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Volunteers honored for community service

By Paul Huggins
phuggins@decaturdaily.com 340-2395

Six Morgan County volunteers have received national recognition for their longtime community service.

Each received a Points of Light award, which recognizes them as the national volunteer of the day. Their names and accomplishments remain posted at www.pointsoflight.org.

As part of National Volunteer Week, the Volunteer Center of Morgan County recognized each recipient with a ceremony Monday at Hospice of the Valley's Toray Room. State Sen. Arthur Orr, R-Decatur, presented the awards.

The honorees include:

  • March 8 — Sam Alfano. He provided consistent mentoring and professional support throughout Hospice of the Valley's recent capital campaign, allowing it to buy the former St. Ann School.

    He also worked through the year on design and re-engineering of the building to make the renovation affordable.

    Alfano also volunteered to serve as board representative for the newly formed Hospice Strategic Alliance, representing hospice agencies throughout North Alabama. He also assisted with Hurricane Katrina relief, coached youth soccer and youth baseball; was an Emmaus Community Walk worker; and is a member Rotary Club of Decatur.

  • March 19 — Joy Sue Groover. She has worked for years assisting individuals throughout Hartselle and surrounding areas to meet their needs, ranging from financial assistance with prescription medicines to finding out information about starting a small business.

    She is among the founders and directors of the First United Methodist Church of Hartselle's Faith House (previously known as the Good Samaritan Fund). Each year she also helps provide Thanksgiving and Christmas assistance, and several times she has worked after hours or on weekends to make sure no elderly residents are left out.

    Groover does all this while caring for her mother.

  • March 27 — Katie Cosby. With the help of her Girl Scout troop, she planned an environmental health fair. After a lackluster turnout, she organized her 20 fellow Scouts to share their information with the entire third grade at F. E. Burleson Elementary.

    Cosby also is a board member for the American Red Cross. The college sophomore has taught children about being prepared for disasters, worked with the summer youth teaching youth orientation and provided public relations for the Alabama and Auburn Blood Drive.

    She also helped lead the Girl Scouts to partner with the Red Cross.

  • April 2 — Julie Murphy.

    The current president of Families and Children Experiencing Separation has involved the employees of the company she owns, Regal Employment, to reach out to foster children.

    They have a sibling group of four foster children as their special friends, and they provide special gifts for all holidays and birthdays. She helped her employees to sponsor a large family at Christmas.

    One family they helped received follow-up visits that led to the purchase of heaters and blankets in the winter and a cooling system in the summer.

    In December, Murphy helps with the FACES fundraiser by collecting silent auction items, getting corporate sponsors, decorating, creating invitations and getting lunch.

    At her company, she helped an employee without transportation by driving her to the hospital for chemotherapy as well as meeting his family's financial needs.

  • April 3 — Daphana Dekoker. The 16-year servant of Pregnancy Resource Center provides a caring ear for expectant mothers, who often have no family to turn to and just need someone to listen.

    One of those women was so moved by Dekoker's caring that she kept her baby and now volunteers at the resource center.

    Dekoker shared her caring skills on a mission trip to Africa last year. She also is involved in her church and teaches in a care group there.

  • April 24 — 3M Partners in Education. The 11-member committee has worked with Austin High School for 17 years.

    Last year, it donated more than $15,000 in money and 3M brand supplies and provided more than 400 hours of volunteer service to the school.

    Their financial gifts have helped the school buy daily planners for each student, provide breakfast for students taking the Graduation Exam, award college scholarships, furnish first-aid kits for each classroom and give incentives in support of academic achievement.

    The company also has provided plant tours; staffed college expo booths; engaged students in mock interviews to prepare them for jobs; donated food for the canned food drive; provide resources so school staffers can take CPR and firefighting training; and provided gift boxes to veterans as part of the school's celebration of World War II veterans.

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