On November 23, Governor Northam announced the recipients of the 2021 Governor’s Awards for Volunteerism and Community Service, two of which are from McLean. The annual awards program recognizes outstanding contributions from volunteers and organizations on behalf of residents of Virginia.
The McLean winners were:
• A group of students called Codefy, which won the Outstanding Educational Organization Award. The students formed the group after seeing a lack of female representation in tech fields and a shortage of computer programming classes at their own school.
Codefy offers free computer programming courses to middle and high school students. In just two years, the organization has grown to include more than 600 volunteers, offer more than 10 courses reflecting a variety of programming languages, and now serves 600 students in Virginia and across the country.
• Student pilot TJ Kim, who received the award for best young volunteer.
Kim said his flight training became one of the only activities he could still enjoy when his school and lacrosse season were closed due to COVID-19. He created Operation Supplies Over the Skies (SOS), which transported personal protective equipment to rural and community hospitals in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Maryland and West Virginia.
To date, Kim has flown 22 missions and has purchased and delivered nearly 85,000 personal protective items and ventilator supplies to 21 locations.
Other award recipients included:
• CrossOver Healthcare Ministry (Richmond), exceptional community organization. • Mt. Zion First African Baptist Church and Church of the Incarnation (Charlottesville), exceptional faith-based organization. • Doswell Limited Partnership (Ashland), an exceptional small business. • Capital One Coders (Richmond), an exceptional company. • Betty Robinette (Wytheville), outstanding senior volunteer. • Mechele Hairston (Chesapeake), outstanding adult volunteer. • Lucy Cummins (Richmond), outstanding young volunteer. • George and Kim Melnyk (Virginia Beach), exceptional volunteer family.
“These awards recognize the selfless work and meaningful contributions of these remarkable individuals and groups, as well as the ingenuity and determination they have faced in serving their community during the pandemic,” Northam said in a press release.
“The past year has illustrated what we already knew – that there is a great need and a great impact in having comprehensive supportive community efforts,” added Virginia Department of Social Services Commissioner S. Duke. Storen.
The recipients “include the incredible service of the more than two million volunteers who give their time and talents each year to help their communities,” said Julie Strandlie, who chairs the Virginia Governor’s Advisory Board on Service and volunteering.