WASHINGTON — While she didn’t take home the national prize, Marjorie Bryan was likely in awe at the national Jefferson Awards ceremony at the nation’s capital Wednesday, surrounded by some of the nation’s best volunteers.
Bryan, 84, of Lima, won the local 2013 Jefferson Award in March, and had been sent to Washington, D.C., to represent the region in the national Jefferson Awards for Public Service.
“I am truly in a state of shock,” Bryan said in March, after winning the local award. “I am completely shocked and in disbelief being chosen over all these other great volunteers.”
Bryan could not be reached for comment Wednesday.
Her volunteerism spans more than 60 years in the region. Her primary roles now are as vice president of the Blue Star Mothers and as co-director of the Allen County Veterans Food Pantry.
She’s also has held positions with the American Legion Auxiliary, Veterans of Foreign Wars Auxiliary, Eagles Auxiliary, Women of the Moose, Navy Club Auxiliary, AARP, Red Hot Mamas, Westside Neighborhood Association, Wyngate Lunch Bunch, Order of Eastern Star and the Military Order of Cooties Auxiliary.
“Sometimes, it’s not what you do, just that you’re doing something,” Bryan told The Lima News in March. “It’s a way of life. You just keep on. … A lot of the time, you don’t have to be good at anything. You just have to be there.”
Three of her seven children have served in the military, as have two of her brothers.
After winning the local award, Bryan was awarded $350 toward her volunteer organization, and received $700 toward her trip to Washington, D.C.
Holocaust survivor and Nobel Prize winner Elie Wiesel won the national Jefferson Award for greatest public service by a private citizen. Others who were honored included the co-founder of the National Farmworkers Association and the owner of the Washington Kastles. Two U.S. Senators, Tom Coburn, R-Okla., and Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., won the award for greatest public service by an elected official.
“I think we should all give any time we can to volunteerism,” Bryan said, “Because it is such a great cause to be a part of.”