2017 V!VA Award Winners Announced

V!VA Winners from the 2017 awards presentation held at the Horizon Convention Center. Photo by: Mike RhodesV!VA Winners from the 2017 awards presentation held at the Horizon Convention Center. Photo by: Mike Rhodes

By: Sara Shade, V!VA Committee—

Muncie, IN – The Muncie Rotary Club, Muncie Sunrise Rotary Club, and United Way of Delaware County presented the 2017 V!VA, or Very Important Volunteer Awards, earlier today at the Horizon Convention Center.

The V!VA Awards recognize individuals who have demonstrated the highest level of volunteer activity to serve the civic and social needs of our community. The event rewards, reinforces and inspires local volunteers to aspire to the Rotary ideal of “Service Above Self.”

Five individuals were honored with awards recognizing their service in the past year.  Patricia Brown was honored for her service to the Back to School Teachers Store, for which she served on the original Advisory Board and Co-Chaired the annual purse sale in 2016.  Oneida Hatton, at 89 years young, dedicated over 115 hours to LifeStream Services last year in addition to her service to IU Health/Ball Memorial Hospital.  Carl Kizer, Jr. has provided dedicated service to Delaware County’s Lilly Endowment Community Scholarship Selection Committee and Big Brothers Big Sisters.  Debbie Norrick has made an impact upon the lives of animals in her role as a volunteer for Animal Rescue Fund (ARF). Finally, Jay Zimmerman was recognized for his work with numerous local non-profit groups, including the NAMI Art Festival, Whitely Food Pantry, and RACE Muncie.

Two Lifetime Achievement Award were presented this year.  Thomas Smith has made a life-long commitment to service in our community.  An engineer by profession, Tom has provided dedicated service to Community Enhancement Projects, Inc. (CEP) in various capacities for over 25 years.  He has served the White River Greenway as a Board member for over 20 years.  He has been a valued volunteer to the Cardinal Greenway for over 10 years, providing his vast knowledge of construction, facilities management and inspection management to the trail system to both the staff and Board.  Tom has served on the Board of Directors at Westminster Village Muncie for over 10 years, and was instrumental in the recent renovations which began in October 2014.  He attended weekly meetings while guiding the facility through the construction project.   Ron and Mary Groves stated in their nomination: “He is a very humble individual who lets his actions speak for him.  He is the epitome of a community role model.”

J. Allan Rent, who passed away in January 2017, was posthumously honored with a Lifetime Achievement Award. Al Rent was introduced to many by his radio voice.  But it was his lifetime of service that will serve as his legacy.  He was the founding Board member of WIPB, Huffer Memorial Children’s Center and Omicron Delta Kappa, a national leadership honor society.  He started the Muncie on the Move breakfasts and was on the founding committee of the Rialzo gala.  He held leadership positions with Muncie Rotary Club, United Way of Delaware County, Minnetrista, and the American Cancer Society.  Al served as a Board member for the Muncie Symphony Orchestra, Delaware County Club, Muncie Civic Theatre, Cardinal Greenway, and the Muncie/Delaware County Chamber of Commerce.  He also gave his talents to many marketing and fundraising committees.  His nominator, Scott Smaltsig, stated: “He was so busy recognizing others for their gifts of time and talents, that he has not been recognized.  Now is the perfect time to recognize Al Rent for the V!VA Lifetime Achievement Award…because he would not have allowed us to give it to him previously.”  Al’s wife, Linda, and children, Chris Rent and Kelly Sloan, attended the event to accept the honor on his behalf.

This year marks the 25th year the V!VA Awards have been presented to loyal volunteers in our community.

Click the play button below to hear audio of the entire V!VA Awards presentation. 



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