COLUMBUS -- Those who give of their time to help nonprofits had their moment in the spotlight.
The Columbus Area United Way awarded some volunteers in the community in February during an annual meeting.
“We treasure the opportunity to recognize our volunteers,” said Pat Heimes, executive director at the United Way.
The highlight of the event was recognizing the volunteers for their work with United Way’s partner agencies by giving them plaques as a token of appreciation. Both youth and adults were honored.
Angela Beltran received a youth award for her work at the Platte Valley Literacy Association. Beltran became an active volunteer when she was in middle school because she wanted an activity outside of school that allowed her to help others.
She started small with duties such as cleaning up libraries, and now she works full time for the association.
“It feels wonderful knowing that after so many years of being a volunteer and putting a lot of hard work into PVLA, I get recognized,” Beltran said.
Another volunteer that received recognition for her work at PVLA was Connie Bonk. Bonk received an adult award. She has held many roles as a volunteer such as being a personal tutor for adult students, a classroom assistant, a substitute instructor and also helping out with special events.
“It’s a challenge but also a very rewarding experience for me because I learn so much from the people that I am tutoring,” Bonk said.
However, one of Bonk’s biggest motivators to volunteer is assisting students to prepare for the naturalization test to become U.S. citizens.
Tammi Gotschall received an award for her work with Big Pals-Little Pals. She joined the association’s board of directors in November 2012 and has since helped with numerous events, including fundraising.
In conjunction to Big Pals-Little Pals’ mission to provide a role model to make a positive impact in children's lives, Gotschall has built a close bond with her Little Pal, Alissa, for the past four years.
Volunteers from the Center for Survivors were also honored. Madelyn Hogeland received a youth award and Mike Kaczor received an adult award.
“I am very honored,” Hogeland said.
Hogeland is a part of the Center for Survivors’ high school performance group Revolution and has been a volunteer for fours year with a total of 292 hours. Out of the many youth involved in Revolution, she said she was honored to be picked for the award. During her time with Revolution, she has helped with face painting, community outreach and took up the role as the narrator in its theater program.
“The Revolution group is very important to the community and I can see a change in people when I go to other schools and present our presentations,” Hogeland said. “I love that I know I am helping someone.”
The owner of the Fence Shop, Mike Kaczor, helped make the center’s vision of having a play yard come to a reality. He provided the center with a great deal on vinyl fences and even donated his time to install them. In addition, he also volunteers with mowing, fertilizing and maintaining the ground. He is currently in the process of building shelving units for storage for client resources.
Tom Kent, a member of the Scouting community, also received an adult award for his contributions to Boy Scouts of America. He led the association’s youth programs and served on its local and council boards.
Aside from the Boys Scout, Kent has also volunteered as an EMT in Tilden and was a member of the American Legion.
Another adult winner was Kim Loseke for her contributions to the TeamMates Mentoring Program. Despite working full time at the Columbus Family Practice, she remained faithful to the program where she mentored and helped with recruitment.
Wendy Peterson has advocated for up to six children during her time at Court Appointed Special Advocates (CASA) Connection, an organization dedicated to helping abused and neglected children. Thanks to her commitments, Peterson was recognized with an adult awarded.
Another adult who was honored was Yaramis Ramos, who is originally from the Dominican Republic. Ramos volunteers as a lifeguard at the Columbus Family YMCA.
“I am very happy,” Ramos said. “I am glad that I can be helpful to the community.”
Ramos wants to be a role model for other Latino adults and wants to get them more involved in the community.
The event also honored volunteer groups that have contributed greatly to their communities. The one group was the Platte Valley Literacy Association’s Board of Directors.
A new award was introduced to this year’s volunteer recognition event to honor businesses.
Hy-Vee was presented with the business award because of its support for the United Way and other nonprofit organizations. Among its many contributions, it has sponsored prizes for the Lazy River Duck Run for 19 years and hosted the cheerleader contest.
Chad Dhyrkopp, store manager at Hy-Vee, was present to receive the award.