By Donna Rule
Dedicated volunteers are the very lifeblood of non-profit organizations, and recognition plays an important role in keeping great volunteers. However, finding meaningful ways to thank these special people can be a challenge. This is why each year, Fair Park hosts the annual “Senior of the Year Award” to join with other Cumberland County not-for-profit organizations in recognizing those exceptional volunteers on a community-wide basis.
This year’s celebration was held Nov. 16, and nearly 150 members of the community were on hand to recognize nine people from the community who have devoted their time, talent and resources to bettering the lives of others:
Leonard Hollender, 127 Senior Center
Dixie Bradley, Art Circle Library
Cora Reese, Crossville Housing Authority
Bonnie Duncan, Cumberland County Habitat for Humanity
Florence Burcham, Cumberland Medical Center
George and Carole Clark, Cumberland Good Samaritans
Alice Bravo-Collazo, Fair Park Senior Center
Joyce Lugowski, Upper Cumberland Human Resource Agency
Leonard Hollender of the 127 Senior Center was selected as the 2012 Senior of the Year Honoree. Hollender has been an active part of every community in which he has ever resided often leading fund raising activities for them. He has been an active member and former president of the 127 Senior Center. He is often the first to volunteer for any special event, such as the Book Sale or the 127 Yard Sale.
He passion for a cure for macular degeneration, which both his mother and sister were afflicted with, drove him to become involved with the Visually Impaired Group of Cumberland County, where he served as acting president and chief fundraiser.
He has been a long-standing member of TOPS (Taking Pounds Off Sensibly) and has successfully kept the pounds off and earned KOPS status (Keeping Off Pounds Sensibly) for more than seven years. He also earned national recognition as the King of Tennessee and traveled to accept his award in Providence, RI. Each week, he positively encourages his fellow TOPS friends on ways to safely lose weight while having fun.
Everyone who knows Hollender knows he is a jokester at heart. He always creates a light-hearted or comical air in everything he does.
The contribution and dedication of these nominees is very much appreciated by all the lives they have touched and continue to touch over the years. Please join with Fair Park and the nominating organizations in thanking these wonderful people for all the selfless work they do for Cumberland County.