CivicPlus® Donates Over $1 Million to Recognize Local Heroes

On behalf of The National Association of Counties, National Volunteer Fire Council, National Association of Towns and Townships, Points of Light, and Main Street America, CivicPlus is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award program.

CivicPlus® is pleased to recognize and award all of this year’s winners with total prizes, including cash awards, valued over $1,000,000. We would like to thank the Barton Russell Group for administering the program and judging the nominations.

“We need difference-makers in our communities now more than ever. It is an honor to support and recognize these organizations and volunteers and their relentless commitment to civic philanthropy and activism.”

– Brian Rempe, CivicPlus Chief Executive Officer




$10,000 Recipient + Free CivicCMS Website

National Award Winner

Rebecca Ketchum, Volunteer

Norridgewock, ME

Years of Service: 10

As President of the Norridgewock Historical Society, Becky has led the organization to expand its services to the community, reach out to young people, and preserve vital collections. Becky is active in the Village Improvement Society, Somerset Grange and the Oosoola Days planning committee. Ready to help, she has become a fixture on many committees: TIF Committee, Planning Board, Cemetery Committee, Library Trustees, and the Budget Committee.

Rebecca Ketchum

$7,500 Recipient + Free CivicCMS Website

First Runner Up

Brian Shoemaker

Brian Shoemaker, Fire Captain, Councilman

Gilt Edge, TN

Years of Service: 7

Brian was the driving force to raise the Fire Department’s training standards to include nationally recognized certifications. He has personally secured numerous certifications for firefighting, fire instructor, emergency medical responder (EMR), EMR instructor, and CPR instructor. Brian donates countless hours of community service in addition to his staff training and emergency duties. Brian also volunteers as a Councilmember and the town’s Vice Mayor.

$5,000 Recipient + Free CivicCMS Website

Second Runner Up

Tammy Hutchinson

Tammy Hutchinson, Hartwell Main Street Design Committee Chairwoman

City of Hartwell, GA

Years of Service: 10

Tammy has been a Main Street volunteer for the last 10 years but has served this community her entire life; her involvement includes the Main Street Design Committee (chair), Downtown Development Authority and Promotions Committee.  Tammy just doesn’t lead projects, she leads people, and believes totally in the development of talent to bring about positive change.  She has organized projects for Veteran’s Memorial park, Constitution Alley, Scarecrow Contest and the Mayor’s Monster Mash.

Small Town America Civic Volunteer Award Winners

All winners, including our top three, receive a free CivicCMS website by CivicPlus with built-in volunteer subsite.

Addison, NY
Hal Sisson

Amity, OR
Melissa Bradley

Bristow, IA
Bristow Betterment Committee - Diane Buss, Joyce Fenneman, Nancy Rieken

Caldwell, KS
Vision Caldwell

Calera, OK
Brian Norton

Canisteo, NY
Canisteo Community Support Group

Cardington, OH
Gary Goodman

Cascade, IA
Cascade Garden Club

Castle Rock, WA
Castle Rock Blooms

Cheboygan, MI
Dale & Connie Rieger

Clarendon, NY
Clarendon Lions Club

Clarkesville, GA
Historic Clarkesville Cemetery Preservation, Inc.

Clayton, AL
Camellia Garden Club

Clayton, DE
William R. "Skip" Carrow II

Clifton Forge, VA
Gayle Hillert

Clintonville, WI
Shane Krueger

Cooperstown, WI
Susan Kornely

Corinna, ME
James Louder

Cowan Volunteer Fire Department, IN
Fred Current

De Leon, TX
Terry Scott

Dry Ridge, KY
Greg Brockman

Durand, MI
The Three Musketeers of Twinkle Lights

Edenton, NC
Edenton Cares (Neighbor to Neighbor Program)

Elm Mott Fire Rescue, TX
Casey Perry

Ennis, MT
Mary Sedwick

Factoryville Borough, PA
Factoryville Fire Co. Station 9

Falls City, OR
Jeremy Gordon

Falls City, OR
Dani Haviland

Garden Ridge, TX
City of Garden Ridge Water Commission

Gaylord, MN
Patricia Ruffing

Goodrich, MI
Angie Adamec

Gouldsboro, ME
Rebecca Okeefe

Grant County, OK
Dea Mandevill

Grant Park, IL
Debra L. Morgan

Gunnison City, UT
Justen Mellor

Heath Springs, SC
Dr. Zora Denson

Heflin, AL
Heflin Main Street

Humboldt, KS
Nobby Davis

Jemison, AL
Eddie Reed

Johnson Creek,, WI
Jim Braunschweig

Kittitas County Fire District #1, WA
Paul Sadesky

Laurelville, OH
Joe Eveland

Lee Township, MI
Reverend Steppney Black

Lee Township, MI
Albert L Rawson

Lewes, DE
Murt Foos

Lisbon, OH
Debbie Richards

Loretto, KY
Beautify Loretto, Inc.

