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Rotary Club of Effingham County recognizes volunteers
Molly Marchese Down Synd.jpg
Molly Marchese of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society accepts the Volunteer of the Year Award from longtime Rotarian Herb Jones on Nov. 15. - photo by Rick Lott

RINCON — Molly Marchese of the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society was recently named volunteer of the year by the Rotary Club Club of Effingham County.

Rotary Club President Kris Brinker, along with Ryan Waters, Toni Hardigree and Chelsea McNichol, recognized community volunteers who were nominated from 12 local organizations. The presentations came during a Nov. 15 dinner hosted at New Ebenezer Retreat Center.

Brinker said the awards honor a very long-standing member in Herb Jones, a Rotarian for more than 30 years, and allows the club to recognize community organizations and what it takes to make them work — volunteers.

Marchese has worked tirelessly behind the scenes for the Lowcountry Down Syndrome Society since its inception. She is also the founder of Camp Buddy in Effingham County. 

Camp Buddy is a summer camp featuring programming for people with Down Syndrome in early education and for those seeking post-graduation life skills

“Well personally this was a big surprise," Marchese said. "I really had no idea that I was even nominated for Volunteer of the Year.”

Marchese continued, “I can’t take the credit personally because we’re a family at the society and we all work together and numerous people and families put in the efforts.”

Karen Signal of the Faith Equestrian Therapeutic Center was named first runner-up. She has been working with Faith Therapeutic for about a year and a half and is active on its event committee. In addition to many other fundraising activities, she also created their horse stall decorations for this past year’s Special Olympics state horse show and was the "house mom" for that weekend, ensuring that all of the volunteers were well fed so they could work with their athletes in the competitions.

Jim Presnell was named second runner-up for his work with Habitat for Humanity of Effingham County. He has been on its board of directors for five years and has served as vice president for the past two years

Presnell volunteers the use of his contractor’s license for their building projects and has personally volunteered more than 120 hours on the organization's last house.

Effingham County 4-H, Family Promise of Effingham, the Live Oak Public Libraries, Manna House Ministries, Rincon Elementary School, the Rincon VFW Post 12149, Springfield Elementary School, the Treutlen House and United Way of the Coastal Empire-Effingham were also honored.

The Rotary Club of Effingham County applauds the service of the county’s many volunteer organizations by presenting these awards and considers it a privilege to recognize the volunteers who give countless hours to help others in the name of someone who has spent a lifetime in service above self. Prize monies go back to the organizations the volunteers represent.