College volunteer center honors service-minded individuals


Huntington, Ind.— Huntington College volunteers were honored at the Annual Appreciation Banquet hosted by the Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service. Awards were presented to 100 individuals who participated in service projects in the local community and around the world.

Founded on the Huntington College campus in 1992, the Joe Mertz Center mobilizes students, faculty, and staff for outreach and Christian service. According to student director Aaron Wells, more than 10,000 hours of volunteer service have been contributed by the campus community during the 1997-98 school year. Over 90 individuals, agencies, and churches were assisted by Joe Mertz Center volunteers.

The May 5 appreciation banquet included an address by Dr. Christopher Leland, assistant professor of speech communication. Special awards were then presented to individuals who have demonstrated an exemplary commitment to Christian service this year. Recipients were selected based upon their willingness to serve, their degree of involvement, the variety of service projects in which they participated, and the number of hours of service they dedicated.

Debra Weaver, a sophomore cross-cultural ministries major from Mt. Vernon, Ohio, was named 1998 Volunteer of the Year Award. Miss Weaver received a $500 textbook scholarship in appreciation for her very active role in the college volunteer center this year. According to Lori Conway, director of the Joe Mertz Center for Volunteer Service, Debra "is very committed to seeing service done on campus. She has dedicated over 100 hours to several different projects, including Habitat for Humanity fundraisers, Super Service Saturday, and Make a Difference Day. She also serves as student leader of a group of college students who minister to children and youth at an inner-city church in Fort Wayne. "

The Freshman Plunge Award was presented to Evie Lower, an educational ministries major from Leetonia, Ohio. This award is given to a freshman exhibiting an outstanding commitment to service. Conway explains, "Evie has a real heart for service. She was involved in numerous projects this year, including Freshman Plunge, Make a Difference Day, Walk for Warmth, Habitat for Humanity, and the American Red Cross Bloodmobile. She also spent past summers volunteering at an orphanage and has done mission work at an orphanage in Mexico through her church. "

The Staff Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Dr. Mary Ruthi. Dr. Ruthi acts as one of the faculty sponsors of the Huntington College service sorority, Alpha Gamma Pi. According to Conway, she has "exhibited a strong commitment to service in the community and through the Joe Mertz Center." Dr. Ruthi has been involved with both Super Service Saturday and Make a Difference Day. She is also an active member of the Altrusa Club, a community service organization in the Huntington community. Some of her activities through the Altrusa Club include organizing activities for and spending time with mentally disabled people. The club also sponsors scholarships in the community, and organizes programs for the elderly, such as a recent computer literacy workshop held at the Huntington City Township Public Library.

"The people who have received these awards are very deserving," commented Aaron Wells, student director of the Joe Mertz Center. "They worked hard and sacrificed a lot of their time which shows a lot about their character and their desire to serve. "

The Joe Mertz Center Advisory Board members also received special recognition at the banquet. They include faculty and staff members Dr. Dwight Brautigam, Dr. William Bordeaux, Dr. Norris Friesen, Ron Coffey, and Lori Conway; community members Sarah Landrum and Gene Snowden; and students Allison Newhouse and Jeb Ellenwood.

Individuals who dedicated over 100 hours to service this year were given special recognition certificates and gifts. Members of the "100 Hour Club" include Jason Aten, Timothy Bordeaux, Matthew Campbell, Woody Conway, Luke Graf, Holly Harris, Megan Humrichouser, Tabitha Jenkins, Raeann Johnson, Amber King, Julia Koch, Kenneth Lewis, Brooke Martin, AnaLisa Nash, Michael O'Donnell, David Ramseyer, Jennifer Riggs, Scott Saucedo, Jenelle Simpson, Trisha Springer, Leslie Tangeman, Lisa Umphrey, Debra Weaver, and Aaron Wells.

Individuals who gave 40 or more hours to service this year also received special recognition. They included: Coley Arnold, Jason Ankerbrand, Bethany Ashley, Angela Barker, Michael Barnum, Brent Beebe, Tracy Bumgardener, Kevin Byerley, Liza Chapman, Shannon Colwin, Lori Conway, Nathan Doyle, Christine Edwards, Mark Ellison, Joshua Folk, Norris Friesen, Cheryl Haab, Christiane Hailey, Kimberly Horn, Kathy Houk, Lee Houtz Melissa Hull, Brently Jordan, Melissa Kendall, Rachel Knuebuhler, Jennifer Lambert, Heatherly Lane, Rachael LePage, Jaimi Levi, Allison Liechty, Evie Lower, April McClung, Allison Newhouse, John Paff, Sarah Pennington, Nathan Perry, Patrick Pettyjohn, Erin Prendergast, Kristi Ralph, Rick Rhynard, Marla Schrock, Mike Scrabeck, Stephen Shoemaker, Andrew Sikora, Martha Smith, Brian Smeltzer, Molly Spragg, Janelle Stanley, Jeff Steen, Miles Stock, Chad Swanson, Jackie Walter, Carolyn Renee Wehrley, Weller, Cory Whitehead, Jason Wolf, Melissa Wollam, Darla Workman, and Michael Yates.

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Heather Barkley
Director of Communications
Joanne Green
Sports Information Director