Madison, GA
Madison Cemetery Stewardship Commission

Mancelona, MI
Donna Deverney

Marlinton, WV
Katie Workman

Marquette Charter Township, MI
Michael Springer

Middleville, MI
Michael Bremer

Milan, NM
Tomasita DeSoto

Milford Township, PA
Charles Drummond

Minerva, OH
Stan Pennock

Mitchell, GA
The Mitchell Springfest Planning Committee

Morocco, IN
Robert Gonczy

Mountain Ranch, Railroad Flat, Glencoe, Sheep Ranch, CA
Lee Williams

Nanty Glo, PA
Municipal Authority of Nanty Glo

New Jasper Township, OH
New Jasper Township Fire Department

Newcastle, WY
Linda Hunt

Newkirk, OK
Hannah Cross

North Belle Vernon, PA
Robert J Sokol

Pearson, GA
Brian Schotsch

Pilot Mountain, NC
Christy Craig

Pinedale, WY
Tyler Swafford

Pittsboro, NC
Main Street Pittsboro

Platteville, WI
Gary Munson

Port Barrington, IL
John Grothendick

Ravenna, NE
Peg Dethlefs

Readfield, ME
Lee Mank

Ripley, WV
Roberta Paula Ferrell

Roland, IA
Andrew Webb

Roseboro, NC
Shawn Hobbs

Round Lake Heights, IL
Veteran's Memorial Park Committee

Roxbury, CT
Roxbury Conservation Commission

Rutherfordton, NC
Jim Masek

Salisbury, CT
All First Responders in Salisbury

South Amherst, OH
Cemetery Board of Trustees

Spring Lake Heights, NJ
Howard Rockhill

Spring Township, PA
Beaver Springs Volunteer Fire Company

Stanley, NC
Stanley Fire Department

State Center, IA
Rose Festival Board

Sykesville, MD
Stacy Link

Tilton, NH
Katherine Dodge Dawson

Unicoi, TN
Unicoi Volunteer Fire Department

Warren, CT
James Schultz

Washington, CT
Dimitri Rimsky

Weyauwega, WI
Frank Zaboj

Wheatfield Township, MI
Violet Lentz

Wheelock, VT
Sheffield-Wheelock Volunteer Fire Department

Wilmington Township, PA
Dan Kennedy

Windsor, VT
Bob Haight

Witt Volunteer Fire Department, IL
Don Keiser

Wrightstown, WI
Gene Van De Hey

Yountville, CA
Yountville Arts

Zolfo Springs, FL
Wendell G Smith

Watch Our Virtual Award Ceremony


Featured Volunteerism Stories

While we’d like to feature every community and their stories that were shared during the nomination period, we decided to feature a few of their stories here. We have been touched by stories of volunteers who are defying their age (young and old), who donate their time and love to their communities and who are always looking to the future. We honor them by sharing just a few of their stories here.

Newkirk, OK
Special Recognition to the Youngest Award Winner

Nominee: Hannah Cross, Volunteer, Age 13

Capacity: Volunteer

Years of Service: 3 years

Hannah Cross, who has a creative approach to revitalization challenges, has demonstrated that no matter your age, everyone can make an impact in their community. Hannah gives full credit to Newkirk citizens, who incredibly support young people and their ideas. Her vision started with a simple map (that she created in July of 2017 for a 4H project for the local fair), and has compounded into a full-blown Pathway Project encompassing 7 unique components. These components include beautiful crosswalk art, bicycle path, Newkirk bike share program, Newkirk Story Walk, Pathway Day event, Fitness Path and grant and a Safe Routes to School path.

Wheatfield Township, MI
Special Recognition to the Oldest Award Winner

Nominee: Violet Lentz, Age 97

Capacity: Cemetery Sexton, Planning Commission Secretary, Chairman of Elections, Assistant to Clerk

Years of Service: 74 (Yes, that is correct)

When I hear the word "volunteer", an image of Mrs. Violet Lentz immediately comes to mind. At 97 years "young", she continues to serve our township like no other….. She immediately started volunteering in the township cemeteries and continues as the role of Sexton…. and Violet continues to serve as Chairman of Elections for the past 74+ years.  Violet has been an asset to her community throughout her entire life and truly inspires others with her dedication to her community.

Ravenna, NE

Nominee: Peg Dethlefs EMS Captain/Firefighter

Capacity: Paramedic, EMS Captain, Fire Captain, Mayor

Years of Service: 30+

Peg Dethlefs is more than a Paramedic for the City of Ravenna, her caring spirit and giving heart makes her one of a kind. Peg’s every essence portrays the core value of what EMS is all about, from respect to excellence.  Her caring stretches far and is also the Mayor, Asst. Fire Captain and local School Bus Driver.

