“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love;
give preference to one another in honor.”
Romans 12:10, NASB
When the COVID pandemic hit in mid-March 2020, and Brevard County went on an emergency shutdown, it would be two months before the ministry office and retail store would reopen. The original plan to celebrate the “Volunteer of the Month” and the April celebration of National Volunteer Month (including our Annual Appreciation Dinner) was canceled.
Turn the page six months later, and while we are still facing the COVID-19 pandemic, Love INC is open and on the move. Clearinghouse Volunteers are serving clients, Village Thrift
Volunteers are prepping items and serving customers, Operations Volunteers are working in the office and from home, and volunteer recruitment is stepping up as we welcome new volunteers to the ministry, all making an impact In the Name of Christ.
In the spirit of “Moving Forward” and pushing past the delays that stemmed from the shutdown, September 2020 marks the comeback of the Volunteer of the Month recognition program. Awardees from March 2020 through September 2020 received their awards, and boy were the winners surprised. Volunteers were not only surprised at the Love INC office and Village Thrift, but others were surprised awarding at home, and at their workplaces.
The good news is that “Plan B” worked. We rallied and recognized all the 2020 Volunteers of the Month, honoring those volunteers who have made a special contribution to furthering the mission of Love INC.
This edition of the Volunteer E–News is dedicated to our Volunteers of the Month from March through September 2020. Read ahead to find out a bit more about these amazing individuals!
Debbie Baker, March 2020 Volunteer of the Month
March 2020 – Debbie Baker, serves as Assistant Volunteer Coordinator on the Volunteer Engagement team. She has served with Love INC since May 2013 and attends South Coast Calvary Chapel, Melbourne.
Honoring a Volunteer at home can be tricky business, but when there’s a will there’s a way! Debbie Baker’s husband Kevin was called ahead of time to make sure the coast was clear. Then the Volunteer Coordinator just happened to stop by on a Monday evening to say, “Congratulations you are the March 2020 Volunteer of the Month!”
Debbie Baker is one of the longest serving volunteers at Love INC, having served more than seven years with the ministry. She first served on the Admin Team, and then was on staff for a season as the Admin Coordinator. After she resigned her paid position, she returned to volunteer service in 2019.
As Assistant Volunteer Coordinator Debbie’s main focus is moving applicants through the online application process, but she tracks the recruitment process via Excel and also has assisted at Recruitment Fairs, facilitated Orientation classes, and helps onboard volunteers. That’s what makes Debbie an excellent choice for Volunteer of the Month.
Victoria Smith, April 2020 Volunteer of the Month
April 2020 – Victoria Smith serves in Communications, putting her talents to work as a Videographer and Photographer. Victoria joined Love INC in March 2019 and attends Lifepoint Church, Palm Bay.
Victoria Smith was minding her own business brown bagging it, and joining her fellow staff for lunch at Lifepoint church, when Love INC’s Volunteer Coordinator surprised her with the April 2020 Volunteer of the Month award this past Tuesday, September 22, 2020.
Victoria joined Love INC just 18 months ago, and from the very start her volunteer service made a significant impact on furthering Love INC’s mission.
One of her first projects was filming and producing Love INC of Brevard’s “Volunteer Orientation” video, which was originally purposed to serve as a back-up when an Orientation Facilitator wasn’t available. Ten months later, this Orientation Video has now taken the place of the in-person orientation so that volunteers can be assured that social distancing measures are taken. Other video projects Victoria produced include the 2019 Volunteer Appreciation program, the first Clearinghouse Training program for new volunteers that contains four video learning modules, and communitywide presentations such as last year’s Annual Partnership Gathering video programs. It’s that generosity of service and artistic talent that has earned Victoria this special award.
Coleen Connolly, May 2020 Volunteer of the Month
May 2020 – Coleen Connolly is the Clearinghouse Receptionist on Monday evenings. She has served with Love INC since February 2018 and attends Lighthouse Assembly of God, Melbourne, FL.
Coleen Connolly is in her second year serving as Receptionist for the Clearinghouse Team, and not only that, she wears a second volunteer hat, as Ambassador with longtime partner church Lighthouse Assembly of God.
On Monday evenings, you will find Coleen answering calls from both clients and the general public in the Clearinghouse Call Center.
As Call Center Receptionist she is able to apply her administrative gifting, devotion to service, and her compassionate nature to each person that calls. That gifting is what has earned her this special recognition.
As Ambassador for Lighthouse Assembly of God, Coleen represents Love INC’s beloved partner church when connecting people in need to Love INC. Both she and Pastor Pete Inman serve as the bridge between people in need and Love INC’s Clearinghouse, so that clients can journey toward transformation. It is the service call that Coleen has answered that drives her devotion and is what has captured the attention of the leadership to award her this special honor.
