First Lady Rose Dunleavy announced and recognized six recipients of the First Lady Volunteer of the Year Awards at a ceremony in the Governor’s Residence, May 24th, 2019. The awards recognize volunteers who engage in unpaid charitable activities, demonstrate personal commitment to long-term volunteer services, and make a significant impact for Alaskans.
Jon Cochrane of Bethel was honored as one of the award recipients.
Jon Cochrane helped start the Bethel Winter House to prevent death by exposure among Bethel’s homeless population during the extreme cold of the Alaska’s winter. Sponsored by the Bethel Winter Lions Club, The Winter House provides a warm, clean and safe environment, along with a hot dinner and breakfast every day they operate. Jon has done everything from serving as an overnight volunteer, cook, and shelter director, to serving as the board’s Treasurer and President.
“We received over 75 nominations of individuals throughout Alaska, and all of them are deserving of recognition. On behalf of the Governor, myself, the state of Alaska and on behalf of the countless Alaskans they serve, a heartfelt thank you goes out to everyone who was nominated for this year’s award. Today is about the six individuals who stood out from that amazing group of nominees and who are examples to us all,” the First Lady said to award recipients. “Thank you for letting us recognize all that you do – all that you do not for recognition, not for personal gain, not for awards – but for service to your neighbors and your communities.”
The other 2019 award recipients include:
Blaze Bell is the Vice President of the Board of Directors for Victims for Justice, a nonprofit specializing in serving and advocating for victims of all violent crimes. She is someone whose personal light has had a positive impact on countless community members who want to improve themselves, as well as heal from any past trauma.
Posie Boggs was instrumental to the vision and hours of work necessary to bring forward the successful HB 64 Legislative Task Force on Reading Proficiency and Dyslexia in 2018. Once HB 64 became law, Posie rolled up her sleeves and spearheaded an effort to continue to educate Alaskans on how we can do better to make sure every child in our state is given the gift of learning to read.
Cindy Glassmaker is a staple at Kenai Peninsula community events, volunteering and serving wherever there is a need. Seeing a need to help keep Alaska’s rivers clean, Cindy and her husband Mark initiated the Kenai River Spring Cleanup and have continued to make sure that the Kenai River and Alaska’s environment remains viable and healthy for generations to come.
Sara Mullen is involved with the Alaska National Guard’s Warrior and Family Services program and has been a strong advocate for veterans, those currently serving, and their families. She was a driving force behind many efforts for service men and women in the Anchorage community, including initiating the Wreaths Across America event at the Ft. Richardson National Cemetery. She raised more than $10,000 for that event and coordinated with statewide organizations to honor our fallen Alaskan heroes.
Rachel Olson has done influential and life changing work with children, families and professionals involved in Alaska’s foster care system. Rachel serves as the Director of the Royal Family Kids-MatSu camp, doing everything from fundraising and recruiting volunteers, to leading the staff and campers, to becoming the first Trust Based Relational Intervention Practitioner in the Valley. Rachel recently created a non-profit, whose mission is to “restore vulnerable children by facilitating healing from past trauma, empower families to parent, heal and connect to their children and each other.”
An executive committee, comprised of Alaskan community members, selected six award recipients to be recognized for their outstanding volunteer contributions.