Helena holds annual Volunteer Appreciation Dinner

Published 12:18 pm Wednesday, November 29, 2023

By DONALD MOTTERN | Staff Writer 

HELENA – Helena city officials, organization members and volunteers gathered together for a night of recognition during the annual Helena Volunteer Appreciation Dinner that was held at the El Tejano restaurant in Helena on Tuesday, Nov. 29.

The event is an annual party that recognizes all of those who volunteer for events in the city, a list that includes the members of the Helena Old Town (HOT) Board, the Helena Farmers Market, library workers, the Helena Diversity and Inclusion Board and others.

All attendants to the night’s dinner were presented with a specially crafted service coin emboldened on one side with an image of Helena’s city hall building and with the image of volunteer Cris Nelson featured on the reverse side. Nelson’s inclusion on the coin recognized her selection as the recipient of this year’s Lifetime Volunteer Award.

Nelson is known for having served as the first Helena Council President, and currently donates her time and service to committees such as the Alabama League of Municipalities and holds certifications in municipal excellence.

“Today, we come together to honor an exceptional individual, Cris Nelson, for her outstanding dedication to our community as we present her with a Lifetime Volunteer Award,” said Helena Councilmember Hewy Woodman. “For over 20 years, Cris’s unwavering commitment has raised nearly half a million dollars for local charity groups—making a significant impact. Her visionary leadership introduced innovative events to Helena, like Movies in the Park and Helena Market Days, setting the standard for neighboring cities.”

Nelson also holds the distinction of having founded the Helena Teen Council, which has done nothing but grow in both its presence and numbers since its founding. She has also played a pivotal role in the expansion and development of initiatives like the Buck Creek Festival, First Fridays and the Helena Business Association.

“Cris Nelson’s remarkable lifetime of volunteerism (is) a true inspiration to us all,” Woodman said. “We extend our heartfelt gratitude for her selfless service, and we applaud her as a beacon of hope and positivity in our beloved Helena. Thank you, Cris, for your outstanding contributions to our community.”