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2024 Servant’s Heart Volunteer Award honorees for Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley announced

The 2024 Servant’s Heart Volunteer Award honorees

We are blessed to share that the 2024 Servant’s Heart Award Honorees have been announced by Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley. Nominations are accepted each March from Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley staff members; however, the award is not always given out during National Volunteer Week each April. These are truly Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley volunteers who have given hundreds of hours of service or in a way that is so uncommon that it should be recognized. Initially awarded in 2006, to recognize volunteer Barbara Clark who volunteered at the Mission while terminally ill, the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley Servant’s Heart Award is being presented to the following eight honorees in 2024.

Congratulations to the following eight volunteers who have been awarded the once-per-lifetime Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley Servant’s Heart Award in 2024.

Susan Blake – Canfield, Ohio

Let’s celebrate and give thanks to the Lord for Susan Blake, a remarkable volunteer who has dedicated her time and talents to making a difference at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley! Susan’s journey began as an art teacher, and her passion for photography led her down a beautiful path. For the past 25 years, Susan has been capturing precious moments through her lens. Now residing in the Mahoning Valley, she selflessly volunteers her skills to benefit others. As a professional photographer with MAD Flash Photography, Susan brings her expertise and creativity to the shelter, transforming it into a vibrant photo studio. Her commitment goes beyond snapping pictures; she meticulously edits each image, ensuring that our guests receive priceless memories. Susan’s generosity knows no bounds. Despite her professional status, she has never charged the Mission or its guests for her services. Her heartwarming dedication has touched many lives. Guests have marveled at their first-ever professional family portraits, thanks to Susan. Her nominee aptly describes her as a humble God-fearing woman, reflecting the heart of God in all she does. We are truly blessed to recognize Susan Blake and give all glory and honor to God for the gift of her volunteer efforts at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. 

Jessica Emaus – Korsholm, Lansi-Suomen Laani, Finland

Let’s celebrate and give thanks to the Lord for Jessica Emaus, a remarkable volunteer who has come full circle at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley! Seventeen years ago, Jessica traveled from her home in Finland to Youngstown, Ohio, where she embarked on a volunteer internship at the Mission. Her commitment was unwavering, and she served with her whole heart. In 2006, Jessica’s internship experience left a lasting impact. She challenged herself to return someday and witness the Mission’s growth. Fast forward to 2024, and Jessica fulfilled her promise. This time, she brought her husband and two children along for a month-long volunteering stint at the Mission—entirely at her own expense. The Mission welcomed Jessica and her family with open arms, exemplifying the spirit of compassion and selflessness that defines their work. Jessica’s story is a testament to the power of empathy and service. Her willingness to return after all these years speaks volumes about the lasting connections forged at the Mission. During her time here, Jessica served in various capacities, from helping in the kitchen to answering phones and assisting in the women and family’s department. She even led a Vacation Bible School (VBS) session on the topic of Creation for the children staying at the Mission. Her dedication and heartwarming service remind us of all the impact one person can make. Thank you, Jessica, for embodying the true spirit of volunteerism! We are truly blessed to recognize Jessica Emaus and give all glory and honor to God for the gift of her volunteer efforts at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. 

Angela Grymberg – Girard, Ohio

Let’s celebrate and give thanks to the Lord for Angela Grymberg, a dedicated volunteer whose impact resonates far and wide at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley! Angela consistently goes above and beyond, embodying the true spirit of service. Recently, Angela took on the significant responsibility of organizing our children’s storage room, introducing much-needed organizing bins. This well-organized space now enables our staff to efficiently serve our guests and meet their needs. Angela’s commitment extends beyond mere organization; she ensures that donations are stored, ready for distribution when needed. But Angela’s contributions don’t stop there. Her initiative-taking approach shines through as she brings necessary supplies to complete any task. She’s a problem-solver, always ready to lend a hand where it’s needed most. Moreover, Angela actively fosters community connections for our mission. Her family business plays a vital role in our events, and she volunteers at our annual fundraisers—the Dinner Event and the Point 5K. Her willingness to go the extra mile makes her an invaluable asset. We are truly blessed to recognize Angela Grymberg and give all glory and honor to God for the gift of her volunteer efforts at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. 

John Keenan – Youngstown, Ohio

Let’s celebrate and give thanks to the Lord for John Keenan, a dedicated volunteer who has become an integral part of the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley’s kitchen! John’s commitment and selflessness have made a significant impact on the Mission and its daily operations. Mostly volunteering during breakfast hours, John’s presence benefits the kitchen staff. By assisting with various tasks, he frees them up to focus on other essential responsibilities. Since 2022, John has consistently volunteered three days a week, demonstrating his dedication to serving those in need. What sets John apart is his remarkable attention to detail. He actively monitors the online serving schedule and notices when new volunteers sign up. When he spots a new name, he takes it upon himself to volunteer alongside them. John becomes their guide, showing them where things are kept and ensuring they feel comfortable in their role. Beyond the kitchen, John’s heart extends to the clients. His genuine care for their well-being shines through. And most importantly, he loves the Lord, embodying the spirit of compassion and service. Thank you, John, for your selfless contributions and for making a difference in the lives of those served by the Rescue Mission! We are truly blessed to recognize John Keenan and give all glory and honor to God for the gift of his volunteer efforts at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. 

