The March of Dimes' first Volunteer Recognition Summit was recently held in St. Louis with volunteers from across the state, including four from Cape Girardeau, attending the event.
The meeting was hosted by the Greater Missouri Chapter of the March of Dimes.
Attendees were given a preview of the agency's new Prematurity Campaign and recognized for their outstanding commitment to saving babies.
The March of Dimes is a national voluntary agency whose mission is to improve the health of babies by preventing birth defects and infant mortality through research, community services, education and advocacy.
Tabitha Reece from Cape Girardeau represented the Southeast Division of the March of Dimes. Reece has volunteered her time and efforts toward the agency's primary fund-raising event, WalkAmerica, for several years and has recently joined the board of directors.
Her own children's lives were saved by technology and medical advances created through March of Dimes-funded research.
"It's very exciting to see the amazing progress that the March of Dimes has made in the area of premature babies. It is also very heartwarming to a mother of premature babies to see the community support here in the Southeast Missouri area," Reece said.
Reece is employed by Foeste Masonry Inc. , a local sponsor for WalkAmerica both in 2001 and 2002.
Colin Patterson, also of Cape Girardeau, also attended the volunteer summit and received the Outstanding Community Leadership award for Southeast Missouri.
This award was presented by Marty Hendin, vice president of community relations for the St. Louis Cardinals and chairman of the March of Dimes' Executive Board of Directors.
Patterson was commended for his volunteering efforts and leadership, shown through participation and sponsorship of the March of Dimes and its baby-saving plan. Patterson and his employer, River Eagle Distributing, head up the annual Bikers for Babies motorcycle ride. He has also recently joined the board of directors.
Others from Southeast Missouri receiving awards at the volunteer summit included Rick Murray of Dexter and Mary McEntire of Farmington. Murray leads the fund-raising efforts of Tyson, Inc. employees in the Stoddard County WalkAmerica each spring, raising more than $30,000 in 2002. McEntire has coordinated the fund raiser in St. Francois County for 12 years.
The March of Dimes' Volunteer Recognition Summit will be held annually in Missouri to recognize those volunteers and individuals that promote the agency's mission of saving the thousands of babies born sick, too small and too soon in the state.
Those wanting to become a volunteer for the March of Dimes can call 651-6033. For more information about the agency, visit the March of Dimes Spanish Web site at www.nacersano.org, its English site at www.marchofdimes.com or call toll-free 1 (888) MODIMES.