Rich Ransom, June 2020 Volunteer of the Month
June 2020 – Rich Ransom has served as an Info Tech Volunteer since Dec. 2012, and is one of Love INC’s longest serving volunteers. Rich currently attends Northside Presbyterian Church, Melbourne.
Rich is completing his eighth year serving on the “Tech Team,” and has persevered through changes and difficult seasons, yet remained committed to the mission, providing exceptional volunteer service.
What you may not know about Rich Ransom is that he worked in the space industry for over 16 years as a Systems Engineer subcontractor that included the Space Shuttle Program (Flight Controls and Main Engine Controls) and the Space Station (Attitude Controls and Multiplexer/Demultiplexer Modules). Pretty impressive right? You’d never know it because Rich is one of those humble souls that comes to Love INC devoted to service and doesn’t brag about what many would consider some amazing accomplishments.
As the June 2020 Volunteer of the Month, this is Rich’s second volunteer recognition award. In 2018, John received the Service Excellence award, which was the spark that launched the Volunteer of the Month recognition program. Rich and his wife Jeanette will be moving to Tennessee before the end of the year. Love INC’s staff and volunteers extend our love and well wishes to the Ransoms, wishing you both all the best in this upcoming season.
God Bless you Rich!
John Ng, July 2020 Volunteer of the Month
July 2020 – John Ng volunteers on the Tech Team and has served with Love INC since March 2015. John is also part of the church fellowship of Trinity Wellsprings Church, Satellite Beach.
In 2010, John moved to Indian Harbour Beach from New York City, and later joined the Love INC ministry in 2015 where he has served on the “Tech Team.” John is considered one of Love INC’s skilled volunteers, meaning his professional talents are used in his volunteer role.
John Ng has made an incredible contribution to Love INC’s database development in his five and a half years of service on the Tech Team, coming to Love INC as a computer science specialist in the area of database management.
John has also provided technological support to the staff for years, and is known for his exceptional service, always responding in a timely fashion and is considered an amazing asset to the organization both as an expert in his field and through his life example of humble service.
“John has been and continues to be an extremely valuable technical volunteer in the area of Love INC database management,” says Alice Walden-Kenyon, the new Love INC Director of Operations.
Thank you, John!
Phyllis Muessig, August 2020 Volunteer of the Month
August 2020 – Phyllis Muessig has served with Love INC of Brevard since June 2016 in Village Thrift’s Book department.
Phyllis started volunteering with Village Thrift when the doors first opened at the Apollo-Sarno Plaza location. She was recruited by former Assistant Manager Candy Maas who jokingly commented to Phyllis that she was such a frequent customer she might as well volunteer a couple hours a week.
Well, that’s just what Phyllis did. She came on board in 2016 and spent the past five years providing quality reading to our customers serving in the Book Section of Village Thrift.
What you may not know about Phyllis is that she spent her career in foreign service serving in the State department. Her overseas service includes serving in Manila, Philippines, where she married her late husband. She was in Amman, Jordon until four days before the Six-day War when Israel occupied the Gaza Strip and the Sinai Peninsula of Egypt. She later served in Brussels, Belgium and Bangkok, Thailand. Since her retirement, Phyllis has volunteered in various ministries and organizations. Besides Love INC, she has served with Hope Ministries and even volunteered at Amsterdam 2,000 for the Billy Graham Association.
Brenda Schulz, September 2020 Volunteer of the Month
Sept. 2020 – Brenda Schulz joined Love INC in October 2018, serving as a volunteer for Village Thrift. Brenda is on staff with Calvary Chapel Melbourne’s Children’s Ministry
Brenda Schulze was in for a surprise at the office when Love INC’s Volunteer Coordinator arrived at Calvary Chapel’s Children’s Ministry staff office to award her with Love INC’s September 2020 Volunteer of the Month.
Brenda Schulze is completing her second-year volunteering at Love INC’s retail store Village Thrift. What earned Brenda this special volunteer recognition, is how she stepped up to bring a new training program for new Village Thrift volunteers that was launched in August 2020.
Brenda scheduled and conducted training for nine new volunteers in her first week. General Manager Kathy Llewellyn believes Brenda’s training is essential because many people don’t have retail experience and need to learn how Village Thrift sorts, tags, and presents their merchandise. Brenda provides that foundation so that new volunteers learn the Village Thrift approach to this retail ministry. Now, regular and community service volunteers must complete Brenda’s start date training before they can schedule their hours. Thank you, Brenda for your leadership, generosity and your kind and gentle manner that is the essence of your service to the ministry.