ON TUESDAY, OCTOBER 1ST, the St. Paul Town Hall was the scene of the Clinch Valley Times 2019 Community Volunteer of the Year Award celebration. This year’s award recipients are members of the Johnson Memorial Food Pantry. The pantry was recently renamed in honor of Denver and Clara Johnson, whose efforts were part of the pantry’s genesis many years ago before its subsequent relocation to the St. Paul First Baptist Church.
As the years unfolded, there have been many volunteers of note at the pantry. One whose name immediately comes to mind is the late Arlie May Hilton. It would take paragraphs to explain what Clara and Arlie May did for this community. Today, their efforts are remembered and continue to inspire others.
During Tuesday’s award presentation, each lady was given a white rose. In the language of flowers, a white rose symbolizes “purity,” an appropriate word to describe the intent of the food pantry volunteers.
Next, a bouquet of pink roses was presented to pantry volunteer, Janie Horne. In the language of flowers, pink roses symbolize gratitude and appreciation, as well as elegance and grace. This month, Janie will be 90 years young. On Tuesday mornings, she’s at the pantry doing her part – just as she has done for years. She informed me that the best way to stay young is to help others.
A plaque honoring the volunteers’ outstanding contribution to the community was accepted by Cindy Merrick on behalf of the group. Then it was time to really get serious by enjoying refreshments, good conversation, and having some good laughs. But first Rev. Kevin Richardson of the St. Paul United Methodist Church led us in a prayer of thanks.
In addition to the Johnson Memorial Food Pantry, two other organizations in our immediate area are combating food shortfalls: the Roger E. Jessee Community Food Bank in Castlewood, and Neighbor’s Aid in St. Paul. Our three food banks rely in part on community support. If you’d like to make a donation of non-perishable food, any of the these organizations would appreciate it.
NOTE: Special thanks to the Town of St. Paul for making the public meeting room of the Town Hall available, and to Debbie Baca, who graciously assisted us with the presentations.