Bill George was surprised at being named Volunteer of Year in the Kiwanis 12th Annual Greater Valparaiso Volunteer of the Year Award Recognition Luncheon held at Strongbow Inn on May 29, 2013. “It was an honor just to be nominated for this award,” said George, “but this is . . . unbelievable.” Mr. George was nominated by the Family & Youth Services Bureau for his work as a Court Appointed Special Advocate, or ‘CASA’ volunteer. He has been an advocate for children who have been deemed to be abused and/or neglected by the children’s birth families, work that he has been doing since 2008. His main task is to look out for the best interests of each child. In the last four years, Mr. George has represented 26 children, volunteered over 900 hours, and driven over 1800 miles for children that need him the most.
The Greater Valparaiso Volunteer of the Year Recognition Program is sponsored annually by the Valparaiso Kiwanis Club Foundation in order to celebrate the spirit of volunteerism, recognize outstanding volunteers in the Greater Valparaiso area, and encourage increased volunteerism. Mr. George’s name was submitted by Family & Youth Services Bureau in March along with a record number (14) of names from non-profit agencies within the Greater Valparaiso area. All nominees received a recognition plaque at the luncheon with the winner receiving a $500 for the nominating non-profit agency. This year, the program included congratulatory remarks from United Way Volunteer Center Director Kathy Wojkovich and a letter of congratulations to each nominee from Jon Costas, Mayor of Valparaiso.
“We are so excited that Bill won this award,” said Jackie Gray of Family & Youth Services Bureau. “So often our volunteers do not get the recognition they deserve because most of their work is confidential and difficult to discuss. Bill is certainly a worthy recipient because of what he has done for so many children. The Kiwanis Volunteer of the Year Program has helped us say thank you to a truly deserving man.”