To celebrate National Volunteer Month, each April the City of Madison looks at the prior year’s accomplishments and recognizes three of its most valued civic volunteers. Madison is rich with citizen leaders who give graciously of their time and talent to benefit us all. To each and every city volunteer – from appointed officials to event volunteers, from singular specialty projects to enduring program management, from paperwork gurus to laborious tasks – the City of Madison would like to express gratitude for your service above self.
VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR Award
Ms. Melissa Piche
Melissa is an EXTRAordinary member of the Cemetery Stewardship Commission. She is caring, diligent, and one of the most hardworking volunteers of any board.
Melissa has a true passion for community history and lore. Her research of forbearers, artisans, and cultural assets has discovered/recovered many stories lost to time. She has also devoted many hours to the recovery and repair of vanishing monuments, and she was one of the stars in the CSC’s cemetery sculptural art!
For several years, Melissa has lobbied for, and put her own labor forth, to retrieve from nature’s grasp burials at the fringes of our cemeteries. More often than not, these gravesites are not the burials of the most well-known or most prosperous citizens. With her family in tow, she has cleared vegetation to honor forgotten marked and unmarked burials.
She is one of our elite volunteers. Melissa, thank you so very much.
Superlative Service Award
Mr. Joseph Smith
For over a decade, Joe served the Historic Preservation Commission, much of that time as Vice-Chair. The historic district is one of Madison’s most prized possessions and each of its properties is precious to the current caretakers. Joe’s combined skills as an architect, a preservationist, and a communicator helped assure that both property owners and the community gained positive outcomes through the work of the HPC.
Joseph’s service to preservation and history of Madison has not been limited to HPC meetings. Hall-Smith architecture donated his services for the design of the Gazebo and the Cottage during the creation of Town Park, and the Central of Georgia Depot restoration has benefited from many unpaid hours of work from Joe. Further, Madison’s stature as one of Georgia’s foremost preservation communities has been bolstered by Joe’s volunteer work for the Georgia Alliance of Preservation Commissions, Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation, and Georgia Historic Preservation Division.
Thank you, Joe, for your efforts and dedication in the stewardship of Madison’s heritage.
Inspirational Leadership Award
Mr. Chris Cook
Chris is in his second year as Chair of city’s Public Arts Commission. He agreed to parent this nascent group which, though it had yet to learn to crawl, was ready to run. This is a board with big ideas and lots of creative energy which sometimes bridles under the seemingly plodding process of local government. Chris’s experience as an artist, a business owner, and current and past member of several community boards has served the Public Arts Commission well during this time of institutional foundation building.
Chris’s leadership is very Zen-like, being aspirational and affirmational at the same time. In less than two years, the Public Arts Commission has laid the basis for a program of publicly owned and accessible art that will grace Madison for years to come. As the presence of art in public places grows through subsequent years, tonight we recognize Chris Cook’s leadership in creating the groundwork that made it so.
Thank you so very much for your service, Chris.