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In 2008, Volunteer Tennessee initiated the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards, a program designed to recognize the outstanding service of those who volunteer in various ways throughout their local Tennessee communities. This year two award recipients, one youth and one adult, in each county will be recognized once again in Franklin on March 4, 2013. This celebration will illustrate the importance of civic participation and service to improve overall community norms.
The event was developed to recognize the unsung heroes from across Tennessee, the “Volunteer State,” which has a longtime legacy of service for almost 200 years. These volunteers play a critical role in the success of Tennessee communities across the state. Through nonprofit organizations, national service programs, faith-based organizations, and neighbor-helping-neighbor, outstanding volunteer service is part of our state heritage. In fact, the annual value of Tennessee volunteers is $3.4 billion.
“As the Volunteer State, we must continue to foster this sense of service and civic responsibility,” said Grundy County Mayor Lonnie Cleek. “In an effort to encourage more Grundy County citizens to help improve our community through volunteerism, Volunteer Tennessee has instituted this statewide volunteer recognition program, the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards. The Grundy County Mayors Office is happy to help organize and promote volunteerism in Grundy County, while recognizing the efforts of those who go above and beyond the call of duty every day by making a difference in the lives of others.”
Nominations for this year’s awards were read and scored by prior winners serving on the approval committee. These numbers were then put together in order to get a winner of the 2013 Grundy County Governors Volunteer Stars Award. Members of the committee stated that all the nominations were very worthy and were overwhelmed by the acts of service that each nomination listed.
The winner of the 2013 Governor’s Volunteer Stars Award in the Adult category is Mr. Y. B. Ashby of Gruetli-Laager. Mr. Ashby started his service many years ago when he joined the military during World War II. The anonymous letter written to nominate Mr. Ashby stated it would be impossible to tell all of the things that he had done for Grundy County.
“He has a true desire to uplift the people and accentuate the positive for Grundy County,” stated the letter. “He has been a pioneer for improving the Grundy County media outlets in order to give the “Good News” to the people of this county. He started the Grundy County Post in the mid eighties. This paper was used to promote children and their accomplishments, along with preserving the history of this area, and uplifting our beloved Veterans and making them understand their worth, not only to Grundy County, but also to our country. He recognized young and old for their accomplishments and presented a very positive picture of our beloved Grundy County.
He initiated the first TV station, which is now known as GCTV, to help do the same. He was also in on the ground floor of our first gospel radio station, known as WSGM. He was in on the formation of the first Grundy County Chamber of Commerce and held the position of Executive Chair for many years. All of this was done with the hope of promoting Grundy County. He is a true champion for our Veterans by all manners of recognition to the Veterans and to their families for their service. He does all of this and more and is 90 years old, has fought cancer several times, and cares deeply and helps his entire family.”
The winner of the 2013 Governor’s Volunteer Stars Award in the Youth category is Mr. Zachary Gallagher of Pelham. Angie Burnett nominated Mr. Gallagher and stated that his whole life revolved around service.
“He serves as a volunteer fireman and always goes above and beyond the call of duty. I stopped by the fire hall and he was there washing the three trucks. He stated he had gotten bored at home and thought he would come and do something at the fire hall. He also cleaned the fire hall floors. He mows yards for elderly people and the landing zone for the Pelham community all at no charge. He keeps score for the softball league and for Pelham School Basketball. He helps with most every fundraiser in Pelham whether it is for the community club or someone who is sick or has lost their home. Zack is there to help.
He puts up 75 flags on the electric poles for the community on special occasions and on Independence Day and puts flags on military graves. He assisted with parades for the community and blocks traffic for funerals. He cleans graveyards and works in and helps build the haunted house for the fire department. He helps with the Shane Tate Fundraiser each year, and assists with the Shannon Brown Run. He plans to follow in the footsteps of his three older brothers and serve in the military. He attends church at the Pelham Church of God. He is a normal 17 year old with a girlfriend, attends ball games and coon hunts with his dad. But his top priority is service to his community, his county and his country.”