’s ceremony by thanking volunteers for the countless hours of work that they put in to help area organizations.
P-J photos by Ryan Atkins
According to Irgang, volunteers are often brought to organizations by word of mouth, because of a passion for a specific type of work, or simply because they were "the only one to raise their hand" and agree to do the work. The new online presence for volunteers in Western New York is aimed to target a new demographic, while also ensuring that people in the community know what opportunities are available.
"We don't want to leave it to chance," said Irgang.
This year, the United Way of Southern Chautauqua County recognized Nancheska Torres as its volunteer of the year for her contributions as a student intern through Jamestown High School's Youth Apprenticeship Program.
"Nancheska was truly a joy to work with," said Irgang. "Whatever the task assigned to her she did well and she did with a positive attitude. Her attention to detail was outstanding, and she was always eager and willing to try and do new things. She's been a great addition to the United Way team this year."
In addition to Torres, 16 other volunteers were recognized from the United Way's partner agencies: Edward Schroeder for the Allegheny Highlands Council; Charlie and Donna Meder for the American Red Cross; Dan Maloney for the Boys and Girls Club of Jamestown; Joseph Bender for CBA and Vision Rehab Services; Jay Destro for Chautauqua Adult Daycare; Don Nelson for Chautauqua County RSVP; Ella Ames for Chautauqua Lake Child Care Center; Marie Vos for Chautauqua Striders Inc.; Laura Wurstner for Court Appointed Special Advocates; Joelle Washer for Family Service of the Chautauqua Region Inc.; Judy Hunt for Girl Scouts of Western New York; Tara Eastman for Joint Neighborhood Project; Darrell Stein for Meals on Wheels; Chip Swanson for YMCA; and Marry-Ann Eva Ingrao for YWCA.
Honorees were awarded certificates recognizing their volunteer efforts from local lawmakers, including County Executive Greg Edwards, state Assemblyman Andy Goodell, R-C-I-Chautauqua County, state Sen. Cathy Young, R-C-I-Olean, and U.S. Rep. Tom Reed, R-Corning, as well as tote bags and T-shirts from United Way.
For more information about United Way of Southern Chautauqua County, visit www.uwayscc.org or call 483-1561.