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Virginia Living Museum honors Volunteers at Annual Banquet

September 13, 2017 – The Virginia Living Museum (VLM) honored 144 volunteers during a banquet dinner at the Museum on Friday, August 25, 2017. The evening also acknowledged Cardinal Club Inductees, hourly and yearly volunteer milestones and the highest volunteer honor, The Gloria Lombardi Award for Volunteer Excellence.

In the 2016-17 fiscal year, 494 volunteers gave a total of over 40,331 hours of service. The evening’s theme was “We Relish Our Volunteers!” with a picnic/grill-style dinner including a S’mores bar and watermelon for dessert.

Opening remarks by Shandran Thornburgh, Volunteer Services Director, started the evening’s commemorations.  Executive Director Rebecca Kleinhample and President of the Board of Trustees, Brad Patten also addressed the crowd expressing appreciation for the many volunteer hours and the value that the volunteer corps gives to the Virginia Living Museum daily.

“This support collectively represents the biggest annual gift to the Museum and our mission – a gift valued at over $850,000.  We are unique and so very fortunate,” stated Executive Director Kleinhample.

All of the volunteers were recognized, including 500 and 750 hourly awards, departmental awards, 1000+ hourly awards, yearly milestones, Cardinal Club Inductions, and the Gloria Lombardi Award for Volunteer Excellence.

This year’s Gloria Lombardi Award for Volunteer Excellence went to Vicky Lippolis.  The Lombardi Award is given for sustained and significant service to the museum; a lifetime achievement award. This year’s recipient is diligent with her schedule and volunteers at least three days a week. Vicky has been a volunteer for more than 20 years, as animal care support including exercising animals in the playground. She has contributed 3,823 hours of service.

The VLM also recognized Claire Hubbard as the Museum’s first 30-year volunteer.  Claire has performed many volunteer roles, including animal care and enrichment, special events, and interpreting in many permanent and changing exhibits. There are few volunteer tasks she has not undertaken in her three decades of service.

This year, Elaine Whittaker was inducted into the Museum’s Cardinal Club. The Cardinal Club was started in 2009 and is an elite group who has been with the Museum 20+ years or has 5,000 or more hours. The Cardinal is a magnificent bird; said to symbolize hope, joy, health, rejuvenation, and celebration.

Those interested in joining the VLM as a volunteer should visit thevlm.org or call 757-534-7428. The museum is located at 524 J. Clyde Morris Blvd., Newport News, I-64, exit 258A.

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