Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon: Celebrating 40 Years of Service

by Laura Ingrim

Volunteers are vital to Wilkinson Center’s mission and our work in the community. On September 9, 2022, we were thrilled to host our annual Volunteer Appreciation Luncheon, which celebrates the passionate volunteers who support Wilkinson Center, including the 482 individuals who collectively gave 5,200 hours of volunteer service in the last year. The theme for the Luncheon was “Celebrating 40 Years of Service,” as volunteers have been instrumental in serving clients since Wilkinson Center’s founding in 1982.

This year’s Luncheon was held at Wilshire Baptist Church in the James Gallery. The event began with a welcome by Executive Director Anne Reeder, followed by a prayer led by Darren DeMent, Associate Pastor at Wilshire Baptist. After a buffet lunch, Anne Reeder and Engagement Manager Laura Ingrim presented awards to outstanding volunteers. The event ended with raffle prizes donated by Uline, Nothing Bundt Cakes, Trader Joe’s, Studio Movie Grill, Crayola Experience, and Starbucks.

This year’s Lifetime Achievement Award was presented to Laura Steen-Patterson, who has been volunteering with Wilkinson Center for nearly 20 years. Laura began volunteering with Wilkinson Center’s Adult Education program, assisting with Case Management, and working one-on-one with clients. Over the last few years, she has switched her focus to the Food Pantry, where she volunteers 3 to 4 days a week. Laura is an incredible force for good in the community and a wonderful advocate for Wilkinson Center.

The annual Vickie Thompson Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Colleen Kelley. This special award is named after a long-time volunteer, Vicki Thompson, who passed away in 2017, and is given to an exceptional volunteer each year. Colleen has served as the liaison between Wilkinson Center and Kessler Park United Methodist Church for many years. In this capacity, Colleen coordinates food and turkey basket donations each year, as well as facilitates special events, like this year’s Adult Education Graduation. Colleen is also the most consistent volunteer within our Conversation Corners program.

The Volunteer of the Year – Group Award was presented to the University of Texas at Dallas. In the last year, over 75 students from UTD have collectively given over 1,000 hours of service, mostly in the Food Pantry and Pantry2Go programs. Their support has been invaluable to the Food Pantry and to our clients.

Other awards presented include:

  • Board Members of the Year: Isela Aguilar and Dawn Cordero
  • The Can Do! Spirit Award: Nelda Cain Pickens
  • The Spirit of Taos Award: Caitlin Hyatt, Lindsay Morris, Ida Gleaton, and Carrie Kato
  • Please Never Leave Award: Mary Ann Davila
  • Rookie of the Year – Individual: Patrick Premilan
  • Rookie of the Year – Group: Lakewood United Methodist Church
  • Church Partner of the Year: First United Methodist Church Rockwall
  • Pillar of the Pantry: Charlie Smith
  • The Great Volunteer Connector: LaToya Rowell from Comerica Bank
  • Outstanding Virtual Volunteer – Group: Tolleson Wealth Management
  • Outstand Virtual Volunteer – Individual: Megan Seibold from SHM Architects

Congratulations to all of our award winners, and a huge thank you to all of our volunteers! If you are interested in volunteering with Wilkinson Center, please contact Laura_ingrim@wilkinsoncenter.org