Chesterfield Community Champions
The Chesterfield Community Champions (CCC) awards recognizes Chesterfield County residents and organizations whose volunteer service activities benefit the community.
Chesterfield Community Champions 2022 Awardees
First awarded in 2020, CCC has returned for 2022! The 2022 awardees are:
- Youth: Tanner Ridley-Smith
- Teen: Andrea Farag
- Adult: Candy Cecil
- Senior: Norman Robinson
- Group: CARITAS Clothing Closet Crew
- Organization: New Life United Methodist Church
From left: CARITAS Clothing Closet Crew representatives, New Life United Methodist Church representatives, Tanner Ridley-Smith, Norman Robinson, Candy Cecil and Andrea Farag.
Youth 2022 Awardee - Tanner Ridley
Tanner Ridley-Smith volunteers as a junior historical interpreter at Henricus Historical Park. He is dedicated to paying homage to our Chesterfield ancestors. Thousands of annual visitors and students benefit from the programming offered by Henricus and Tanner is playing a very valuable role in this mission at just 12 years old.
Teen 2022 Awardee - Andrea Farag
Andrea Farag carries the Virginia 4-H brand with pride and is passionate about making the organization one that feels inclusive and welcoming to all youth. Andrea's work has focused on empowerment of teens to create safe spaces to carry out dialogue on several key social justice issues. She volunteers at least 20 hours a month to her work with numerous local and state committees, in addition to an average of 500 hours a year at events such as Virginia 4-H State Cabinet, 4-H State Congress and Virginia 4-H Teen Summit.
Adult 2022 Awardee - Candy Cecil
Candy Cecil has overseen National Association of Women in Construction (NAWIC) members' giving to Yeshua's House residents since 2016. Yeshua's House residents are women and children who are recovering from abuse and in financial transition. She supports The Doorways, a nonprofit that provides a home-like room and food at no cost to family members who need to stay close to a loved one in a Richmond hospital. She started one of the first monthly lunch/meal programs there utilizing volunteers from her church. Candy also serves as the secretary on the Board of Richmond Friends of the Homeless.
Senior 2022 Awardee - Norman Robinson
Norman Robinson volunteers as a Chesterfield Master Gardner. He devotes his talents and time to selflessly serve our community, his fellow volunteers and the mission of Master Gardeners. His efforts empowered people to undertake projects that connected Master Gardeners to volunteer opportunities and each other, beautified our county, and created an educational space where we can all live, work and play.
Group 2022 Awardee - CARITAS Clothing Closet Crew (From left: Stephanie Krupa, Mary Beth Modena and Nancy Malatesta)
CARITAS Clothing Closet Crew, which consists of members Stephanie Krupa, Nancy Malatesta and Mary Beth Modena, spend their volunteer hours assisting the participants in the CARITAS Works program. They help prepare men to enter the workforce with the proper attire which helps the participants exude confidence. These three volunteers have selflessly devoted more than 10 years and more than 1,050 hours each preparing donated professional clothing, which includes sizing, steaming and arranging.
Organization 2022 Awardee - New Life United Methodist Church
New Life United Methodist Church has actively supported and completed 14 senior home service projects over the years 2019-2021, providing labor, material and support for disadvantaged Chesterfield senior citizens. They actively search and provide assistance to Chesterfield senior citizens who are in need. The impact is immeasurable, as each assistance opportunity has had a large impact to the individuals served.
Chesterfield Community Champions 2020 Awardees
- Youth: Austin Smoyer
- Teen: Angel Campbell
- Youth Group: Girl Scout Troup 603
- Adult: Jessica Lynch
- Senior: Ray Walsh
- Group: Chesterfield Police Department Chaplains
- Organization: Asian and Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central Virginia
Youth 2020 Awardee - Austin Smoyer
For eight years, Austin has planned and organized food drives for FeedMore Since he understands the importance of every family having access to food to feed their families, he works hard creating and distributing flyers, and collecting food from community members, community organizations and his school. His drives take place in December and he delivers the food to FeedMore right before Christmas. In 2019, Austin collected 2,019 pounds of food which fed 1,682 families.
