CHARLESTON, WV – This year, eight recipients were recognized with West Virginia’s most prestigious volunteer award – the 2019 Governor’s Service Awards – during a ceremony Thursday evening at the State Culture Center in Charleston.
The Governor’s Service Awards honor individuals and groups who roll up their sleeves to solve community problems in innovative ways.
The Governor’s Service Awards were established in 1995 and are administered by Volunteer West Virginia, the state’s Commission for National and Community Service.
A panel of volunteer judges selected the recipients on the basis of achievement, community needs, continuing involvement, and impact of service.
The honorees were:
Stephanie Santilli | Philippi
Ten years ago, Stephanie Santilli, of Philippi, became a dedicated volunteer for the Pancreatic Cancer Action Network after her uncle passed away from the disease. Described as a poised, articulate, and inspiring fifteen-year-old, she has helped pass two bills through Congress, has met with Federal Legislators, helped to coordinate special events, and much more.
Mike Anderson – “Chef Mike” | South Charleston
Mike Anderson has dedicated hundreds of hours preserving West Virginia's wildlife and helping others in Charleston. From crawling on the forest floor at midnight searching for Cheat Mountain salamanders, to improving hundreds of acres of habitat by planting native trees, Mike does it all. As a member of St. Christopher Episcopal Church, Mike also mentors area youth and introduces them to the world of conservation. Affectionately known as "Chef Mike", he is well-known for the delicious meals he prepares and the kindness he shares with others.
Jon Six | Parkersburg
Jon Six is a well-known volunteer and Parkersburg business owner. An advocate for many causes, his hair salon is constantly filled with donations for the hungry, homeless, children, and animals. When Jon Six hears about a challenge in the community, he does something about it. He rallies friends and supporters, and donations come pouring in.
Laura Greathouse | New Cumberland
Lifetime Achievement Category
Armed with a caring heart and never-ending work ethic, Laura Greathouse has dedicated more than fifty years of her life to improving the lives of others in New Cumberland and Hancock County. A beloved retired school teacher, she tutors students, helped to expand Energy Express in her county, started a summer school program with the help of friends and volunteers, teaches story hour, cares for elderly and homebound neighbors, and much more.
Robin Mams & Lulu | Elkins
A unique team, Robin Mams & Lulu serve West Virginia in a variety of ways. Robin is a certified therapy dog trainer and Lulu is a therapy canine. Together they provide cheer to the mentally ill, disabled, seniors, Veterans, children, and hospice patients. Robin and Lulu visit local organizations at least two times a week. In her spare time, Robin also volunteers as a golf instructor for youth, helps facilitate substance abuse recovery support groups, assists with literacy activities, and donates her time to variety of community-based events. Together they empower and comfort some of the most vulnerable in West Virginia.
Nancy Harris | Lewisburg
Nancy Harris is a living legend on the Greenbrier River Trail. She is known in Lewisburg as “that woman you always see riding her bike." In retirement, she has become one of the bike trail’s most devoted volunteers, helping to maintain 78 miles of trail. In 2018, Nancy took charge leading volunteer efforts to repair storm-damaged sections of the Greenbrier River Trail. Nancy loves inspiring others to volunteer by doing what she loves: riding her bike and taking care of the Greenbrier River Trail.
Dementia Friendly St. Albans
When the citizens of St.Albans learned that over 38,000 West Virginians live with Alzheimer’s disease, they decided to do something about it. Together volunteers created Dementia Friendly St.Albans. In addition to holding monthly meetings for the public, trained volunteers educate businesses, local police, and firefighters on how to support individuals with Alzheimer’s. Volunteers have also created “Please Be Patient” cards for caregivers to use in public places and stickers for homes to help first responders know that someone in the home has dementia. A true community effort, in only two years volunteers have managed to make St.Albans one of the very few cities in the country to become an official “Dementia Friendly City”.
Zambito Family Dentistry | Wheeling
Zambito Family Dentistry in Wheeling is constantly looking for ways to make West Virginians smile. Four years ago, the father and son team started a program in Wheeling to assist Veterans with a free day of dentistry. Additionally, Dr.Ric Zambito and Dr. Chris Zambito serve on multiple boards, volunteer at local youth camps and organizations, share their time to supervise dental students, and much more.
Two leadership awards were also presented at the ceremony. Mountaineer Food Bank received the Red Wagon Award and Wayne Worth received the Servant Leadership Award.