LIMA— It was a night when everyone involved was winner.
But someone had to be chosen, and Marjorie Bryan was the overall winner of the 2013 Jefferson Award for outstanding volunteer service to the community.
Bryan, who is co-director of the Allen County Food Pantry and vice president of the Blue Star Mothers, was more than ecstatic when her name was announced in front of a packed house inside the City Club on Tuesday night. Bryan was joined by many friends and family in expressing happiness and joy when her name was called, and Bryan was initially at a loss for words following the announcement.
“I am truly in a state of shock,” Bryan said. “I am completely shocked and in disbelief being chosen over all these other great volunteers.”
Bryan, at the young age of 84, has a laundry list of volunteer services which span over 60 years. One of her more memorable feats was a parachute jump last summer at Allen County Airport, an event she organized to raise money for the Blue Star Mothers and its charitable work.
One of eight finalists vying to be recognized as the Lima area’s local winner, Bryan now will embark on a journey to Washington, D.C., to represent the area at the national award ceremony in June.
Tom Thompson, staff representative at the United Way of Greater Lima, was one of nine judges on the Jefferson committee. He said it is very hard for any individual to stand out in a field such as this but believed Bryan had many outstanding qualifications that warranted her selection.
“We look for obstacles the volunteer has to overcome as well as the importance one plays in their community roles,” Thompson said. “Marjorie is very engaged, has her hand in many different services and shows a commitment to her community that makes an incredible impression on people.”
One of the many individuals in attendance to show support for Bryan was Sandy Johnson, who nominated Bryan for the award. Johnson, who jumped with joy and exclamation after hearing Bryan’s name announced, was very proud of Bryan for her accomplishments and sees this award as a way to highlight all the outstanding work she has done.
“I am very happy and excited for her knowing all that she does for her organizations and this community,” Johnson said. “She has served as an inspiration to many, including myself, and I will always thank her for all her hard work and dedication.”
Each Jefferson Award winner is awarded $350 toward his or her volunteer organization and Bryan receives an additional $700 in order to attend the national event in Washington. Alberta M. Lee, retired Allen County commissioner, believes in the spirit of volunteerism and is the sole sponsor of the cash awards given to the volunteers. Lee said this group of individuals is very special to her and appreciates all the work Bryan and others have done for the community.
“There is a tremendous amount of work being contributed by individuals who choose to volunteer an extra time they have,” Lee said. “They do work you can’t pay someone to do, and Bryan is a great volunteer chosen to represent our community.”
Bryan said she was very honored and humbled to be a part of the ceremony, and greatly appreciative of being chosen as the overall winner.
“I am very excited and in disbelief to be standing here chosen as the winner of the Jefferson Award,” Bryan said. “I think we should all give any time we can to volunteerism because it is such a great cause to be a part of.”