With those words, Huffman introduced the 2017 Service to Mankind Award.
The Sertoma Club of Kingsport named Abbie Saulsbury as the recipient of the award for her work as a volunteer at Small Miracles Therapeutic Equestrian Center. Small Miracles is a nonprofit organization that helps individuals with disabilities, at-risk youth and veterans through equine-assisted activities and therapies.
“We have had nominations from all walks of life; some with a lifetime of community service and some young individuals who are just starting their journeys of caring and giving. We have had nominations for people assisting needy children, abandoned animals, the mentally-challenged, the hearing-impaired, people fighting depression and the problems of old age. All of these had one common thread. Each of the nominees all wanted to make a difference in the lives of others and, as I said, to make the community and the world a better place,” Huffman said.
The Service to Mankind Award is the highest honor the Sertoma Club bestows on a non-member. The award is designed to recognize a person’s service to others in need.
Members of the Sertoma Club are unified in a single purpose: to serve our communities and improve the lives of those who need help. Sertomans’ mission and passion is to improve the quality of life for those at risk or impacted by hearing loss through education and support.
Small Miracles’ executive program director Sherri Russell said she nominated Abbie because she showed compassion, perseverance and dedication by volunteering with the Roosevelt Elementary Life Skills Class. Russell said Abbie has truly helped to empower these students who have profound special needs.
Abbie said she started volunteering at age 14 after hearing of Small Miracles’ outstanding work in the community and its mission to help others. She has volunteered there for the last four years.
“I was completely surprised to win this award,” said Abbie. “And I am thankful for Small Miracles and the Sertoma Club.” She said she is also grateful to be at Northeast State Community College where there is a strong emphasis on community and volunteering. She said that many staff members volunteer in the community and this giving spirit positively affects her each day on campus.
Abbie is a sophomore at Northeast State and has not yet decided what her career will be, but said she will always be a volunteer and would like to work in a field that helps others. She plans to continue volunteering at Small Miracles throughout her life and to always make a difference in her community.
The Sertoma Club has been in existence for over a century, and the Service to Mankind Award has been awarded each year since its origin in 1955. Past winners of the Sertoma Club of Kingsport's annual Service to Mankind Award have included teachers, scout leaders, physicians and a variety of hard-working laymen and women who have given their time and efforts in all types of non-profit organizations and community activities. The club sends out nomination forms each year to non-profit organizations and the general public asking them to nominate worthy volunteers to be considered for the award. After the nomination letters are received by Sertoma, the volunteer’s names are removed from the letters so the volunteer remains anonymous to the judges.
Small Miracles received a $250 check from Sertoma Club of Kingsport in Abbie's honor, and she was presented with a plaque for her service. Now, Sertoma Club of Kingsport will submit Abbie’s volunteer work to the Sertoma district-level competition.