Gov. Bob McDonnell honors volunteers for community service

bob-mcdonnell-linksToday during an awards ceremony held at Hunton & Williams LLP, Gov. Bob McDonnell announced the nine winners of the 2013 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Awards recognizing individuals and organizations for their extraordinary volunteer efforts that contribute to the life and welfare of citizens throughout the Commonwealth.

“It’s important that we celebrate the positive impact individuals, families, businesses and non-profits make in their communities through volunteerism each year,” said McDonnell. “The honorees recognized here today are agents of change and inspire all Virginians to engage in their communities.”

“Volunteerism strengthens outcomes for individuals and families throughout the Commonwealth,” said Margaret Ross Schultze, Commissioner, Virginia Department of Social Services (VDSS). “We’re honored to acknowledge these contributions which have helped those in need, live safer, more fulfilling lives.”

The award ceremony was sponsored by Hunton and Williams, LLP with support from Genworth Financial in collaboration with VDSS’ Office on Volunteerism and Community Service and the Governor’s Advisory Board on Volunteering and National and Community Service.


Winners of the 2013 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Awards are:

Adult Volunteer: Stephen J. Craven from Paeonian Springs (Loudoun County) As an Angel Flight Pilot and Chairman of the Board of Directors for Angel Flight Virginia, Mr. Craven has flown more than 200 Angel Flights since 1996. Most flights are for medical reasons, transporting patients and wounded veterans for treatment. However, he also flies missions related to natural disasters and most recently, at the request of the Virginia Department of Emergency Management, to assess damage from Hurricane Sandy.

Senior Volunteer: James N. Carter, Jr. from Irvington A near-lifelong resident of the Northern Neck, Mr. Carter has proven to be a valuable advocate for a variety of causes throughout the years, often volunteering 20-40 hours per week improving and providing health care to rural, underserved communities (especially aging seniors) of Virginia’s Middle Peninsula and Northern Neck.

Youth Volunteer: Niasia Mea Ellis from Richmond Although she’s only 16 years old, Niasia Ellis has already made significant contributions to the lives of Virginia’s citizens, as a volunteer for the Chickahominy YMCA Leader’s Club, Black Achievers Club, Young Philanthropist, Partnership for the Future, the East End Youth Basketball League, and is currently serving as the reigning Miss Virginia Teen Essence 2012.

Community Organization: Henrico County Court Appointed Special Advocates, Inc. (Henrico CASA) in Henrico Since 1994, more than 400 dedicated volunteers have been a voice for nearly 2,000 abused and neglected children through Henrico Court Appointed Special Advocates (Henrico CASA).  CASA volunteers provide judges with complete case histories, documented factual findings, recommendations for family stabilization services, and plans for ensuring safe and permanent homes. Currently, 136 community volunteers receive ongoing training and commit to an average of 100 hours per year working on behalf of children in need.

Corporation: MeadWestvaco (MWV) in Richmond                                                                                             

Since relocating their international headquarters to Richmond in 2006, MWV has given more than $11.8 million to organizations throughout the Commonwealth and their employees have volunteered more than 125,000 hours to nonprofit organizations.

Educational Institution: Campus Kitchen at Washington and Lee University in Lexington

Using an innovative model for hunger relief, the number of meals served each month by the Campus Kitchen Project at Washington and Lee University (CKWL) has skyrocketed from 200 to more than 2,000. Food that would otherwise go to waste is utilized to prepare balanced meals for low-income residents in Rockbridge County.

Faith-Based: New Life for Youth, Inc. in Richmond For more than forty years, New Life for Youth has successfully assisted broken families by providing spiritual, educational, and job training for Virginians with substance abuse and other life-controlling addictions. Thousands of students have made significant life changes because of New Life for Youth. While the ministry’s primary focus is on issues related to addiction, it also has used its structure and philosophy to address community needs.

Family: Shak and Robin Hill from Centreville Since 1997, the Hills have been foster parents to 46 children through the Fairfax County’s Department of Social Services. Along with their six children, the Hills regularly welcome one foster child into their home at a time and, occasionally, as many as three to keep families together. With each foster child, they give their whole hearts knowing that, ultimately, the children will learn to love and learn to trust others.
Small Business: Ferber’s Tire & Auto Service in Ashland Started in 1982, family-owned Ferber’s Tire and Auto Service provides ongoing financial support to various local organizations by sponsoring them throughout the year. Despite the struggling economy affecting so many small businesses, Ferber’s has maintained its commitment to support the organizations who would have limited resources to provide the programs they offer for so many children and families.

The Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Awards are presented by the Governor’s Advisory Board on Volunteering and National and Community Service and VDSS’ Office on Volunteerism and Community Service on behalf of the Office of the Governor. These awards have recognized exceptional volunteer service in Virginia for more than 20 years. Additional information about the program and full bios on this year’s recipients can be found online at

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