Introducing the 2021 Recipients of the Myrtie Davis Lifetime Volunteer Servant Leadership Award
Samaritan Ministries is pleased to announce Irma Jackson and Minnie Blakely as the two 2021 recipients of the Myrtie Davis Volunteer Servant Leadership Award.
The Myrtie Davis Volunteer Servant Leadership Award was established in 2017 to honor a long-time volunteer(s) for selfless commitment to Samaritan Ministries and our guests. The Award is meant to be an encouragement to all of us to act on the words of Jesus in Matthew 25. The Award should inspire others to give of their time, talents and resources to help the hungry and homeless of our community.
Irma Jackson (pictured here preparing a to-go meal) started volunteering in 1982, just months after the Soup Kitchen first opened its doors 40 years ago. A few years later in 1989, Minnie Blakely joined the team and the two became friends and have bonded through their service of our neighbors in need. Both have served regularly every 2nd Sunday since.
Their fellow volunteers would say the pair complement each other well when it comes to their leadership of the 2nd Sunday team. Both are incredibly dependable and have a motherly nature that makes the team feel like one big family. Minnie and Irma are passionate about Samaritan’s mission and have strong Christian faith they put into practice every day.
Minnie (pictured here) prides herself in washing the dishes the right way—meaning scrubbing and scrubbing no matter how long it takes. She never misses an opportunity to eat lunch with guests when the shift winds down a bit. Minnie shares wonderful stories and she and guests can often be heard throughout the building engaging in the most contagious laughter. When (she thinks) nobody is looking, Minnie often slips extra desserts and bread onto lunch trays for guests. Samaritan’s Sunday staff member Barbara says Minnie has a huge heart. She recalls traveling years ago and finding Minnie had put a prayer on the wall for Barbara and gave her a special gift upon her return. Minnie has always found meaningful ways to make a big impact in the lives of others.
Irma always ensures the correct processes and procedures are being followed in the Soup Kitchen. If operations get hectic throughout the day at the Ministry, Irma has a unique ability to bring calm to any situation. As a skilled massage therapist, Irma is always willing to use her healing hands to alleviate any stress from her fellow team members. Over the years, Irma has brought her daughter and granddaughter to volunteer many times. Three generations of women that have the hearts of servants and a love for others. Irma is very involved with her family and considers Samaritan’s guests an extension to her family as well.
Every 2nd Sunday, from the moment the volunteer shift starts until the last dish is cleaned, Irma and Minnie truly are the hands and feet of Jesus at Samaritan both in service to the guests, and by making everyone they engage with know they are valued and respected. They keep things fun by bringing special treats for holidays and celebrating Christian love every day.
Through their countless hours over years of service, Irma and Minnie have developed lasting relationships with guests, Cornerstone men, staff and fellow volunteers. While their service was put on hold in 2020 during the pandemic, both Irma and Minnie have returned to serving in the Soup Kitchen again and we could not be more grateful. Join us as we celebrate two incredible women who continue to make an incredible impact here at Samaritan.
On Sunday, June 13, Minnie and Irma served lunch at Samaritan. This was the first time they have been able to serve together since the onset of COVID-19. We are thrilled to have them back with us. We had a small celebration with 2nd Sunday team to recognize this special award. We look forward to celebrating with all volunteers at a future date.