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Leading volunteers recognized at Be More Awards ceremony

CBVN BMA 2013 logo blue

April 3, 2013

For more information, please contact:
Bet Savich, Director, City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, 349.3472,
Lucy Schaich, Assistant Director, City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, 349.3433,

Leading volunteers recognized at Be More Awards ceremony

Bloomington, Ind.
- The Be More Awards, which honor local volunteers for outstanding community service, were presented Tuesday, April 2 at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.

"I am constantly amazed by the level of community commitment that Bloomingtonians have," Mayor Mark Kruzan said. "The quality of life of our residents is higher in so many ways because of this."

Eighty-seven individuals and groups, all of whom had been nominated by community members, were recognized for their generous commitment to the community in the past year. The City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, the Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County, IU Credit Union, United Way of Monroe County, the Bloomington Entertainment and Arts District's Buskirk-Chumley Theater grant program, and WTIU Public Television have all served as sponsors for the awards program.

"This is such a warm and exciting community event," Volunteer Network Director Bet Savich said. "I love learning about what volunteers are doing and seeing - from the ground up - how the fabric of our community is made."

An independent panel of judges selected award recipients in 10 categories. Mayor Kruzan presented each honoree with a commemorative plaque and Community Foundation President Tina Peterson presented each with a $500 check for the organization for which the recipient volunteered. The Community Foundation of Bloomington and Monroe County presented a total of $5,000 to community organizations through the Be More Awards.

Additional presenters included IU Credit Union President Bryan Price, IU Dean of Students Pete Goldsmith, United Way of Monroe County Executive Director Barry Lessow and City of Bloomington Sustainability Coordinator Jacqui Bauer.

For more information about the awards, contact Savich at 349-3472 or or visit the Volunteer Network's website.

Recipient Summaries:

Be More Phenomenal (Board Member): Tammy Minger
For many years, attorney Tammy Minger served as a Family Service Association board member, then as a Monroe County Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) board member, generously and masterfully contributing to governance and fundraising efforts. Since 2005, Minger has spent hundreds of hours providing legal representation to support children involved in the court system due to abuse and/or neglect. She trains attorneys to represent CASAs, advocates in the community for CASA, recruits board members and serves on very active committees. Whether representing an advocate, researching legal matters or painting a playhouse and towing it around town, she has never said "no" to volunteering.

Be More Healthy Award (Health and Wellness): Bloomington Meals on Wheels
Bloomington Meals on Wheels operates on nearly 100 percent volunteer power! The program provides nutritious meals to people who are unable to purchase and prepare nourishing meals because of medical or physical disabilities. The loyal dedication and tireless efforts of its 200 monthly volunteers have allowed Meals on Wheels to successfully serve the needs of the elderly and homebound in an efficient and fiscally responsible manner. Since its inception 40 years ago, the organization has served approximately 1.5 million meals to its clients.

Be More Sustainable Award (Environmental): Shared by Madeline Hirschland and Molly O'Donnell

Madeline Hirschland:
As co-founder of Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light (H-IPL) and its regional affiliate Earth Care, and through Congregation Beth Shalom's Till and Tend committee, Madeline Hirschland successfully brings people from different faith traditions together to reduce energy use to slow climate change. For example, Hirschland coordinated volunteers from four Bloomington congregations that received the Community Conservation Challenge grant from the Office of Energy Development to install solar panels on their buildings. Each congregation pledged to reduce energy use and many members pledged to cut household energy use. Through leadership, commitment and example, Hirschland convinces congregations that the time to act is now.

Molly O'Donnell: After taking early retirement to focus more on sustainability, Molly O'Donnell reached out to faith communities to teach them to lead the way. She played a key role in securing a major Office of Energy Development grant, organizes practical workshops in reducing energy use through Earth Care Bloomington, is the chair of the local U.S. Green Building Council, is a leading member of the Bloomington Unitarian Universalist Church's Green Sanctuary Task Force on Global Climate Change, and is a member of the Bloomington Commission on Sustainability. Molly has quietly taken on a huge job and does it with warmth, understanding and hard work.

