The 2012 Hope Awards, sponsored by Emory & Henry College’s Appalachian Center for Community Service, were presented on April 16 in the Board of Visitor’s Lounge on campus.
Coming within days of the first anniversary of the 2011 tornadoes that swept across Washington County, the 12th annual Hope Awards ceremony honored the groups and individuals that helped in the hours and days immediately following those storms, and those who have been instrumental in the long-term recovery effort.
Dr. Ed Damer received the Hope Award for an Emory & Henry faculty member.
For forty years, Dr. Damer has worked on behalf of the Abingdon Rotary Club. Due in large measure to his work and commitment, Abingdon Rotary was able to offer sustained and substantive assistance with tornado recovery. The Rotary Club’s support of the food and clothing distribution center in Glade Spring in the days and weeks following the disaster bears witness to the hard work of many people, including Dr. Damer, to make sure that the organization can serve this place in good and hopeful ways. The resources that he has helped make available through the annual Frolics, have helped with the building of Habitat houses, the installation of a computer technology center in the Meadowview Community Center, and in the ongoing work of dozens of organizations and initiatives throughout Washington County. In large measure, the availability of those resources is due to Dr. Damer’s commitment and creativity.
The Hope Award for an Emory & Henry student was presented to Nikki Lynn.
Nikki is driven by her passion to serve and to help. She has given expression to that passion in her work on behalf of Habitat for Humanity to ensure that those left homeless in the tornado have appropriate housing. Her work with the Collegiate Challenge 2012 brought dozens of college students from across the nation to this area to help with recovery. Habitat for Humanity is the most recent iteration of her commitment to service. Throughout her four years at Emory & Henry, there are scant instances in which she has not worked long and hard for the good of others. APO, the community garden, Highlands Project, the Emory & Henry Tutoring Program, Cardboard City, Take Back the Night, World AIDS Day, MLK Day of Service and Service Plunge, are just a few examples of the dozens of ways each year that Nikki makes clear her hope and vision for a more just social order.
The Facilities Management Team received the Hope Award for Emory & Henry Staff.
In the hours and days immediately following the storms of April 2011, the Facilities Management staff used college equipment and their own supplies to clear away debris, to move the thousands of fallen trees, and open roadways for emergency personnel, making possible the first efforts at recovery. On the morning of April 28, members of the Emory & Henry Facilities Management Team were among the first on the scene and they remained there for hours and days at a stretch. Those members of Facilities Management, who were on campus, took on extra responsibilities so that those helping in the immediate relief work could focus on that effort. For the volunteer mobilization, emergency shelter, and command center established here on campus, members of the Facilities Management Team were tireless in the logistical support they provided. Together they demonstrated what it means to be neighbor and friend, and what it means to work for hope when the storms assail us.
The Hope Award to a Community Organization was presented to members of the Washington County Long-Term Recovery Group (LTRG). In the days following the tornadoes, the formation of a collaborative group of organizations and individuals was a watershed moment. With its twenty plus member organizations, the LTRG has made possible the review of more than seventy homes to determine eligibility for assistance in rebuilding or rehabilitating the structures, provided more than five hundred volunteer hours, and rebuilt, repaired, or rehabilitated forty-nine homes. Through its case management work, LTRG has assisted 225 families. As important as the work itself, the long-term recovery work bears witness to the people of this place, building on a common commitment to the work of hope.