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Eastern Kentucky University students, faculty and staff contributed more than 22,650 hours of volunteer service in 2016-17, with 170 individuals earning the President’s Volunteer Service Award (PVSA).

The program, which honors volunteers and promotes volunteerism, is operated by the Office of the President of the United States, the Corporation for National and Community Service and Points of Light, an international non-profit promoting volunteerism. Eastern became a certifying institution for the PVSA in 2015.

Strada photoJohn Strada, a senior lecturer in the Department of Communication, earned a President’s Lifetime Achievement Award. Through volunteer service traveling with EKU’s Alternative Break Program and 10 other trips, facilitating Merit Badge Universities for the Boy Scouts of America in Kentucky and at his alma mater of Auburn University, and serving as a national officer and chapter adviser for Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity, Strada has contributed more than 5,000 verified direct service hours since joining the EKU faculty in 2004.

Forty-five of the 170 recipients were players and coaching staff of the EKU baseball team, which earned a Gold Level President’s Volunteer Service Award in the group category. The team served 661 hours with Richmond Little League, Salvation Army, Habitat for Humanity, and Samaritan’s Feet, working to provide shoes for more than 150 area youth. Additional services by players and coaches through service learning courses and other opportunities led to members of the team serving more than 1,000 hours in the community this year.

Three EKU students received individual Gold Awards for completing more than 250 hours of service: Calvin Andries, who served as the state 4-H president; Vivian Nguyen, who volunteers as a mentor for local youth; and Cody Whittington, who actively volunteered as a member of Alpha Phi Omega, a co-ed service fraternity.

Students in two academic courses earned Silver Awards. One went to a group of accounting students who served with the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) program, assisting low-income residents, persons with disabilities, and taxpayers who spoke only limited English. The second went to a group of construction management students who, as part of their capstone course, each completed 30 hours of service with local construction-based non-profits, including the Housing Development Alliance and Habitat for Humanity.

Fourteen individual students received a Silver Award for completing more than 175 hours of service: Kaitlyn Florek, Hogan Gagle, Trent Hurt, Rachel Knoebel, Nathan Reihmer, Kaisee Riddell, Ayanna Ross, Shelby Shackelford, Abigail Spears, Catesby Spears, Marvin Stewart, Leslie Thompson, Raniesha Wassman and Sarah Winter.

The women’s basketball team earned a Bronze Award, working at Shriner's Hospital Sports Clinic and helping with the Richmond Kids Fest, among other opportunities. 

Thirty-two additional students, who each completed more than 100 hours of service individually, were honored for their work with various organizations: Kristin Alexander, Fatimah AlTawwal, Christopher Bundy, Lucinda Burkhart, Alexis Butcher, James Cole, Morgan Enix, Latrell Floyd, Brittany Fuson, Danielle Gagnon, Taylor Garrison, Katherine Grassberger, Betsy Hale, Kristine Herrera, Jacqueline Howard, Korey Hundley, Courtney Jackson, Kurnisha Jackson, Kristy Koenig, Jessica Miller, Kristin Morris, Rebecca, Moyer, Mandie Peterman, Kelsi Peters, Ciara Sandefur, John Shanley, Megan Turner, Shelia Velasco, Ashley Ware, Mahala Watts, Brigid Wilson and Chad Massingill.

group photo

Inset photo: John Strada, right, with William Keaton, assistant director, Student Life, EKU.

Bottom photo: All the winners present at a recent celebration.