Heroes honored in Oak Creek

Volunteers recognized for educational efforts

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— Heroes are not those who necessarily give their lives, but those who give of their lives, Tim Selby told the crowd of students and adults who gathered Monday night in the Soroco High School to recognize local volunteers.

"They give of their time, of their energy, of their focus," Selby said.

The ceremony honored the efforts of volunteers that devote their time, energy and focus to making the South Routt community a better place.

Adult Volunteer of the Year honors went to Phyllis Watwood, who credited the award to her mother's example.

Thirty-five years ago, a newspaper recognized Watwood's mother for her volunteerism at a local high school.

Such commitment to others inspired the daughter to do the same.

She was proud to carry on the tradition of volunteering in the community and schools, she said.

Watwood remains highly involved with the Friends of Soroco Parent-Teacher Organization and programs in the elementary school, such as Destination Imagination and the yearbook, and works closely with several youth and adult sports leagues.

"It doesn't mater what you volunteer to do, something big or something small, it only matters that you volunteer," she wrote.

Tucker Louthan, a 16-year-old student at Soroco High School, was named Student Volunteer of the Year.

Jay Whaley, 4-H Routt County agent, applauded Louthan for his dedication to 4-H and Future Farmers of America.

Louthan said he volunteers with the hope his example might encourage other people to do the same.

"I feel that it's my job to go out there and do things that nobody else will do," he said.

The 11's Club, a group of students at Soroco High School committed to restoring pride and positive influences to their school, sponsored the event.

The students wanted to use the evening to bring together the community and the schools by acknowledging the people who contribute to the success of both entities.

"Volunteers really are the rock of our community," junior Meg Hayne said.

Forty-two people were nominated for Volunteer of the Year honors.

Although the 11's bestowed honors on two people, they recognized all the nominees with a short introduction and called each of them to the stage for individual applause.

Senior Katie Bach and sophomore Nicole Baxter said they were encouraged by community response to the event.

"When we first started, we weren't expecting this many people," Baxter said.

Now the girls and other club members are hoping to build on the success of the first volunteer appreciation night.

"We hope to keep it going," Bach said.

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