With the start of National Volunteer Appreciation Week April 16 to 22, Franklin County is recognizing and celebrating the invaluable contributions of volunteers in the community.
For the past 13 years, Franklin County has been dedicated to honoring Volunteer Week with proclamations submitted to various local and state governments by John Solomon, director of the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce and himself an avid volunteer.
This year, Governor Ron DeSantis has joined in the recognition by proclaiming April as National Volunteer Month in the state. “Volunteers are the backbone of all our communities; without their selfless dedication of time and talents to help those in need, our communities would not thrive,” said Solomon. “Seeing our local and state government take the time to express gratitude to these extraordinary individuals is truly significant. Volunteers do not seek recognition or praise, and that’s what makes them so special.”
Solomon kicked off the week April 15 with the presentation of the second Nancy Hodgson Lifetime Volunteer Award posthumously to Bud Hayes, one of the community’s most dedicated volunteers who passed away earlier this year. The award is named in honor of Hodgson, a former employee of the Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce known for her exemplary volunteerism.
Hayes’ wife, Gen was on hand at Saturday morning’s Boat & Car Show to accept the award on her late husband’s behalf.
“We extend our heartfelt gratitude to all those who generously give their time and efforts to make our community better, and we encourage others to get involved in volunteering as well,” said Solomon. “We express our sincere appreciation to the Franklin County Commissioners, Apalachicola and Carrabelle city commissions for their proclamation of National Volunteer Week in Franklin County and to Governor Ron DeSantis for taking it a step further by proclaiming April as National Volunteer Month in the State of Florida.”
National Volunteer Week, established in 1974, has grown over the years, with thousands of volunteer projects and special events scheduled throughout the week. Volunteers have a significant financial impact, saving organizations an average of $29.95 per hour on a national average and $27.68 in the state of Florida.