Urban gardener, Badin student, PROTOCOL honored for volunteer efforts

Hamilton’s annual volunteer dinner will celebrate the work of an urban gardener, a high school student, and a group of neighbors who have each dedicated personal time and effort to improving their community.

Alfred Hall, executive director for nonprofit Hamilton Urban Garden Systems, will receive the Volunteer Of the Year Award at a dinner and ceremony April 28, according to Hamilton’s volunteer coordinator Karen Wittmer.

A Vietnam War veteran, Hall has aided in creating several urban gardens in Hamilton’s neighborhoods, including one for residents at Dayton Lane Gardens, in the North End neighborhood, at several city schools, and will also help create a local food hub on south Front Street. He is also involved in or has been involved in the Lindenwald Civic Association, the Historic Hamilton Farmer’s Market, the Sense of Place Committee, German Village Farmer’s Market, Operation Pumpkin Committee, Market on the Plaza, the Tree Board, and more.

“Being named volunteer of the year is very humbling,” Hall told the Journal-News. “Every volunteer, no matter how many hours they volunteer, or what cause they support, are worthy of the praise and admiration of all the citizens of Hamilton.”

“I have been blessed to have been supported by many businesses, organizations, institutions and Hamiltonians,” he continued. “Without their support I would not be receiving this honor.”

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Jackie Noelker, a junior at Stephen T. Badin High School, will receive the Youth Service Award for her volunteer work at the Community Meal Center at the Presbyterian Church of Hamilton — where she organized and served Christmas dinner to between 250 to 300 people this past winter — and at the Residence at Huntington Court nursing home.

“I am surprised and very excited (to receive the award),” the junior class president said. She was recently voted to serve as president of Badin’s Student Council next year. “The individuals who I was up against last year for the award, I was so inspired by them, but they also went above and beyond with their work. So I didn’t expect to get this award at all.”

Lindenwald’s PROTOCOL (People Reaching Out to Others: Celebrating Our Lindenwald) group will receive the Community Service Award for their efforts in bringing the southern neighborhood together through monthly meetings and initiatives like the Benninghofen Park sprayground as part of the city’s 17Strong Initiative.

“It is the citizens of Lindenwald to whom the award truly goes,” said Frank Downie, co-chair of PROTOCOL with James Brown, who credited the talents and time of his neighbors for the award. “When the opportunity arose three and a half years ago via the Sense of Place Initiative, our residents understood the value of engaging with each other in this revitalization effort … They know what they would like to accomplish and are not hesitant to put their ideas into actions.”

The annual volunteer dinner is a gathering of all the city’s volunteers to celebrate individual’s accomplishments. The private event will be held April 28.

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