Teen 2020 Awardee - Angel Campbell
Angel Campbell has served as a lead mentor for two years in Green Spring Foundation’s outreach program, Sound Experiences. As a serious music student (who made her debut at Carnegie Hall at the age of 14), Angel uses her talents to give back. Through this program, she provides tuition-free, multi-day-a-week music lessons at Boys and Girls Clubs, which provides 25 youth with otherwise unattainable arts opportunities and life-changing experiences. Angel teaches with great dedication and compassion, models musical excellence and life skills, and been a champion for her students.
Youth Group 2020 Awardee - Girl Scout Troup 603
This troop has completed several silver award projects with the Virginian Retirement community, including making two raised flower beds for wheelchair accessibility, building new horseshoe pits, and regularly calling bingo and donating prizes for the games. Their other projects include participating in the James River Advisory Council’s annual cleanup, painting murals at a local hospital and church nursery, making rain barrels and a "little free library" at the Manchester YMCA. Last year, the girls also started a Girl Scout Family Fun Day for scouts across the region that was so well received that it has become an annual event. Since the Girl Scout directive is for activities to be girl led, every activity the girls completed was based on a need that they identified and determined how best address it.
Adult 2020 Awardee - Jessica Lynch
In 2018, Jessica began volunteering with Chesterfield County 4-H and has made a significant impact in that time. She serves as a club leader, contributes as a volunteer to a second 4-H club, and supported programming efforts for summer day camp and library educational workshops. She is an innovative leader, bringing fresh perspectives from her experiences in 4-Hin another state. Jessica identified homeschool families as an underserved population and recognized that 4-H is a way to help bridge homeschoolers to more social and educational outlets. Using social media and connections to a homeschoolers group, she connected with more than 60 families, and identified the need for programs offered during the day. She gathers feedback from families and youth to help guide the club’s focus and activities, and has successfully built a network of parent volunteers. In 2019, she contributed more than 600 hours of volunteer time. She is dedicated to helping shape the next generation of leaders and helping them be good citizens.
Senior 2020 Awardee - Ray Walsh
Ray Walsh is a retired senior with has a passion for chess, which he has shared by volunteering to teach classes 20+ years. He teaches free after-school chess clubs at various schools from November-May. Ray provides his expertise, all materials and trophies for 30 students. He also donates time to teach an adult classes at the Chesterfield County Public Library. Ray teaches anyone who is interested in chess and he shows up with a smile on his face and excitement in his voice. Ray’s goal is not to find the next chess prodigy, but to expose kids and adults to the game, teaching the basics and the tactics needed to be an effective player. He also teaches students etiquette and sportsmanship which transfers to everyday life. Ray has enabled more than 1,000 kids to learn chess in the past 20 years. He never expects to be recognized or compensated for sharing his skills, he just loves the game.
Group 2020 Awardee - Chesterfield Police Department Chaplains
These chaplains serve an essential role as they connect with community members and CCPD staff to meet their spiritual needs. Their presence often makes a big difference when they are on the scene for suicides, homicides and many other incidents, listening to and comforting families and friends, which enables officers to perform their duties. They freely provide their volunteer services even though the personal impact can be substantial. When on call, they do not go anywhere because they must be available at all hours, for any amount of time. They also provide counseling, training to recruits in the police academy, and give the blessings for numerous events including Police Academy Graduations, Senior Hall of Fame ceremony, award and appreciation dinners. The chaplains include: Tom Brown, Kenneth Cornett, Melissa Fallen, Johnnie Fleming, Franklin Gillis, Gerald Glen, Randy Hahn, Travis Jones, Wynne Lankford, Lee McConnel, Ken Ruppar, Kevin Skellett, Larry Thompson, Larry Tingle, David Turner and David Watts.
Organization 2020 Awardee - Asian and Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central Virginia
The Asian and Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central Virginia (ASLACV) was created to advance common objectives impacting the Asian and Latino communities in Central Virginia. To that end, its members participate in, and encourage, collaborative efforts to enhance the work of numerous community organizations, partners and support groups. They advocate for immigrant and multicultural communities, help to address issues and identify and develop community leaders. Last year, they partnered with Chesterfield County’s to create My Chesterfield Academy, an orientation and leadership development program for immigrant and multicultural communities. These communities represent more than 15% of the county’s population and almost eight percent are foreign born. The 18 academy graduates, who represented more than 10 countries, not only increased their knowledge and understanding of county services but also developed valuable relationships between the county, other service providers and multicultural communities.