News Release
March 21, 2023


Volunteer Mississippi Announces 2023 Governor’s Initiative for Volunteer Excellence Awards Recipients

JACKSON, Miss. – Volunteer Mississippi, the Mississippi Commission for Volunteer Service, announced today the 2023 Governor’s Initiative for Volunteer Excellence (GIVE) Awards.

“As First Lady and Honorary Chair for the Commission for Volunteer Service, I look forward to partnering with Volunteer Mississippi to honor these outstanding Mississippi volunteers,” said First Lady Elee Reeves. “Mississippi is comprised of selfless individuals who are committed to bettering our communities and lending a helping hand to our neighbors in need.”

The GIVE Awards celebrate the exemplary service of Mississippi’s most dedicated citizens. This award program presented by Volunteer Mississippi, in partnership with the Governor’s Office, recognizes and honors the valuable contributions of some of Mississippi’s extraordinary citizens while inspiring others to follow their example.

“The story of volunteerism in Mississippi is about service as a way of life,” said Monica Ritchie, Volunteer Mississippi executive director. “It’s about leadership in our schools, workplaces, and communities. It’s about results. Statewide volunteers and national service members are getting things done and making a difference for our children, our seniors, our veterans, and our military families.”

2023 GIVE Awards recipients will be honored at a special luncheon beginning at 10:45 a.m. on April 18, 2023, at the Old Capitol Inn in Jackson, with First Lady Elee Reeves and special guest Steve Azar, the official Music and Culture Ambassador of Mississippi.

2023 GIVE Awards Recipients

First Lady’s Youth Volunteer Rising Star Award: Isabelle Karns, Ellisville

The Marsha Meeks Kelly Award for Lifetime Achievement in Volunteer Service: Rosie Lee Harris, Columbus

Volunteer of the Year Award: Krisi Nash Boren, Amory

Volunteer Family of the Year Award: Pastor Michael and Arlelia Maybell, Hollandale

Volunteer Family of the Year Award with Children: Haley Caulder and Family, Ripley

Corporate Volunteering Champion Award: Horne, Ridgeland

Service-Learning Champion Award: Mannsdale Upper Elementary School Leadership Academy, Madison

Innovation in Volunteerism Award: We Will Go, Jackson

Excellence in Disaster Volunteerism Award: Ken Wetzel, Biloxi

National Service “Make a Difference” Award: Amber Willis Hayes, Quitman

Veteran “Hero in Service” Award: 5th Squad, Brandon

Honorable mentions will be acknowledged in five of the 10 GIVE Awards categories for their service and given a certificate of appreciation.

Volunteer of the Year Award Honorable Mentions: Ashton Hotard, Vicksburg; Deborah Clay, Columbus; Monica Bradshaw, Edwards; Aisha Erma Lenora Saffold, Durant

Marsha Meeks Kelly Lifetime Achievement Award Honorable Mention: Cole Smith, Jackson

Volunteer Family of the Year Honorable Mention: Lloyd W. Massey, Aberdeen

Innovation in Volunteerism Award Honorable Mention: Stronger Together Oxford, Oxford

Excellence in Disaster Award Honorable Mention: New Horizon International Church Ministries, Jackson

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Media Contact:
Corie Jones
Deputy Director | Public Relations Director
601-624-0850 | Cell
601-432-6261 | Office 

Mary Margaret Alexander-Stennett
Communication Officer
601-432-6224 | Office

GIVE awards 2022