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Witten named a Governor’s Volunteer Star

STAFF REPORT

NASHVILLE  — The Thirteenth Annual Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards will honor volunteers from 47 counties on February 7 in a virtual ceremony.  The awards will celebrate the efforts of 80 volunteers statewide who have strived to improve their communities through service.     

One youth and one adult volunteer were selected from participating counties to receive this prestigious award.  Nominees were judged based on the community’s need for the volunteer service performed, an initiative taken to perform the service, creativity used to solve a community problem, and impact of the volunteer service on the community. The individual awards are sponsored by Piedmont Natural Gas and Terry Silver.

Daxx Carr – Carter County Youth Honoree – Daxx is a 17-year-old senior at University High School on the campus of East Tennessee State University.
He has qualified for the TSSAA State Golf Championship twice in his high school career. When he is not playing golf, you will find him volunteering to help others in his community.
At 7 years old he began volunteering to help animal shelters, and at 8 years old asked for cash donations and presented a check to a local animal shelter in need.
He has also served as Community Service Coordinator for Wonder Images for three years. His duties include tracking, loading, and unloading all donations, as well as delivering to area organizations as needed.
In 2019, Daxx participated in the CASA for Kids, Inc. Red Shoe Gala where he donated $100 to the organization and received special recognition for wearing the Best “Red Shoes”.
Each year he participates in numerous area charity golf tournaments. He believes that serving is the most important trait a leader can have.

Shawn Witten – Carter County Adult Honoree — Shawn Witten, the 2019 Tennessee Titans Coach of the Year, received a grant in the amount of $2,000 from the Titans Foundation to benefit his football program.
Coach Witten’s selection also qualified him for the Don Shula NFL High School Coach of the Year award, honoring high school football coaches that display the integrity, achievement, and leadership exemplified by the coach with the most wins in NFL history, Don Shula.
Shawn Witten in 2016 was a Tri-Cities Dancing with The Stars STAR that benefits local charities in the East Tennessee area.
He is an outstanding coach and at his time at Elizabethton, he has created a strong program that embodies many of the qualities that are celebrated in the NFL.
Shawn gives his time to the Carter County community by assisting his brother Dallas Cowboy Star Jason Witten as he gives a free football camp to boys ages 7-18.
Hundreds of boys attend these camps to not only better their athletic skills but to learn leadership and discipline.
Shawn Witten serves Carter County with integrity.
The Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards also includes business and non-profit categories. One business and one non-profit were selected from each of Tennessee’s three Grand Regions for their outstanding community involvement and service. 
The business honorees include Comcast, East Tennessee Business Honoree; The Surgical Clinic, Middle Tennessee Business Honoree; and Terminix Holdings, West Tennessee Business Honoree. 
The business awards are sponsored by Advance Financial 24/7. 
The non-profit honorees include Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service, East Tennessee Non-Profit Honoree; Chapel Hill Lions Club, Middle Tennessee Non-Profit Honoree; and Thistle and Bee, West Tennessee Non-Profit Honoree. 

Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service – East Tennessee Nonprofit Honoree — The mission of Senior Citizens Home Assistance Service (SCHAS) is to improve the quality of life for the elderly, persons with disabilities, and their caregivers by providing accessible care and supportive services in 18 East Tennessee counties.
CHAS has always utilized volunteers in its assisted living, affordable housing, and in-home caregiving programs.
However, the need for services became greater with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.
SCHAS started a shopping program in March 2020 to allow older adults to remain safely in their homes and still receive food, cleaning supplies, toiletry items, pet food, and non-prescription drugs.
Through the SCHAS website or by phone, a person can order and purchase essential items. Volunteers then pick up the items and deliver them to the home of the client.
In 2020, approximately 75 volunteers completed more than 5400 hours of service.
The program has also expanded to serve younger adults with compromised immune systems. Many of SCHAS low-income clients have seen their budget go further due to the assistance of SCHAS staff and volunteers.
The non-profit awards are sponsored by Friends of Volunteer Tennessee.

Comcast – East Tennessee Business Honoree – Comcast Corporate Volunteers perform various types of volunteer hours, serving many organizations throughout Eastern Tennessee.
Each year, Comcast sends out a request for projects to better understand community needs that employees can help to address.
Comcast launched the Comcast RISE Program is a multi-year commitment to provide marketing, creativity, media, and technology services to Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC)-owned small businesses.
Comcast’s Internet Essentials Ambassadors has worked hard during the pandemic to ensure that students, older adults, and BIPOC populations have the tools and knowledge to be able to connect and thrive through times of isolation.
During the NASCAR Xfinity Series race at Bristol Motor Speedway, Comcast celebrated the U.S. military and salute Comcast military employees from across the company that is working to keep communities safe and connected.
As part of the race-day celebrations, Comcast awarded a $30,000 grant to five community colleges in East Tennessee that have been designated as Veteran Education Transition Support (VETS) campuses by the Tennessee Board of Regents.
“Each year, 1.6 million Tennessee volunteers give more than 137 million hours of service, contributing the equivalent of $3.3 billion to Tennessee’s economy. By giving of their time and talents to fulfill needs that would otherwise go unmet, they embody the spirit of giving,” said Volunteer Tennessee Executive Director, Jim Snell.
NewsChannel 5 weekend anchor, Jennifer Kraus, will serve as emcee for the event. A recording of the virtual awards will be available on Volunteer Tennessee’s website www.volunteertennessee.net on February 9.
Volunteer Tennessee coordinates the Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards at the state level. Volunteer Tennessee is the 25 member, a bipartisan citizen board appointed by the Governor to oversee AmeriCorps and service-learning programs and to advance volunteerism and citizen service to solve community problems in the Volunteer State.