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Madison Visionary Awards: Madison residents and business leaders named finalists for volunteerism awards

MADISON – Madison Visionary Partners or MVP has announced community finalists for the second annual Madison Visionary Awards.

The awards ceremony’s venue will be the SportsMed Club at Toyota Stadium in Town Madison on March 28 at 8 a.m.

The awards process celebrates the people who make Madison a great place to live, work and play, according to MVP Executive Director Melanie Thornton.

“Madison Visionary Partners recognizes the role that volunteer service plays in building a stronger community. Volunteers are simply the glue that holds us together. It’s no surprise to anyone that lives here that the secret about Madison is officially out – more people than ever are moving into Madison to enjoy our award-winning schools, more affordable cost of living, and vibrant, active community,” Thornton said on their decision to recognize those who serve our community.

The organization accepted nominations for the second annual volunteer awards throughout the month of January for the awards of Youth Volunteer of the Year, Community Volunteer of the Year, Philanthropic Businessperson of the Year, and Madison Visionary of the Year.

Madison residents have nominated the following individuals in award categories:

YOUTH VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR —

* Andrew Crocker – Senior, Bob Jones High School. National Merit Finalist; Council of Presidents; SALT; Ambassadors President; Senior and Junior Class President; National Honor Society, Service Project Coordinator; Operation Inasmuch, organizer (prepared and packed 50,000-plus meals for local families); Alabama Boys State delegate; Eagle Scout; First Baptist Church, audio/visual lead, Praise Band leader and choir.

* Savannah Gaertner – Senior, Bob Jones. Patriot Band Color Guard and Winter Guard; Student 2 Student; Best Buddies International/Madison City Friends; National Honor Society; Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; Future Teachers of Alabama; State of the Student; National Athletic Honor Society; Peer Helper; Special Education, receptionist; Mentor; Faith Lutheran Church, volunteer and group leader.

* Finley Koswoski – Senior, James Clemens High School. American Legion, Post 229 and Auxiliary Unit 229; Rotary Club of Madison; Girl Scouts, Troop 212, Gold Award for walking tour app of historic, downtown Madison; National Honor Society; Family Career and Community Leaders of America; 400-plus documented service hours in four years of high school.

COMMUNITY VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

* Michelle Hyams — House of the Harvest, The Perfect Blend, Madison Friends (formerly Best Buddies), Asbury Thrift Store.

* Denise Phillips — A New Leash on Life, pet adoption center and thrift store.

* Sandy Weisner — Madison City Community Orchestra, Founder and Director; Madison Methodist Church, Director of Worship and Fine Arts, Sunday School teacher, hand chimes.

PHILANTHROPIC BUSINESSPERSON OF THE YEAR

* Cristie Clark, Captured by Cristie Media Co. — Kids To Love; Madison Street Festival; Aum Foundation; Huntsville Good Samaritans Ministry, 501(c)3; Knight’s Village; Redstone MWR; City of Madison winning photo; Madison Chamber of Commerce; Rocket City Mom; North Alabama War Dawgs; Goodnight Ugly (Youth Faith Ministry); Freedom Cowboys Cheerleaders.

* Matt Gibson, Gibson Orthodontics — Athens Market Day; Journey Middle School, first faculty tailgate; Madison Street Festival; Horizon Elementary School, Harvest Fest; Discovery, Journey and Liberty middle schools, faculty breakfasts; Midtown Elementary School, 12 Days of Christmas faculty breakfast; Madison Elementary School, Woot Woot Wagon; Horizon Holiday Market; Athens High School, Cheer Clinic T-shirts and gear booth at football game.

* Alice Lessmann, Signalink Inc. — Madison Board of Education; Bob Jones Hackathon; Bob Jones sports teams; Madison Creating Entrepreneurial Opportunities or CEO; Madison Chamber of Commerce events; Still Serving Veterans; Legacy 4 Korean War Veterans Foundation; Madison American Legion, Post 229; Liz Hurley Ribbon Run for breast cancer research.

In addition, the awards ceremony will include presentation of recipients of Community Impact Grants, also in its second year. MVP is granting $10,000 to local nonprofits for programs that will benefit Madison residents.

“One of the elements of Madison’s success is its people, and MVP thought it fitting to honor the volunteers who work every day to build community in our city,” Thornton said. “We have many people doing good and, most often, they’re the ones working behind the scenes. What better way to bring them in the spotlight than through these awards?”

In the April 2024 issue, “Madison Living Magazine” will feature visionary award finalists and winners.

Madison Visionary Awards highlight a key element in MVP’s mission as Madison’s community nonprofit. Along with large-project fundraising, MVP is working to build a network of volunteers who want to bring small projects, events and programs to Madison.

Limited sponsorships are available for the awards program.

For more information, call 256-384-4358, email Melanie.thornton@mvpmadison.org or visit mvpmadison.org.

Tickets will be sold through March 22. For tickets, visit mvpmadison.org/visionaryawards.

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