Town honors senior volunteers for National Volunteer Week

Town honors senior volunteers for National Volunteer Week

Pictured (l-r) are Mayor Edward P. MacDougall, 2013 Senior Volunteers of the Year Sonya and Fred Ambrose; Councilmember Peggy R. Bell; Valree Stemple, CFAL member; Dolores Dimitriou, CFAL secretary; Carol Sullivan, runner-up; Heather Fraser, CFAL vice chair; Jean Tong Noon, runner-up; Councilmember Mary Ann Mixon; Marilyn Rams, CFAL chair, and Councilmember Sue Ellen Loyzelle. (Not pictured is Alva “Al” Royston, runner-up.)

The Town of Cutler Bay honored senior volunteers for their dedication and service to the community during a ceremony on Apr. 17. The awards were given in recognition of National Volunteer Week, Apr. 21-27.

Cutler Bay’s Communities for a Lifetime Committee (CFAL), led by chair Marilyn Rams, previously had asked residents to nominate seniors who dedicated their time, energy and talent to the community. Nominations were received throughout the month of March and the committee made its final selection at the beginning of April.

Sonya and Fred Ambrose were chosen as the 2013 Senior Volunteers of the Year for their dedication to volunteerism, serving over 2,500 volunteer hours to the community this year. Fred and Sonya are the founders of “Thinking of You Services,” an organization that provides care packages for active duty service men and women.

They also are the founders of “Don’t Stress the Test,” a program assisting students to prepare for FCAT testing. The Ambroses volunteer with the Stork’s Nest Program and serve as volunteer officers with the Concerned Citizens of Cutler Bay.

“This takes me by surprise,” Sonya Ambrose said. “We feel very honored that the committee from the town saw fit to pick us to receive it this year. We’re happy to be able to reach out to the military and to our community in whatever way we can. We’re happy to do it and we’re planning to continue to do that.”

There were a number of runners-up chosen and presented with special certificates as well. They included:

Jean Tong Noon, a volunteer member of the Town of Cutler Bay Parks and Recreation Citizen Advisory Committee, Cutler Bay Business Association and a volunteer in many other capacities;

Carol Sullivan from Whigham Elementary School for “her tireless assistance with the PTA, her involvement with several events, and above all her commitment to assisting in the education of our youth,” and

Alva “Al” Royston who donated countless hours to the schools and to the less fortunate in the community.

“Volunteering and giving back are critical to helping more individuals and communities be healthy, connected and secure,” said Cutler Bay Councilmember Sue Ellen Loyzelle. Established in 1974, National Volunteer Week focuses national attention on the impact and power of volunteerism and service as an integral aspect of civic leadership. The week draws the support and endorsement of the president and Congress, governors, mayors and municipal leaders, as well as corporate and community groups across the country.

Communities for a Lifetime (CFAL) is a statewide initiative begun in 1999 that assists Florida cities, towns and counties in planning and implementing improvements that benefit their residents — youth or elder.

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