Awards Season

Others Will Carry On

Each October, the Virginia Department of Social Services Office on Volunteerism and Community presents the annual Robert E. Wone Award for Exemplary Service. 

Last year, congratulations went to Candice Nunnally, the third winner of the award that was:

“Established in memory of Mr. Wone, the award will recognize an exemplary AmeriCorps member who has exhibited the same dedication to community service and civic engagement as did Mr. Wone, who served on the Governor’s Commission on Community and National Service. 

He was a tireless activist and volunteer who advanced the interests of many charitable organizations.  He provided many hours of pro bono legal service to help others and was instrumental in establishing the Virginia Service Foundation.”

Recently, the fourth winner was announced, and the recipient brings a story of inspiration, redemption and giving back to the community.

From the release:

“Charles Fitzgerald was presented with the fourth annual Robert E. Wone Award for Exemplary Service. Established in memory of Wone, a former member of the Governor’s Commission on Community and National Service and Northern Virginia resident, the award recognizes an AmeriCorps member who exhibits outstanding community service.

Fitzgerald joined Embrace Richmond as an AmeriCorps member in the fall of 2008. Upon entering his term of service, he had not worked in more than twenty-five years. Two years prior to joining AmeriCorps, Fitzgerald entered the Healing Place in Richmond. After more than 33 years of substance abuse, he reclaimed his life at age 49. Fitzgerald served as a peer mentor for two terms at the Healing Place and realized that he had a real gift for helping others find freedom from addiction.

“This award inspires me to continue to do the work I do and just enjoy my life as an AmeriCorps member. I am going into my third term with AmeriCorps and I am looking forward to my coming year,” said Fitzgerald. “I was totally surprised that I won this award, because I don’t look to be recognized for the work I do. Some of the people I work with don’t even know who I am.” As for advice for the new members inducted, Fitzgerald said “When things look like they are going the worst, just look for the sunshine – it will get better and the work you do will pay off in the end.”

Like Wone, Fitzgerald is a tireless activist and volunteer who actively advances the interest of many charitable organizations through his willingness to speak and share his story on behalf of all the agencies that touched his life.”

The nomination letter for Charles Fitzgerald follows as well as some pictures from the ceremony. 

Our thanks to Cathy Walker for providing us with the photos and some news regarding the first winner of the Wone Service Award, Cheryl Jennings.  Cheryl helped present this year’s award to Charles and since winning in it herself 2007, she has gone on to work at the Virginia Commonwealth University’s AmeriCorps Program as a program leader.

Congratulations to all.  Please keep up the good work and by your many efforts you have added weight to the final words of a dearly departed friend, “Others will carry on.”

Charles Fitzgerald accepting the Award


Cheryl Jennings and Charles Fitzgerald

John Gomperts, State and National AmeriCorps Director at the Corporation for National and Community Service; Charles Fitzgerald; Matt Cobb, Deputy Secretary of Health and Human Resources for Virginia; Cheryl Jennings



Nikki Nicholau, Director of the Office on Volunteerism and Community Service and Charles Fitzgerald


Nomination Letter for Charles Fitzgerald

4 comments for “Awards Season

  1. Clio
    10/24/2010 at 10:35 AM

    Congratulations to Mr. Fitzgerald and, of course, to the Editors for spotlighting these “good-news” stories! As the House turns Republican again and America continues to decline, we need these reassurances of ordinary people doing great things.

    • Susan
      10/24/2010 at 12:50 PM

      Agree with Clio. And thanks for highlighting Chilaw’s words and reminding us that while “others will carry on,” everyone is unique and there will never be another Chilaw or Robert Wone.

  2. Michael
    10/25/2010 at 8:42 AM

    So awesome that this reward was created… even now, Robert still has a powerful affect on the people of this area.

  3. Nelly
    10/25/2010 at 9:49 AM

    Charles Fitzgerald is a fitting recipient of the award named after Robert Wone. Thank you for spotlighting him.

Comments are closed.