The Butch Damson 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award goes to
Jerry & Edna Deener!The first Volunteer of the Year was Butch Damson in 1990. Butch Damson exemplified the following characteristics: tireless and selfless giving for the good of the Garden; passion for the Garden and the future of the Garden; and willingness to make anything happen in order to benefit the Garden. These criteria defined all subsequent Volunteer of the Year honorees.
This extraordinarily dedicated couple exemplifies the very best of volunteerism in the Garden community, and is truly deserving of the 2012 VOY recognition.
Both Edna and Jerry retired from careers in government service about five years ago and have been volunteering at the Garden ever since. Together as a team or individually in a specific area of interest, they have worked in nearly every activity available to volunteers at the Garden. So far in 2012, they have contributed almost 1200 hours of work at the Garden.
The Cutting Garden is one of the Garden activities that has benefited from their hard work and commitment. They have been part of this Garden project since its inception about five years ago. They are there in heat, humidity, cold and rain to plant, weed, deadhead, stake, tend and harvest flowers for use in Garden events. They have been the most loyal “constant gardeners” - taking it upon themselves to fill vacant shifts, meet unforeseen needs such as tornado damage, or last minute cuttings for events in need of flowers. They have altered their personal plans and even delayed tending to their own tornado repairs to help out in the Cutting Garden.
For the last three years, they have chaired the very popular and important hot Chocolate and Cookie activity during Galaxy Walking Nights. This is an enormous undertaking requiring extensive advanced planning and organization, ordering, volunteer recruiting and serving thousands of walkers during galaxy Walking Nights. They donate about 14 long days of very physical labor in November on this activity alone. Since they have taken on “Hot Chocolate”, they have made huge improvements in offerings, service, efficiency and economy. This has resulted in a wonderful experience for Galaxy visitors, and financial profit for Galaxy. Already this year, in order to save money for Galaxy, they have traveled to Tennessee to secure hot chocolate mix at the most economical price. In 2011, they postponed their much anticipated golfing vacation in order to cover the Public Walking Nights.
The Deeners have selflessly devoted much of the last five years to improving both the Garden and the visitor’s experience in the Garden. Quietly, competently and kindly, these volunteers have made invaluable contributions in nearly every activity at the Garden.
Congratulations to Edna and Jerry!