ServeMontana Awards

ServeMontana Awards

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The Governor's Office of Community Service and the Montana Commission on Community Service are proud to present the ServeMontana Awards. The purpose of these awards is to recognize Montana citizens, of all ages and backgrounds, who have greatly enhanced the quality of life in our state through their commitment to volunteerism and service to their community. Honorees are selected by members of The Montana Commission on Community Service.

 

ServeMontana Awards & Luncheon sponsored by: 
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Lieutenant Governor Kristen Juras, Montana Commission on Community Service Chair Rebecca Harbage, Vice Chair Morgan Hubbard, and Governor's Office of Community Service Director Sarah Sadowski presented five individuals and two organizations with their 2022 ServeMontana Awards.
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 Chue Vang (Missoula) has been serving the Missoula community since he came as a war refugee in 1979. Chue works with Hmong clients, has served on the board for the Refugee Assistance Center, and became a Senior Companion with AmeriCorps Seniors in 2011. He serves by providing translation services, advocacy, and education totaling nearly 14,000 hours and driving over 24,000 miles to help older adults remain living independently in their homes.
 
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Elijah Gopher (Great Falls) is a light to countless individuals who utilize Alliance for Youth’s Resource Center, a drop-in center for youth to receive food, access to showers, and a range of social services. Whether serving dinner, cleaning, or working with youth, he is always enthusiastic and compassionate. Elijah has volunteered hundreds of hours working one-on-one with youth providing guidance, love, and support.
 
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Judy Reighard (Sunburst) has been a vital and active part of her community for nearly 50 years. She belongs to several organizations including the Coutts Sweet Grass Lions Club, the American Legion Auxiliary, is a volunteer at the North Toole County Athletic Department, and is a member of the Quilt Guild. Judy has logged countless hours working on fundraisers for various projects including Sunburst Gala Days, as well as the Pie and Rummage Sale, and offers her time to read scholarship applications and essays.
 
 
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*Becky Nelson (Great Falls) is a long-time resident of Cascade County and a fierce advocate for students, teachers, families, and Career & Technical Education. Becky holds various roles with Business Professionals of America (BPA) and Future Farmers of America (FFA) and was instrumental in starting the Electric City FFA Chapter. She also gives much of her energy to support the Great Falls Rescue Mission (GFRM) from volunteering in their kitchen, to donating items to the shelters, and organizing the Back to School Rally that provides backpacks and supplies to children in the county.
 *Becky could not attend the ceremony, nominator Molly McGonigal is pictured above accepting the award on her behalf
 
Service Legacy: 
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*Florence Wacker (Roundup) was a volunteer with AmeriCorps Seniors RSVP for 20 years and donated nearly 4,000 hours of service, 400 of those hours in 2021 alone. She volunteered in the Senior Center Kitchen where she was a cashier and helped with dining room set up. Florence was always the first to volunteer for special events such as selling raffle tickets, the Christmas Stroll, and Halloween Costume Contest to name a few. When asked why she chose to volunteer every day, she would say, “It keeps me young!”
 *Marlene Samuels, pictured center, accepted the award on her mother's behalf. Florence passed away earlier this year at the beautiful age of 99.
 
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Sunburst Arts and Education (Eureka) is very much a community organization and most of the work to provide their spectrum of programs is made possible by volunteers. Sunburst volunteers write grants to help bring world-class musicians for community concerts and provide outreach programs to schools and the local nursing home. They organize rotating art exhibits in Eureka, Trego, and Fortine post offices and schools, as well as sell tickets and operate concessions for the five-concert winter series. Volunteers help clean up the Kootenai Rails-to-Trails, and tutor and support individuals working on their GED/ HiSET during the school year. 
 
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Lewis & Clark Literacy Council (Helena) provides a vital service to their community by offering reading and writing classes, conversational English, and one-on-one tutoring for people who would like to expand their education. From basic math to HiSet prep, the Lewis & Clark Literacy Council strives to strengthen the Helena community, and recently extended their services to Afghan refugees who are resettling. The council offers workforce and life skills so adults and their families can have an improved quality of life, and increase their participation in their work, their communities, and even their own families. 

 

Nominations for the 2023 ServeMontana Awards will open December 1st

Nomination Information

ServeMontana Award Nominees are groups and individuals who:

  • Impact change in others’ lives through volunteerism
  • Demonstrate a strong commitment to serving their community
  • Engage in service that significantly benefits others
  • Exhibit leadership through service

This honor represents the best in positive community change through service, volunteerism, and community leadership.

Eligibility: The public is encouraged to nominate individuals of all ages and backgrounds, organizations, and service groups. All service must be performed in Montana or by Montanans and all nominations must be submitted during the nomination period - nominations submitted through other means will not be accepted. Current AmeriCorps and VISTA members are not eligible for the ServeMontana Award.

Selection: The Montana Commission on Community Service, a Governor-appointed body dedicated to promoting service in Montana, select the award winners. 

 
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