Originally published in Island Ad-Vantages, August 8, 2019
Island Community Center honors volunteers
Island Community Center Director Jeannie Hatch, left, presents Bobbi Billings with the 2018 Volunteer of the Year award.
On Monday, July 29, the Island Community Center did double duty as it launched its first volunteer banquet and held its annual auction fundraiser. Volunteers snacked on a buffet and listened as Stuart Kestenbaum shared with the group about the kindness of the community.
According to a news release from ICC, the idea of a banquet began two years ago as a small thank you for the individuals who made a lot of effort to keep programs and activities happening.
The board of trustees read through several nominees and chose Laurie Hutchinson as the first Volunteer of the Year in 2017. Hutchinson is the leader of the Wednesday Lunch program, and “has proven her flexibility through the many changes this program has been through over the last few years,” the release stated.
Bobbi Billings was chosen as 2018’s Volunteer of the Year. As a founding member, Billings has been a part of the Island Community Center from the start. Although she is no longer serving as a board member, she continues to offer help behind the scenes for many fundraisers. Additionally, Billings is the “driving force” behind the Center’s yearly effort to raise funds for Camp Kooky.
Each woman was presented with an engraved acrylic star thanking her for her service. Their names were attached to a perpetual plaque that will hang at the Island Community Center.
The rest of the evening featured bidding wars for Patsy Boutillier’s famous cream puffs, Santa’s Village tickets and many other auction items. The center raised over $11,000 thanks to the generosity of area businesses and donors. Auctioneer Renee Sewall utilized humor to encourage bidders to raise their paddles and give to the center. During the reverse auction, Ryan Hayward, Stonington’s Fire Chief, presented ICC Director Jeannie Hatch with a check for $350. Hayward explained that department raised the money through the “Fill the Boot” campaign held during Fishermen’s Day.