By Laurie Whitermore
“Volunteer” is defined in the dictionary as a person who performs or gives his services of his own free will, and as a cultivated plant growing from self-sown or accidentally dropped seed.
Can you think of an individual who continually plants seeds that blossom into positive contributions in our community?
The Chautauqua Region Community Foundation offers you the perfect opportunity to recognize such a giving person. Nominate your “unsung hero” for the Axel W. Carlson Award.
Axel W. Carlson was born on a humble farm in Sweden in the early 1890s. In his youth, he not only learned farming skills but also acquired the carpentry skills that sustained him after he immigrated to the Southern Tier when he was in his teens.
Carlson worked hard all of his life, saving and investing his money wisely. He was always helping people in need but never looked for reward or recognition. He passed away on November 3, 1981, leaving a substantial portion of his estate to assist charitable organizations in the community.
He recognized the value of institutions in the community that served religious, scientific, literary, social and educational purposes that created quality of life and enjoyment of home.
In 1985, a portion of the Axel W. Carlson Fund was set aside to honor individuals who serve their community. The award demonstrates appreciation for individual efforts to make the community the best it can be, without expectation of honor or financial gain.
When evaluating the nominees, the selection committee looks for an individual whose contributions have had a measurable impact on the community. He or she has really “made a difference” and possesses an ongoing commitment to volunteer service.
The individual may not have received any previous recognition for the same contribution. The award is open to an individual of any age residing primarily in the Southern Chautauqua County area.
Each recipient of the Axel W. Carlson award receives $1,000, which is given as a $500 gift to the award recipient and a $500 gift to his/her favorite charity.
Frances P. Marra was the 1997 award recipient, honored for her contribution to the creation of A Children’s Place and service to Joint Neighborhood Project. A great deal of her energies have also been directed to the United Way where she was head of the retirees/special gifts and speaker’s committees.
We have many individuals in our community who volunteer their time and efforts to enhance the quality of life in Chautauqua County. We would appreciate your assistance in helping us find a most worthwhile recipient.
Applications are available at the Community Foundation, 21 E. Third Street, Suite 301, Jamestown; or call 661-3390.
The deadline for application is March 15.