COLUMBIA — For the first time, the Howard B. Lang volunteer award will be given posthumously.
Longtime Columbia resident and community advocate Eva Jo Sapp, who died in September, has been selected to receive the fifth annual Howard B. Lang Jr. Award for outstanding volunteer service to the city.
The award is given each year to a resident who has demonstrated immense passion in his or her volunteering efforts.
During Sapp's 20 years of service, she held nearly 30 volunteer posts. Among those, she was president of the Columbia Public Library Board of Trustees and a member of the Imagine Columbia's Future Visioning Committee, the Columbia Comprehensive Plan Task Force, the Mayor's Task Force on the Arts and the Development Excellence Awards Committee.
The New Century Fund of Columbia presents the award each year. Trust specialist John Baker said the impact of Sapp's service is far reaching.
"Many of the big things in Columbia that we take for granted are because of her," Baker said.
Among some of Sapp's lasting influences are a strengthened local arts community, a major expansion of the Columbia Public Library building and its services and a new contact center in City Hall that helps government better respond to residents' requests for help and information.
"There are very few people that lead as effectively as she did," Baker said. "She was an engaged citizen that was active at many levels of government."
In a release from the city of Columbia, Mayor Bob McDavid noted the strengths of all the "selfless" people who were nominated for the award. Sapp, however, rose above the rest, he said.
"The selection committee felt that Jo Sapp's volunteer credentials, coupled with the impact she made, placed her in winning position this year," he said.
The selection committee chose Sapp unanimously.
The award will be presented to Sapp's husband, David Sapp, and other family members in a brief ceremony before the City Council meeting April 1.
Supervising editor is Scott Swafford.