Grant Park, IL

Nominee: Debra L. Morgan

Capacity: Trustee/Volunteer/President of GP Garden Club/ President of Grant Park Foundation/ Member of Grant Park Chamber

Years of Service: 7.5

Deb first ran for trustee as she described it because “you can complain about something, or you can jump in and try to make a difference.”  She started reading and working with others to come up to speed…… she wrote grants, raised money from residents and produced some of our crown jewels in town.

Clintonville, WI

Nominee: Shane Krueger, Fire Chief

Capacity: Volunteer Fire Chief

Years of Service: 23 years

Chief Krueger has worked tirelessly to improve the department and better protect our community as a whole……the fire protection program is where he truly went above and beyond when he managed to work out a schedule with his full-time employer that allowed him to be off at least one day a week to complete the fire inspections. He even used some of his vacation days from his employer to conduct fire inspections.

Donaldsonville, LA

Nominee: Juanita Pearley

Capacity: Donaldsonville DDD Commission / Main Street Board of Directors

Year of Service:  10

She is the most reliable and engaged volunteer on ANY project she is asked to assist and in nearly all cases, she is the "unspoken" chair or director of many subcommittees. She has often says, "just put my name down on any list; you don't need me to sign up; I'll be there and I'll handle whatever needs to be done."  Juanita Pearley focuses on a simple philosophy; "is it the right thing to do for our community?"

Lisbon, OH

Nominee: Debbie Richards

Capacity: Debbie co-chairs the Lisbon Chamber Beautification Committee/Downtown, Christmas Decoration Committee.

Years of Service:  4+

Some people talk about volunteering. Debbie actually volunteers and gets the job done. Debbie has contributed greatly to improving Lisbon’s image, which has in turn helped in our economic revival and turnaround. Foot traffic has increased; new businesses have opened, creating jobs. Debbie’s group also started a “yard of the month” award, which has led to friendly competition among the village’s gardeners, and encouraging people to take care of their properties.

Newcastle, WY

Nominee: Linda Hunt

Capacity: Member of Museum District Board and Weston County Historic Preservation Board

Years of Service: 30

Linda Hunt has been an exemplary contributor to the City of Newcastle and the surrounding area for many years. She has been active in providing the community with 'quality of life' interest……. She obtained grants and donation from local organizations, businesses, and individuals……She has provided education for the community in their history.

Mountain Ranch, Railroad Flat, Glencoe, Sheep Ranch, CA

Nominee: Lee Williams

Capacity: Volunteer Fire Lieutenant

Years of Service:  31

There is no greater volunteer than Lee Williams, he is an example of the kind of volunteer every agency hopes to have.…. Lee Williams was every year the volunteer that responded to the most calls…..he can be seen teaching CPR to all the nurses and any community members that ask. He consistently does this as a volunteer for the community. He is so dedicated to his community that he has purchased CPR manikins with his own funds to teach with.

Edenton, NC

Nominee: Edenton Cares (Neighbor to Neighbor Program)

Capacity: Edenton Cares was created by Edenton Town Councilman, Roger Coleman with assistance from Councilman Craig Miller.

Years: Edenton Cares was formed in March 2020 to assist vulnerable residents in remaining healthy during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Many residents do not have internet access and others, out of fear, remain isolated in their homes. To assist these people, an organization of volunteers was brought together by Town Councilman Roger Coleman to form Edenton Cares. This group then undertook a door to door campaign distributing information on the coronavirus to all 2,200 homes in Edenton as well as to other towns throughout the county. This effort became known as the “Neighbor to Neighbor” program because of its focus on having neighbors look out for one another. The focus of the program was three-fold: providing relevant information to assist people in staying connected; helping people care for themselves; and encouraging people to look out for others.

Middleville, MI

Nominee: Michael Bremer

Capacity: Village of Middleville Downtown Development Authority member, Thornapple Township Supervisor

Years of Service: 8+ years

Middleville would be hard pressed to come up with another volunteer that has given more of themselves than Mike Bremer. His service spills over traditional volunteer service lines. From youth, school, business and church volunteer, he is truly our community’s “super-hero volunteer”! . He believes that, “Good government has its roots in the people, so our goal is to help and serve.”

Garden Ridge, TX

Nominee: City of Garden Ridge Water Commission

Capacity: Advisory Body to the City Council

Years of Service: Varies

This Commission is composed of six (6) Garden Ridge citizens selflessly dedicated and passionate about their volunteer capacity as an advisory body to the City Council. The exceptional leaders of this Commission have truly inspired citizens to become more involved in the community and to share their talents to influence positive change…..The Commission has taken the initiative to create a framework promoting citizen engagement that will have a lasting impact throughout our community and make our small town truly “A way of life, not just a place to live”!