Bill & Therese Olesky – Boardman, Ohio

Let’s celebrate and give thanks to the Lord for Bill & Therese Olesky, who have been faithfully serving at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley since 2018! Their selfless dedication and musical talents have left a lasting impact on the Mission and its guests. Every month, Bill & Therese create a special set of hymns and songs to share during the Sunday morning Chapel Service. This service is particularly important because many of the guests staying at the Mission lack transportation or are unfamiliar with the area, so they are unable to attend a church service. The Mission provides this chapel service as an option until guests can find their own church community. Having musicians like Bill & Therese truly makes the service extraordinary. Therese’s angelic voice and guitar skills complement Bill’s technical expertise. Bill runs the sound system and PowerPoint, ensuring that our guests can actively participate by singing along. Their commitment goes beyond their musical talents—they connect personally with the guests, making them feel valued and welcomed. Bill & Therese bring their own equipment each time they volunteer, demonstrating their genuine care for the Mission and its mission. When they arrive, their energy and enthusiasm are contagious. They lead the clients in heartfelt songs, lifting their spirits and creating a sense of community. The words on the screen allow everyone to join in, and Bill ensures that the technology runs smoothly. Bill & Therese Olesky exemplify the spirit of compassion and service. Their willingness to share their gifts and connect with others is a beautiful testament to the power of music and community. Thank you, Bill & Therese, for making our Sunday mornings truly special! We are truly blessed to recognize Bill & Therese Olesky and give all glory and honor to God for the gift of their volunteer efforts at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. 

Chuck Parry – Austintown, Ohio

Let’s celebrate and give thanks to the Lord for Chuck Parry, who has been a steadfast supporter of the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley for years! Chuck’s commitment and selflessness have made a significant impact on the Mission and the lives it touches. Chuck’s journey began in the reception area at the Mission’s former location. Over time, his dedication expanded, and he now also contributes to the Men’s office a few Sundays each month. His reliability is commendable, and he willingly steps up to cover the office when staff members need to attend important meetings. But Chuck’s service doesn’t stop there. He has been a valuable presence at the Canfield Fair, where he staffs the Mission’s booth. His willingness to say “yes” whenever the Mission asks for help exemplifies the true spirit of volunteerism. Beyond his practical contributions, Chuck’s love for the Lord shines through. His inspiring example encourages others to follow suit. Thank you, Chuck, for your unwavering support and for being a beacon of light in our community! We are truly blessed to recognize Chuck Parry and give all glory and honor to God for the gift of his volunteer efforts at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. 

Marge Pollock – New Springfield, Ohio

Let’s celebrate and give thanks to the Lord for Marge Pollock, a dedicated volunteer who has made an indelible impact at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley! For many years, Marge has faithfully served every Wednesday in the development department, contributing her time and skills to support the Mission’s vital work. During busy times, Marge assists with processing gifts and meticulously entering data. Her commitment to excellence ensures that crucial tasks are managed efficiently. She seamlessly fits into the team, understanding exactly what needs to be accomplished. She has generously devoted 320 hours of her time, selflessly giving back to the community over the years. Her dedication to the Mission’s ministry and the needs of those it serves is truly commendable. Her nominator aptly describes her as a great honoree for a special award. Marge’s dedication and friendship have left a lasting impact. She embodies the spirit of compassion and service that defines the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. Thank you, Marge, for being a beacon of light and making a difference! We are truly blessed to recognize Marge Pollock and give all glory and honor to God for the gift of her volunteer efforts at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. 

Gayle Whetson – Austintown, Ohio

Let’s celebrate and give thanks to the Lord for Gayle Whetson, who has been a champion for the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley since 2006! Her steadfast dedication and selfless spirit have made a significant impact on the Mission and the lives it touches. She has generously devoted 550 hours to the development department, ensuring that crucial tasks are managed with excellence. Her commitment to accuracy and efficiency has been invaluable. But Gayle’s contributions extend far beyond data entry and gift processing. She is a creative force at the Mission. She designs and installs beautiful centerpieces at our Annual Dinner Benefit, adding a touch of elegance to the event. During the Canfield Fair, Gayle volunteers in our booth, engaging with visitors and spreading awareness about the Mission’s work. She also plays a sweet role—passing out donuts at our Annual Point 5k and hosts an annual Easter party for the children staying at the shelter. Crafting, goodies, and joy—it’s a celebration of hope and love. Gayle’s kindness extends to the Mission staff as well. She arrives with seasonal gifts, brightening their days and showing appreciation. Her willingness to use her gifts and talents to bless others exemplifies the true spirit of volunteerism. Thank you, Gayle for all you do – one selfless act at a time! We are truly blessed to recognize Gayle Whetson and give all glory and honor to God for the gift of her volunteer efforts at the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley. 

Past Servant’s Heart Award Honorees: Barbara Clark (2006), Keith McCombs (2009), Debbie Smith (2009), Dandy Hewitt (2009), Edith Jackson (2013), Tom & Danielle Gregory (2013), David Wyant (2013), Sharon Sanders (2013), Gary Reel (2013), Brian Simpson (2013), Dorothy Grappo (2013), Cal Gungle (2013), Rick Blair III (2016), Madison Goske (2016), Kristi Schmitz (2016), Becky Long (2016), Sharon Moser (2016), Sandi Love (2016), Jacci Bradley (2016), Jo Anne Brashen (2022), Beth Miller (2022), Ginny Teneyeck (2022), Marissa Volpini (2022), Debbie Yurchison (2022), Gayle Whetson (2024), Marge Pollock (2024), Chuck Parry (2024), John Keenan (2024), Angela Grymberg (2024), Jessica Emaus (2024), Susan Blake (2024)

For more information about the Rescue Mission of Mahoning Valley Servant’s Heart Award, please call 330-744-5485 to contact Lynn Wyant, CFRE Chief Development Officer X503 or Greta Magazzine, Volunteer Coordinator X513 or email 2ndchance@rescuemissionmv.org

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