Chesterfield Community Champions
The Chesterfield Community Champions Awards recognizes Chesterfield County residents whose volunteer service activities benefit the community.
The winners of the Chesterfield Community Champions Awards are:
Youth – 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 – 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 – Girl Scout Troop 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 – 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 – 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 1,000kids 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 – 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 – Asian and Latino Solidarity Alliance of Central Virginia
The Asian & 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 percent 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.