SPRINGFIELD, Ill. — Molina Healthcare hosted its second annual Community Champions Award Dinner April 28 at Erin’s Pavilion, recognizing individual volunteers throughout Illinois.
Local Meals on Wheels driver Tom Jenkins was the Metro East’s winner. Jenkins was chosen for the award based on “going above and beyond his job requirements to assist the clients he delivers meals to. He has built lifelong friendships with the people he serves and spends extra time making sure they receive the necessities they require.”
Jenkins has served as a driver for Senior Services Plus’ Meals on Wheels program since 2008. He has a route of more than 30 individuals each day and provides transportation for many of the agency’s Foster Grandparent volunteers.
“I enjoy what I do,” Jenkins said. “There are so many people who do not have family to help care for them. The Meals on Wheels program is so helpful to the people who use it and I am so happy that I get to be a part of it.”
The Community Champions program was created in 2006 to honor the unsung heroes who inspire others through their selflessness, extraordinary service and contributions that positively affect the lives of those around them.
The annual Community Champions event was established to honor the memory of Molina Healthcare’s physician founder, Dr. C. David Molina, who believed in community partners working together to create programs that would help care for society’s most vulnerable individuals. The annual awards ceremony brings together individuals whose civic and faith-based leadership, volunteerism as well as public advocacy embody Molina’s spirit of service, family and community.
Jenkins was nominated for the award by Kim Campbell, events and activities coordinator of Senior Services Plus.
“Tom always displays compassion for his clients and that is why I thought of him for this award,” Campbell said. “As a driver, he knows his clients and their families by name and is often invited to their family functions. He has become a close friend to so many and would do anything to help them out when they are in need.”
Other recipients of the award were: Linda Crowley of Faith in Action (Bloomington), Wanda Aberle of South Side Mission (Peoria), Terry Shea of Western Avenue (Bloomington), Mary Karterm of Faith in Action (Champaign County) and Imogene Zeller of the Alzheimer’s Association (Central Illinois Chapter).
Winners each receive a Community Champions trophy and a $1,000 grant to designate to an organization of their choice as a way to “pay it forward” in the community. These micro-grants enable organizations to provide resources to serve the most vulnerable.
“We are so grateful to Tom for gifting the award’s grant money back to our agency,” Campbell said. “He is very considerate to think of us and with his donation we will be able to continue to serve meals to the homebound seniors in our territory.”
For information on Senior Services Plus, visit www.seniorservicesplus.org or call (618) 465-3298 ext. 100.