Chelsea COP works toward presidential volunteer awards

By CHRISTINE BOATWRIGHT / Staff Writer

CHELSEA – Chelsea Citizen Observer Patrol recently announced it has teamed with the White House to become a certifying organization for the President’s Volunteer Service Award.

The national program recognizes Americans who have demonstrated a sustained commitment to volunteer service. The program offers different levels of awards, honoring those who volunteered at least 250 hours during the past year to more than 4,000 hours, according to Chelsea COP’s Director of Training Mike Echols.

Echols said the Chelsea COPs have been involved in the award program for the past three years.

COP member Bill Weldon has already received the lifetime award for volunteering more than 4,000 hours, and former Chelsea volunteer firefighter Donald Shirley could achieve the award soon, Echols said during a Jan. 22 phone interview.

All of the awards will be presented to COP members during their awards banquet Feb. 26 at Liberty Baptist Church in Chelsea.

Established in 2003, the award was created by former President George W. Bush to give presidential recognition to individuals, families and groups who meet requirements for volunteer service, measured by the number of service hours performed for more than 12 months, according to a press release from Chelsea COP.

“We are extremely proud to recognize our most outstanding volunteers with the President’s Volunteer Service Award,” Echols wrote in the release. “Chelsea COP volunteers are role models in our community, donating their time, energy and talent to bring us closer together as neighbors and a nation. The award is our way of thanking these volunteers and inspiring everyone in our community to make volunteering a central part of their lives.”

Chelsea COP is one of thousands of organizations that has joined forces to deliver the award. As a certifying organization for the award, Chelsea COP is responsible for verifying service hours, nominating potential recipients and delivering the award, the release stated.

The award is issued by the President’s Council on Service and Civic Participation, a group convened by former President George W. Bush to help foster and encourage a culture of volunteer service and civic participation among Americans.

For more information about volunteering with Chelsea COP, contact Mike Echols at mechols1@bellsouth.net.