Be More Active Award (Recreation and Sports): Hoosiers Outrun Cancer Committee
The Hoosiers Outrun Cancer Committee supports the important work of the IU Olcott Center for Cancer Support, Advocacy, and Education by organizing the Hoosiers Outrun Cancer 5k run/walk. Over the past 13 years, the race has raised more than $2.1 million. It is the sole source of funding for the Olcott Center, where services are free. This tiny volunteer committee of 12 people who care draws in more than 5,000 participants and volunteers each year. Committee members donate their time because of their passion for the work of the Center, which is a regional leader in promoting awareness of cancer issues from early detection to diagnosis to treatment.

Be More Bloomington (Overall Excellence): Jo Weddle
Jo Weddle is a vital volunteer with Monroe County United Ministries, the Foundation of Monroe County Community Schools, the Interfaith Winter Shelter, SCCAP Circles Initiative, the Bloomington Watercolor Society and the First Christian Church Cabinet and Education Board. Her leadership, tirelessness and positivity characterize her decades of service. The directors of these organizations use words like irreplaceable, matchless, always positive, incredible, tireless and amazing to describe her. Weddle was once a teacher and a principal. She has taken her leadership skills and combined them with hard work and a deep sense of community to improve Bloomington for all.

Be More Involved Award (College Student): Sigma Phi Epsilon Fraternity
In addition to maintaining the highest collective GPA of any fraternity on the IU campus, the brothers of Sigma Phi Epsilon are dedicated to service. They chose Habitat for Humanity of Monroe County as their signature philanthropic organization, and each of the 124 active brothers committed to volunteering at least four hours a month at either the construction site or the ReStore. They worked on the homes of five Monroe County families, helping to lift more than 15 individuals out of poverty. They also raised more than $3,000 this year through events such as GlowFest and Rake-A-Thon, which also educated the community about Habitat's mission.

Be More Energized (Youth): Alexandra Nin Velez
Alexandra Nin Velez has a heart for animals. She volunteers regularly with the City of Bloomington Animal Shelter, where she spends her free days lovingly doing any of the Shelter's necessary work. Nin Velez has also taken a leadership role with the El Centro Comunal Latino Youth Mentoring Program, giving a presentation about the program at the 2012 Indiana Latino Leadership Conference. She is a young Latina woman to be observed as a trailblazer who supports others and envisions a community that can come together to better our society.

Be More Authentic (Judges' Choice): Wylie House Museum Quilters
Over the past 15 years, the Wylie House Museum Quilters have created reproduction quilts for all 10 beds in the museum, allowing the hundreds of annual visitors to experience the fabrics, designs and artistry of 19th century hand-quilting. Without their reproductions, the original antique quilts, which are in wonderful condition, would be exposed to the degrading effects of light, dirt and touch. The organization's creations allow the museum to exhibit the originals only on special occasions. They sew with skill and patience, working to preserve our antiques, provide the museum with gorgeous quilts to display, and teach visitors about the craft. They are a shining example of long-term commitment and dedication.

Be More Compassionate (Animal Welfare): WildCare Volunteers and Board of Directors
WildCare volunteers care for sick, injured, and orphaned wild mammals, birds and reptiles 12 hours a day, 7 days a week, 52 weeks a year in order to release them back to the wild. In 2012, more than 3,364 wild animals were served, a 247 percent increase over the previous year. Volunteers also assist in fundraising and serve on the board of directors for this organization, which is composed of 90 active members and handles a budget nearing $100,000 each year. The organization's educational programs reach more than 3,000 people annually, teaching community members how to live in harmony with our wild neighbors.

Be More Dedicated (Lifetime of Service): Betty Applegate
Betty Applegate has dedicated 40 years of volunteer leadership to Bloomington, changing many lives. In 1968, she co-founded Opportunity House, a non-profit resale store that is staffed by volunteers and commits its proceeds to Monroe County United Ministries. As the volunteer co-director for many years, Applegate worked with innumerable volunteers to carry out merchandising, fundraising and marketing. She has also served Alpha Chi Omega Sorority, Tri-Kappa, PEO, Eastern Star, the Monroe County Library Board of Directors, Bloomington Foster Home, Methodist Youth, the Monroe County School Foundation Board, and the Indiana Lawyers Auxiliary, and has been the Auxiliary's national president. Betty Applegate's life of action is a model for all of us.