Columbia volunteer center, Tribune honor volunteers at 2009 Hero Awards

Friday, April 24, 2009 | 12:01 a.m. CDT
Vicki Russell, left, associate publisher of the Columbia Daily Tribune, congratulates Max Lewis of Boone County Family Resources as the winner of the 2009 Hero Awards for outstanding public service in the individual adult category. In addition to a crystal trophy, Lewis also received $500 on behalf of the Tribune to donate to his not-for-profit organization of choice.

COLUMBIA — Columbia’s Voluntary Action Center and the Columbia Daily Tribune honored community volunteers at a reception Thursday night. Twenty-seven individuals and groups were recognized. Three were awarded $500 to go toward the nonprofit organization they volunteer for.

The Voluntary Action Center found that 2.7 million volunteer hours were performed by 121 Boone County agencies this year. At an average rate of $20.25 per hour, the labor costs of that amount of work would have totaled $55.5 million.

HERO Awards Nominees


  • Liz Bolin
  • Meghan Buchert
  • Gary Duncan
  • Joyce Hulett
  • Ron Jenks
  • Laura Jost
  • Margaret Klug
  • Max Lewis
  • Tom Masters
  • Paul Moessner
  • Norma Smith
  • Demetria Stephens
  • William Taylor
  • Jane Williams


  • Aktion Club
  • Alpha Delta Pi
  • Columbia Builds Youth
  • Delta Tau Delta
  • Huhman & Burks
  • Lenoir Woods Volunteers
  • Lutheran Family & Children’s Services Foster Parents
  • Spay-Neuter Assistance Program
  • Tuesday Regulars


  • Zeb Charlton
  • Karis Ann Crosby
  • Andrea Steinbach

Karis Ann Crosby, the winner of the youth category, began volunteering at a young age.

“During the past five years, Karis has given hundreds of hours of time to Theater Reaching Young People and Schools and had a positive impact on the lives of thousands of children,” a news release from the Voluntary Action Center said.

At mention of Karis, Bissy Crosby, Karis’s mother, would choke up with emotion.

“It’s just a blessing to be with all these people. Karis loves interacting with the kids. She loves to read and act. Kids are hilarious, and she just loves being with them,” Crosby said.

And then there was Max Lewis. 

“As an attorney, Max provides legal representation pro bono for people who are not able to afford attorneys, and he advocates for people with disabilities in local and state government," the news release said. "He also serves on the boards for Services for Independent Living, Boone County Family Resources, the Columbia Housing Authority and Mid-Missouri Legal Services, and developed and teaches an adapted gymnastics program for children with disabilities."

“My daughter got to talk to him, and he’s just really cool,” Bissy Crosby said. “He’s got a great spirit.”

Lewis won the award for the individual adult category.

The winner for the group category was the Aktion Club of Woodhaven Learning Center.

“Members of this group face their own challenges, but nothing deters them from volunteering with wholehearted dedication in their chosen task,” the announcer said. “In 2008 alone, they volunteered over 240 hours to Clean Up Columbia Day, the city's Adopt-A-Spot beautification program.”

Mayor Darwin Hindman made a short speech thanking the volunteers.

“People who believe in their community get out and volunteer,” Hindman said. “Columbia has an incredible amount of people who believe in their community and get out and volunteer.”

“Your efforts are what give us hope, and we truly believe that the spirit of volunteerism is what gives Boone County a better quality of life,” said Vicki Russell, associate publisher at the Tribune. “Government, businesses and institutions provide the framework for our community, but it’s volunteers that give the community heart.”

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