By Maria Lorensen - Special to The Journal , The Journal
WINCHESTER, Va. - Eight outstanding volunteer fundraisers, including a youth philanthropist and the area's individual philanthropist of the year, were honored for National Philanthropy Day on Friday.
The Tri-State Chapter of the Association of Fundraising Professionals recognized 20 volunteers from West Virginia and Virginia at its annual philanthropy day celebration at Millwood Station. About 150 members of the nonprofit community, businesses and area public officials gathered for a luncheon to congratulate the award winners.
"Is this not the best day?," said AFP Tri-State Chapter President Jenny Grooms. "Aren't these people amazing?"
Among the winners were Mitchell Bartoldson, the recipient of the first-ever Youth in Philanthropy Award, who said he was humbled to be recognized. He was nominated by Chris Johnson from Panhandle Home Health.
"As a philanthropist, it's not always about the funds raised by the talents and treasures you uncover along the way," Johnson wrote in Bartoldson's application.
Bartoldson, a senior at Martinsburg High School, volunteers for many community organizations such as the American Cancer Society, United Way of the Eastern Panhandle, the Good Samaritan Dinner and C-CAP Loaves and Fishes food pantry.
Ray Alvarez, recognized as the individual philanthropist of the year and nominated by Shepherd University, couldn't attend the ceremony. In a videotaped interview, he said he was thrilled to receive the award and appreciated the work done by the professional fundraising group. Alvarez, a Shepherd alumna, has been grateful for the support given to him by the college (now a university) during a difficult time in his life.
In 1958, Professor Charles Printz helped Alvarez secure $100 in financial aid for tuition. In 1962, Alvarez graduated from Shepherd with a degree in business administration.
After retiring from Honeywell in 1998 and moving back to the area, Alvarez has made it his personal goal to give back to the school that gave him so much.
"Ray is just an amazing person - so incredibly generous not just to the school but to so many other organizations," said his nominator Niccole Rolls. "The community is grateful."
Other distinguished fundraising volunteers attending the event include David Asam, nominated by Hospice of the Panhandle; Steve Cox, nominated by Martinsburg-Berkeley County Public Libraries; Michelle Harlow, nominated by Panhandle Home Health; Paul "Soupy" Hillyard, nominated by Shepherd University; Gail Moxley, nominated by the Martinsburg Rotary Club; and Susan Snowden, nominated by University Healthcare Foundation.
Each distinguished volunteer was given a medallion and a certificate. WINC-FM morning radio personality Barry Lee read a brief description of each volunteer who was recognized. The volunteers were described as dedicated, devoted, loyal, compassionate and creative.
"This was such a wonderful event," said Martinsburg mayor George Karos, who also attended. "To see what these folks do for all these nonprofit organizations - it's just great. They are really making a difference. People in the Eastern Panhandle should be very proud."