NASHVILLE — At the 11th annual Governor’s Volunteer Stars recognitions on Sunday, Feb. 9, 2020, Herb Davidson and Laura Grace Jenkins were recognized as the most outstanding adult and youth volunteers for Hawkins County for 2019, while from Hancock County, O’Neil Greene and Molly Shockley were recognized as the most outstanding adult and youth volunteers.
A single adult and youth volunteer from 85 participating counties across Tennessee were honored as the “Who’s Who” of an estimated 1.6 million people who volunteer across the state in any given year.
Govenor Bill Lee estimates that non-profits, through the work of these men and women, add $3.3 billion to Tennessee’s economy annually.
Hawkins County StarsHerb Davidson was chosen for his tireless work over the last 12 years having given 10,400 volunteer hours to Emergency Services food pantry in Church Hill.
Davidson has faithfully kept food pantry shelves stocked, and schedules run for daily runs to local grociers for donated foods they give. He is always there with a smile to receive food donations from local groups and is the “go to” person at the food pantry able to keep everything running and spotless before pantry hours begin.
Jenkins was chosen for her active role in the 4-H Honor Club and having chartered the 4-H Sewing Club. Under her direction, the club has sewn and donated baby blankets to the Hawkins Co. Pregnancy Crisis Center and the Ronald McDonald House.
Through 4-H, Jenkins has organized a Trunk-or-Treat for low-income families in Knoxville, packed bags for children coming in at DHS and collected and distributed needed items for local non-profits.
Jenkins currently serves as Tennessee 4-H State Council President and serves the Rogersville/Hawkins County Chamber as the 2019-2020 Miss Chamber. She has participated in multiple community beautification events and is an active part of her church’s youth group.
Hancock County StarsGreene represents Hancock County’s adult volunteer, having founded The Mission in Sneedville in 2011. The Mission, a drug recovery center is able to provide a meal and a program for 35-50 people each week battling some type of conflict or addiction. After each meeting counseling is offered and often clothing and other items are furnished to participants.
In eight years, 125 clients have gone through long-term rehab, 35 of whom are now successfully employed, and 10 more are counselors at the rehab centers they attended.
O’Neil was chosen as one of the five as an example of a state recognized successful program.
At a recent state conference, The Mission was chosen as one of five to represent the state of Tennessee for their “best practices” used in Hancock County.
Molly Shockley, the Hancock Youth recipient (who was unable to attend Sunday’s event) was chosen for her active involvement in many clubs including the Hancock County’s T4 group (Tennessee Teens Talk Tobacco) and 4-H. She is a volunteer dance instructor and her school’s after-school program sponsored by Ballad Health.
Shockley serves on the teen outreach committee at The Mission which focuses on helping those battling addictions and women facing unplanned pregnancies. Through her church, she has served in many capacities at the Operation Christmas Child Distribution Center and served at local community events like the pancake dinner following the Sneedville Christmas Parade.
Each year, through a nominating process, nominations are provided for residents to submit their favorite volunteer who is compared to other nominees through a panel of judges grading on a point system in four areas of community involvement.
Sheldon Livesay, the coordinator for both Hawkins and Hancock Counties, says, this Nashville recognition is possibly the most prestigious honors each recipient will ever receive. Hawkins and Hancock Counties covey their gratitude to all our great volunteers, especially these recognized for their work in 2019.