Hilliard Northwest News

Three local volunteers honored

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Destination Hilliard last month honored two Hilliard residents and a Dublin resident for their volunteer efforts.

In honor of National Volunteer Week, Destination Hilliard sponsored a volunteer fair and reception April 15 at the Norwich Township Joint Safety Services Building.

Hilliard residents Steve Brooks and Jodi Leis and Dublin resident Barb McKeever each were named volunteers of the year by their respective organizations.

The Hilliard-Ray Patch Family YMCA bestowed its Community Champion Award on Brooks, the Hilliard Arts Council recognized Leis and the Hilliard Recreation and Parks Department honored McKeever.

"It's an honor to be recognized," said Brooks, executive vice president for Worthington-based Insight Bank.

Brooks said he first became involved with the YMCA about five years ago when his daughter began taking swim lessons.

"I began volunteering with fundraising efforts for the swim team and then was invited to sit on the board of trustees," Brooks said.

For the past two years, he has been chairman of the board of trustees for Hilliard's YMCA and also is a member of the Metropolitan Board of Trustees for the YMCA of Central Ohio.

Malik Moore, executive director of the Hilliard-Ray Patch Family YMCA, called Brooks "a tireless community servant."

"(Brooks) has a great deal of responsibility (at Insight Bank), yet finds time to dedicate to the Y, various sports leagues (and the community)," Moore said. "(Brooks) helps us with our fundraising activities, our philanthropic efforts and monitoring our financials."

In addition to Brooks' service to the YMCA, he is an assistant lacrosse coach at Hilliard Weaver Middle School and a member of the Buckeye Leadership Fellows Advisory Committee.

Leis was informed about her honor by Robin Brenneman, theatrical director of the Hilliard Arts Council.

"I was surprised," Leis said. "I didn't even know it existed.

Leis, who solicits advertising and oversees the publications of programs for all the arts council's productions, said she also has regularly preformed with the arts council for the past two decades.

She said she appreciates what Brenneman and her husband, Ken, do for the community.

"But I felt like I should have handed (the award) right back over to Ken and Robin (Brenneman)," Leis said. "It's great to be noticed, but what I do pales in comparison to Ken and Robin.

"I hope the community realizes it. They are the face of the Hilliard Arts Council and if not for them, I would not have such an opportunity."

Brenneman said Leis has been an active participant in shows and creating programs for the arts council.

"Jodi does this even though she works full time and is a mom to two active kids," Brenneman said. "We truly appreciate her generosity with her time and we are grateful that she shares her prodigious talents with the arts council."

McKeever and her husband, Dick, are members and volunteers at the Phyllis A. Ernst Senior Center in Hilliard.

The Dublin residents relocated from Powell and volunteer at the Hilliard center because their children and grandchildren live in Hilliard.

Dick McKeever is a paid cook and Barb is a volunteer server at the Hilliard Park Cafe, where they've worked four days a week for the past two years.

"I do it because I want to do it ... but it's nice to be recognized," Barb McKeever said.

Beth Simon, recreation program manager for the recreation and parks department, described McKeever as "constant and hard-working" and said "provides exceptional service."

"The pride that Barb takes in the Hilliard Park Cafe is award-worthy," Simon said. "(Our department) is appreciative of everything Barb does for (the center), her fellow members and volunteers."

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