Youth Volunteers of the Year Awards Alexandra Wallace and Samantha Corbin

Presented by Lisa Unger January 15, 2011

As I look into the audience tonight I see many faces of people who have given their time as volunteers.  These folks get up early on Saturday mornings whether it’s hot, cold, raining, or worse.  They come out to help us, the runners, enjoy a quality event. 

These regular volunteers come out for a wide variety of reasons.  Some do it because they are nursing injuries and want to stay connected.  Some do it to support and participate with a runner who is an important person in their lives.  Some do it just for “fun”.  One thing that most of them have in common is their age.  Most of our regular volunteers are people who have matured in adults who realize the value of willingly giving back to the community.  

Tonight I am here to honor two volunteers that break this mold.  These two young ladies could probably list 100 things to do on a Saturday morning that do not include getting up before dawn and standing at a finish line waiting for runners to arrive.  I think it’s a pretty safe bet that most of their peers would not be willing to get up to volunteer at a race.  It’s hard to find a teenager willing to get up to babysit for a morning race–where all they have to do is snuggle on the couch and watch cartoons–let alone getting them out of the door to work!  But these two young ladies are regularly seen doing just that. 

We have two recipients of the Youth Volunteer Award and they are both equally exceptional.  To give them each the individual attention they deserve, I will tell you a bit about one of the girls and present her award, and then about the other girl and present her award.

The first Youth Volunteer of the Year recipient is a 13 year old young lady.  She is frequently seen at finish lines and at water stops.  In addition to assisting the runners, this young lady is also a mentor and positive example to even younger girls.  By adding a humorous dimension to her volunteerism she encourages other youngsters to join in and help.  She pioneered the “head waters” method of water table assistance at the 2009 Miller Landing Madness when she taught the other youngsters to place the cups of water on their heads for the runners to grab as they passed.  I know that element of “fun while helping” that this recipient brought out is what kept my own young daughter focused on the job.  In 2010 this recipient volunteered at a minimum at these races:  Stomp Out Diabetes, Tulip Trot, Run for Wakulla Springs, Breakfast on the track, Coach Mike’s Run for the Kids.  Whew!  That’s a lot of races and I’m getting tired reading them, but I’m not done.  She was also at the Miller Landing Madness, Salmonole, Prefontaine, Pine Run, Women’s Distance Festival, FSU Cares and the 10/5 Mile Challenge.  At these races she has learned how to handle all aspects of the finish line from serving as backup timer to handing out finish cards.

That’s one busy girl.  And that’s why tonight I am pleased to present the first 2010 Youth Volunteer of the Year Award to Alexandra Wallace.

The second Youth Volunteer of the Year is a 17 year old young lady who has established herself as a proficient user of the computerized timing system at area track and cross country meets.  She has become an essential asset at the Summer Track Series where we also conduct the Summer Grand Prix.  The summertime sprint heats are sometimes so closely contested that only the computerized timing system, with its capability to produce exact lane placement and finish times, can decide the order of finish.  The printed placement “heat sheets” that this recipient produces provide the most accurate scoring basis that the Summer Grand Prix has even had.  Some of you probably remember back to the Tim Simpkins days where we signed up on a clip board and then went back and filled in our time—or what we thought was our time.  Now, thanks in large part to this Junior Volunteer of the Year, as long as the runners stay in their lane–and remember which lane they used–we know each finish time for sure.

This individual has also volunteered at many local road races and worked very hard on Thanksgiving morning at the Turkey Trot donation collection site.   She is an all around remarkable young lady who truly enjoys what she does for other athletes.  That is why a 2010 Youth Volunteer of the Year Award is presented to Samantha Corbin.