Volunteers have helped enhance the quality of life in the North Country for years, and now it's time to honor some local residents who have been recognized for sacrificing an important commodity - their time.
National Volunteer Week was celebrated in North Elba May 12 through 18 and the town and village both proclaimed that time period to be North Elba and Lake Placid Volunteer Week, when the Distinguished Volunteers of the Year were honored.
This year's winners are: in the adult category, Judy Shea; and the youth volunteer honorees are Lake Placid High School seniors Aaron Barney and Joan O'Leary. Congratulations to each of these fine citizens of Lake Placid.
Shea has an impressive list of volunteer contributions to the community. She has helped the Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service where she has served for more than 20 years on the PR, fundraising and finance committees. Among the organizations Shea has volunteered for are: the North Elba Appearance Committee for more than 10 years, the Lake Placid Tree Board for 10 years, the July 4th parade organizer for many years, the Lake Placid Center for the Arts, Lake Placid Sinfonietta, Garden Club of Lake Placid, St. Eustace Church, ORDA Advisory Group, and Village Cleanup. In addition, she has volunteered at many sporting events since the 1970s, including the 1980 Olympic Winter Games. She was also a member of the Nordic Ski Patrol at Mt. Van Hoevenberg for 10 years, helped start up and organize Tri-Lakes Lacrosse, and officiates for Lake Placid Summit Lacrosse girls division.
Barney has more than 400 hours a year of volunteer time for the Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service for the past two years. He serves on the membership and communications committees at the LPVAS and also volunteers at the Lake Placid Volunteer Fire Department. Barney's nomination stated his "dedication to LPVAS and LPVFD is most incredible for a teenager and his service hours are amazing."
O'Leary has written, organized and directed several musicals that were performed at the Lake Placid Center for the Arts to benefit children in our area. She also has volunteered at two Key Club blood drives at Lake Placid Central School, the annual Relay for Life, Lake Placid Village Clean up with Key Club and National Honor Society. O'Leary currently has 807 hours of community service.
Please make sure you give these award recipients a pat on the back and a "job well done" if you see them on the street to let them know that their efforts are very much appreciated by the community.