During a public reception on Monday at St. Mary of Lourdes Parish, Ann Walsh of Mayville was presented the 2018 Axel W. Carlson “Unsung Hero” Award by the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation.
For over 40 years, Walsh has dedicated her time to helping others throughout the Mayville community. When her children were young, she spent time helping with their activities, such as, Girl Scouts, Boy Scouts, school programs and vacation bible school.
“My volunteering began from a church group that was started from St. Mary’s,” Walsh explained. “Every week we were given three name of people that we could visit in the nursing home. It was wonderful to see how happy the people were when they realized we came just to see them.”
Today, as a mother, grandmother and great-grandmother, Walsh spends her time volunteering with St. Paul’s Church Thrift Shop, Mayville Food Pantry, St. Vincent Society and St. Mary of Lourdes Parish.
“(The St. Vincent Society) has a private phone number that people can call for help of any kind,” Walsh said. “It is amazing to me how many people call and how generous our community is to make it possible to help so many.”
However, the group Walsh spends the most time with is the Altar and Rosary Society at St. Mary’s.
“We take care of the altar (in the church), prepare bereavement breakfasts or lunches after funerals if necessary and also host the Christmas Bazaar, which is the biggest event to raise money for flowers and other items,” she said.
According to Judy Parker, who nominated Walsh for this award, Walsh is the embodiment of community service in action.
“I have known Ann since 1995 and have found her commitment and dedication to the citizens of Mayville, young and old, remarkable,” Parker said.
In addition to a plaque commemorating her achievements, Walsh received $1,000 for herself and $500 to be awarded to a charity of her choosing.
Walsh decided to split the award between the Chautauqua County Humane Society and St. Vincent Society at St. Mary of Lourdes Parish.
“(Ann) has built a legacy of faith in loving and caring for others, through her example of selfless community service that will live on for generations to come,” Parker said.
For 33 years, the Axel W. Carlson “Unsung Hero” Award has been presented annually to residents of the Southern Chautauqua region who have made significant contributions to their community through their efforts while neither receiving, nor expecting, reward or recognition.