Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

County Salutes Its Volunteers Nassau: 12 Honored for Contributions

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

County Salutes Its Volunteers Nassau: 12 Honored for Contributions

Article excerpt

Byline: Amelia A. Hart, Nassau Neighbors staff writer

Thursday was a day to give thanks to those who give their best to Nassau County.

A dozen people were honored last week for volunteering something better than money, said Hilliard Mayor David Buchanan during the Nassau County Volunteer Center's 17th Annual Volunteer Awards Luncheon.

"They volunteer their time and themselves," Buchanan said.

From helping the dying to pulling trash from the St. Marys River to coaching Little League, Thursday's award winners were saluted for the many ways they make Nassau County a better place to live.

The recipients were modest about their accomplishments, and many spoke of the gifts given to them by those they help.

Hanko Rosenblad, who works with Community Hospice, said she's received a sense of bravery, compassion and love from hospice patients. Charles Albert said his work with youngsters leads him to tell his wife all the time how blessed they were because they both had had a mother and a father.

The atmosphere was festive in the Atlantic Avenue Recreation Center in Fernandina Beach with red, white and blue balloons bobbing above the tables illustrating the afternoon's theme, "Celebrate the American Spirit -- Volunteer!"

But the afternoon also had its moments of emotion, particularly when the Volunteer Center's annual Special Recognition Award was presented posthumously to Fernandina Beach resident Curtis "Topsy" Smith, who died in March. Smith's widow, Virginia, accepted the award on Smith's behalf.

Vicki Cannon, Nassau County supervisor of elections and board member of the volunteer center, described Smith as a person who endeared himself to everyone he met and was a tireless volunteer.

"Topsy was very involved in making our country, our county and our community a better place to live," Cannon said.

Several firsts were marked at the event, including two new awards presented by the Amelia Island-Fernandina Beach-Yulee Chamber of Commerce and the Fernandina Beach Optimist Club. …

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