WINTERSVILLE - Seven individuals in six categories were honored Friday at the Urban Mission Ministries' annual volunteer luncheon.
The Hawaiian-luau themed event took place at the Wintersville United Methodist Church, where volunteers put on lays and straw hats and gathered to share in the celebration.
Each year, hundreds of individuals, businesses, churches and groups donate their time, talent and resources to the Urban Mission in order to benefit the community, said Linda Smith, program director and volunteer coordinator for the Urban Mission.
ANNUAL LUNCHEON — The Urban Mission Ministries’ annual volunteer luncheon was held Friday at the Wintersville United Methodist Church, where seven individuals in six categories received awards for their service. The Hawaiian-luau themed event honored, from left, Ed Holmes, the Rev. Sharon Miller, the Rev. Jim Clark, Larry Remp and Virginia Whately. Barb Marcinko and the Rev. Nicholas Halkias also received awards. - Jeremy Kins
"This luncheon is the best and only way for our staff to say thank you to our volunteers," said Smith.
The awards recipients were Barb Marcinko, female volunteer of the year; Ed Holmes, male volunteer of the year; the Rev. Sharon Miller and the Rev. Jim Clark, quiet servant awards; Larry Remp of Steubenville Trucking, business of the year award; the Rev. Nicholas Halkias of Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Church, church of the year award; and Virginia Whately, executive director's award.
Marcinko and Halkias were unable to attend the event.
Smith said more than 18,000 hours were donated in 2011 at the Urban Mission, which aids approximately 1,700 registered area families. The agency provides help through food distribution, shelter and supportive housing for families, medical services, clothing and school supplies to those in need, as well as worship services and the J.O.S.H.U.A. work mission program, which allows volunteers to assist in repairing homes of low-income families.
"The (volunteers) gave their hearts and it doesn't matter if someone gave one hour or a few hundred, we couldn't do it without them," Smith said.
The luncheon began with opening remarks from the Rev. Ashley Steele of the Urban Mission and Smith, who spoke to the greatness and variety of their volunteers.
Continuing in this year's theme, the Lord's Prayer, sung in Hawaiian, was played prior to the buffet of themed food.
The blessing of the meal was performed by the Rev. Toni Hubbard.
"It's just many people doing small things to make this work," said Remp. "It's just a joy to help others."
"I love to preach to them and feed them. I'm fulfilled by that and it's the Lord's call for my life," said Clark.
In addition to the awards, officials with the FirstEnergy W.H. Sammis Power Plant in Stratton presented a check donation to Smith and staff for $3,325.48. The amount was raised through various events held at the plant, according to FirstEnergy employee Julie Kireta.
"It's wonderful to give back to people in need through the Urban Mission," said Kireta.
"It's amazing to be down at the Urban Mission. They are just the nicest, kindest people and to be able to help out was a great thing for me. I would do it again," said Whately.