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Oxford, University of Mississippi Celebrate Volunteer Week

This week is the time for all the volunteers to shine! It is the National Volunteer Week and of course Oxford volunteers may be doing a good bit of work this week.


Volunteer Oxford is naturally busy this week. According to Sarah Ball, director of Volunteer Oxford, events planned for the organization are a pantry food drive, a Memory Makers project and a McLean Institute project in Quitman County. Just this past Sunday, Volunteer Oxford teamed up with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers at Sardis Lake to help clean up the shoreline.

Ball said, “This is the first (lake clean up) for Volunteer Week. We have partnered with the Corps of Engineers of Sardis Lake for a Make a Difference day project last year.”

Seven volunteers, all representing Starbucks, joined the Sardis Lake park rangers that Sunday.

Chris Gurner, Sardis Lake park ranger, said, “Litter is an ongoing problem along many areas of shoreline where some litter is thrown out and some is washed up as the lake fills up in spring or is drawn down in late summer. We are thankful for volunteer groups like this who give time to make the lake a more beautiful place for all to enjoy.”

On April 14, the McLean Institute for Public Service and Community Engagement at the university has awarded the 2015 Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award, the university’s highest honor, to student-athlete D.T. Shackleford and Darryail Whittington. Chancellor Dan Jones was honored with them Tuesday afternoon at the Celebration of Service at the Inn at Ole Miss.

Albert Nylander, McLean Institute director, said, “Recognizing and celebrating service is crucial to the mission of the McLean Institute, which supports transformation through service. The Sullivan Award is an opportunity to honor students and community members who have made our community a better place because of their humble service to others.”

University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones, student Deterrian Shackelford and alumnus Darryail Whittington were named 2015 recipients fo the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications
University of Mississippi Chancellor Dan Jones, student Deterrian Shackelford and alumnus Darryail Whittington were named 2015 recipients fo the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award. Photo by Robert Jordan/Ole Miss Communications

This Wednesday (today) the volunteers helped Memory Makers. The Memory Makers is a nonprofit organization that helps those with early or middle stages of dementia and their caregivers.

The American Red Cross of North Mississippi is recognizing the volunteers for their hard work at a special volunteer appreciation event this Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. at Oxford-Lafayette Chamber of Commerce. Laura Martin, project manager at University of Mississippi McLean Institute for public service and community engagement, is the featured speaker. Red cross volunteer Lindsay Miller will present his SAF Mission Moment and Kelly Jo Fuller, assistant executive director of the Mississippi State Veterans Home in Oxford, will discuss an overview of collaborative efforts with the Red Cross Service to the armed forces.

Patty Tucker, executive director of the American Red Cross of North Mississippi, said, “Our volunteers respond to house fires, teach lifesaving skills, support our military members in the community and much more. They help us fulfill our lifesaving mission every day and help us prevent and alleviate human suffering in the face of emergencies.”

More than 1,900 people serve with the Mississippi Red Cross with over 77,136 hours donated in support of the Red Cross’ mission. Last year, Red Cross volunteers responded to 1,551 single and multi-family fires and helped 2,619 households. These volunteers helped families with their emergencies such as finding a comfortable place to stay, hot meals and drinking water, and replacement medicine and eyeglasses. Red Cross volunteers here have trained 10,538 people in lifesaving skills and helped nearly 1,500 local military members and their families. They also donated 10,460 units of blood. Certainly they are being recognized this Friday.

Cynthia Armstrong, regional volunteer services officer, said, “Our volunteers have generously donated their time in service to others through the Red Cross. Now it’s our turn to give back to our wonderful volunteers who have given so much.”

On that same Friday the volunteers are encouraged to take initiative and choose where they want to volunteer. Check with Volunteer Oxford for opportunities. The city’s participation of National Volunteer Week will end in Quitman County this Saturday. The McLean Institute will have a project: a map mural with Rebel Global Connections in Quitman County. The university students will join international students and K-12 students at Lambert to paint a large map.

Laura Martin, project manager at McLean Institute, said, “The map mural with Rebel Global connections is a great opportunity for people to come together to share cultural exchange. National Volunteer Week encourages people to seek out imaginative ways to engage their communities. The map mural project brings together University of Mississippi students, international students and K-12 students from Lambert. The very nature of the project, painting a map of the world, facilitates problem-solving, teamwork and opportunities for cultural exchange. Thanks to participation of our international students and UM students who have studied abroad, these projects truly bring the world to Mississippi and Mississippi to the world.”

Truly Mississippi has lived up to its reputation as the Hospitality State.

Callie Daniels is a staff reporter at HottyToddy.com. She can be reached at callie.daniels@hottytoddy.com.

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