Middle Tennesseans were honored on Wednesday for outstanding volunteer work today at Hands On Nashville’s 31st annual Mary Catherine Strobel Volunteer Awards, presented by Advance Financial.
More than 600 volunteers and agency representatives attended the luncheon and ceremony at the Music City Center downtown. The annual event recognizes volunteers for their outstanding contributions to the community.
This year’s awards ceremony kicked off with a choir performance by St. Cecilia Academy to recognize the award nominees and finalists. Great-granddaughter and namesake of Mary Catherine Strobel, Mary Catherine Pyburn, recited the Peace Prayer of St. Francis, a favorite of her great-grandmother. Charles Strobel, son of Mary Catherine Strobel and founding director of Room In The Inn, closed the ceremony with remarks about the event’s significance and an eloquent remembrance of his mother’s legacy.
“The Hands On Nashville team is once again energized by the spirit of service at the Strobel Awards,” said Lori Shinton, President and CEO of Hands On Nashville. “Strangers don’t exist at that luncheon. There is a seemingly unending line of new friends wanting to hear more about you and thank you for your service.”
Community members submitted 126 nominations for the 2017 Strobel Volunteer Awards.
“Volunteerism is a key component of our business culture and a key part of being a Nashvillian,” said Tina Hodges, Chief Executive Officer and Chief Experience Officer at Advance Financial. “Our employees are offered volunteer time and we hear about their incredible experiences all year long. The Strobel Awards celebrates stories like theirs and those of our fellow Nashville volunteers in such a special way.”
“This is probably one of the best awards I could ever imagine receiving,” said Terry Key, recipient of the Direct Service Volunteer Award (Ages 21 to 49). “I get a chance to make a difference and work with people who are making a difference. I’m going to show this to all the kids in the bike club and tell them, ‘No matter where you’re from, you can make a difference!’”
Following is a list of award recipients for each category and a brief description of the volunteer work for which they are recognized. Laura Little received the 2017 Capacity-building Volunteer Award for her work with 18 different nonprofits around Nashville. Brentwood Baptist Church – Medical Dental Unit received the 2017 Civic Volunteer Group Award. The MDU is a mobile facility that offers free healthcare services, and welcomes people from all backgrounds. FYKES Realty Group is the 2017 recipient of the Corporate Volunteerism Award for its work with Open Table Nashville, which works with individuals facing homelessness. Olivia Wright received the Direct Service Volunteer Award in the ages five to 20 category for her work with Tennessee H.U.G.S., or Help Us Give Shoes, an organization she started with she was only nine. Terry Key is the 2017 recipient of the Direct Service Volunteer Award, ages 21 to 49 category, for his efforts with the Edgehill Bike Club. Lillian Schklar received the 2017 Direct Service Volunteer Award in the ages 50-plus category for her tutoring work with FiftyForward’s Friends Learning in Pairs (FLIP) program. She is a fixture in the school where she tutors, having logged hundreds of service hours in more than a decade.