Ignite Goes Virtual to Celebrate Volunteerism

The fourth annual Ignite Volunteer Awards Celebration, presented by United Way Hands On, was unlike any of the previous three events. Held on April 23, 2020, this year’s function was an entirely virtual celebration that recognized our community’s most dedicated volunteers while keeping them safe at home. The cyber ceremony was hosted by United Way Hands On Executive Director Benga Harrison and Ignite Awards Co-Chairs Krystal Drummond and Mauri Robinson. It was streamed on Facebook and Swell with support from sponsors Alabama Power, Drummond Company and United Way of Central Alabama.

The 2020 Ignite Award winners are:

  • Brooklyn Pickle, Gardendale Elementary School — Community Volunteer of the Year.
  • Cristina Almanza, Buffalo Rock Company — Corporate Volunteer of the Year.
  • Tommy Russell, Woodlawn United Methodist Church — Faith Based Volunteer of the Year.
  • Ronnie Vaughn, City of Mountain Brook — Government Volunteer of the Year.
  • Anamaria Santiago, Anytown Alabama — Ellyn R. S. Grady Nonprofit Volunteer of the Year.
  • Dulce Rivera, Mi Pueblo Supermarket — Small Business Volunteer of the Year.
  • Ethan Hill — Phillips Academy — Student Volunteer of the Year.

Ethan Hill, the Student Volunteer of the Year, was further honored with a special message from Mayor Randall Woodfin, who nominated him for his work to help people experiencing homelessness in Birmingham.

The final award was the United Way Hands On Legacy Award, which recognizes a volunteer who goes above and beyond expectations and is highly regarded by the Hands On leadership and staff, as well as the broader community. This year’s winner was Mauri Robinson, Ignite Co-Chair and one of the hosts of the ceremony.

Although this celebration looked a little different from those of years past, it still accomplished its goal of recognizing the individuals who work tirelessly to better our community. Winners will receive their awards at next year’s event, which will be held April 22, 2021. If you’re interested in joining the ranks of these incredible volunteers, head over to Involve to browse volunteer opportunities, including remote options, and sign up for something that interests you! You can make a difference in someone’s life.