Staff photo/Carla Meyer
Mercy Unlimited Volunteer Services Coordinator Charlene Smith, middle, presents â€śVolunteer of the Yearâ€ť awards to Jamie Braun, at left, and Marie Hawk, at right, during Mercy Unlimitedâ€™s Volunteer Appreciation Brunch held Thursday at RJ Coffey Cup, in Wapakoneta.
Two local volunteers’ faces revealed the pair’s pleasant surprise of earning a top honor during an annual Volunteer Appreciation Brunch hosted by Mercy Unlimited.
Marcie Hawk and Jamie Braun have spent numerous hours of their spare time volunteering at Mercy Unlimited, and on Thursday, they were presented with “Volunteer of the Year” awards.
“It made me feel really good and appreciated,” Braun said after he received the award during the brunch.
A staff of 13 people at Mercy Unlimited voted for whom they thought should be volunteer of the year, and as they each nominated one person, they left comments on their ballot on the person’s work ethic and after tallying up the totals, there was a tie between Hawk and Braun for most votes.
Braun and Hawk said they volunteer to help others.
“I do it because I love people and it’s a very good environment,” Hawk said, “and you can help other people.”
Both award recipients said they have never volunteered before joining Mercy Unlimited’s team.
“I’ve never volunteered before,” Braun said. “I’ve always wanted to. It’s time to help.”
Braun has been helping at Mercy Unlimited for nearly two years, and volunteers his time working in the food pantry on Wednesdays, which is his day off from his job at Bob Evans Restaurant.
“I wait tables at Bob Evans and that’s what I do, I give,” Braun said of his job, where he serves customers on a daily basis at the restaurant.
Braun’s job duties at Mercy Unlimited include being a shopping guide with the clients during food shopping hours and stocking food on the shelves.
Comments made on the ballots of employees who nominated Braun to be volunteer of the year noted he was fun to work with, dependable, he takes good care of pantry clients and he shares knowledge of ways to save money clipping coupons.
“I just feel better about myself,” Braun said of volunteering. “It makes you feel better.”
Hawk said there is nothing that can replace the feeling she gets from volunteering.
“It’s a wonderful feeling,” Hawk said. “There is no feeling in the world that can replace the feeling you get.”
Hawk has been volunteering with Mercy Unlimited for one year, and she works in the Donation Center.
Her job duties include sorting and hanging clothing items and transferring them out onto the retail floor.
Some of the comments fellow Mercy Unlimited workers said about Hawk were she has a great heart for the ministry, she always comes in with a smile on her face, she loves people and is very friendly, she is dependable and an excellent worker.
“I enjoy every minute of it,” Hawk said.
Mercy Unlimited Volunteer Services Coordinator Charlene Smith said this is one day of the year where they can show appreciation to their volunteers, as this week is National Volunteer Week.
“It’s a good way to let them know they are appreciated,” Smith said after the awards ceremony.
She said volunteers are priceless, and in 2012, Mercy Unlimited Volunteers performed 4,521 hours of servic. She shared that the value of an hour of volunteer work is placed at $18.87, and this represents a total savings of $85,325 to Mercy Unlimited, as volunteers are not paid, as they work in their spare time.
“We appreciate all of you,” Smith said to all the volunteers at the special brunch held in their honor at RJ’s Coffey Cup. “You all have your unique traits and it blends into one big rainbow. That’s what we are, one big rainbow.”
Mercy Unlimited — To volunteer at Mercy Unlimited, there are spots available to help in the food pantry, thrift store and donation center, maintenance, janitorial duties and help at the Christmas store, which opens from Nov. 1 to Dec. 24. For more information, call Mercy Unlimited at 419-738-3161 or visit their building at 38 E. Auglaize St., Wapakoneta.”