|"I see a couple of faces here, one of whom used to hang out with us a lot, and one of them that does hang out with us a lot. Come on up!" Chris said, inviting Diann and Renee to the front. That was when everyone noticed the two ladies carried a plaque. Diann was given the mic and told everyone in attendance it was her honor to present the "Helping Hands" award to Chris and Stuart for their generous commitment, passion and support of the Boys and Girls Club. "Chris has been a board member of the Boys and Girls Club of the Rogue Valley for over 12 years," Diann informed everyone. "During this time, Chris has been instrumental in guiding our organization through some very challenging years to the successful club that we are today." Once thought to be closing, the local Boys and Girls Club bounced back and now proudly serves over 5,000 kids in the community throughout its various locations.
"In addition, we would also like to thank you as the members of Fire Mountain Gems" for the beautiful jewelry designs that Chris and Stuart have donated for fundraising events. Instead of selling the pieces of jewelry from the Gallery of Designs, they are often donated to Boys and Girls Club silent auctions such as Taste of the Illinois Valley. Individuals and merchants from all over donate to the cause, resulting in upwards of 400 items such as local food and wine, jewelry and even vacations for attendees to bid on. When Diann said the donated jewelry "has attributed to over $75,000" throughout the years, there was immediate applause.
|When Diann finished her speech, the Fire Mountain Gems General Meeting attendees rose for a standing ovation as the waterworks really started for Chris. Through the tears, Chris thanked the two women profusely not only for the award, but for their incredible work with The Club, reminded the employees none of it was possible without them and commented on how wonderful of a cause the Boys and Girls Club of America is. Diann and Renee were successful in surprising Chris and Stuart with the award in a special way.
It is the mission of the Boys and Girls Club, "to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens." The Helping Hands award, which this is only the third Helping Hands award from National from the Boys and Girls Club of the Rogue Valley, honors those who believe a "Helping Hand can make a positive difference in the lives of young people, our community and the club." It is because of the tireless efforts of the Boys and Girls Club directors, employees, volunteers and the local community that children at The Club are provided with: 1) A safe place to learn and grow, 2) Ongoing relationships with caring, adult professionals, 3) Life-enhancing programs and characters development experiences and 4) Hope and opportunity.
Congratulations Chris and Stuart!
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