Junior volunteers and their families gathered at Life Care Center of Hixson on July 18 for the presentation of the facility’s first scholarship. The Calloway-Life Care Center of Hixson Junior Volunteer $1,000 Scholarship came about after Linda Kirk, daughter of resident Paul Calloway, approached Mae Petty, activity director.
Mr. Calloway served the Chattanooga Police Department for 30 years, including more than 10 years as captain. Seeing that adults’ bad behavior usually begins in childhood, he took a deep interest in helping young people make positive choices. He himself was a role model many young men looked up to.
“Throughout all my dad’s life, it was important to provide opportunities for youth education,” said Ms. Kirk. “I guess this stayed with me, and I have always wanted to do something to be a part of helping students. This is a small way to start, but it is a way to start in helping students be able to buy their books, have some lab equipment and any other items they may need.”
Ms. Kirk offered to present a $500 scholarship for young volunteers. Petty got the facility involved in fundraising to match the donation to help the students further.
Criteria for the award included 20 hours or more of volunteer work at the facility, a good attendance record, grades of at least a B average and three letters of recommendation. Applicants also had to show that they had brought a unique volunteer program to the facility.
Five junior volunteers at the facility applied, and members of the Hixson Fire Department reviewed the applications and decided on the winner.
After a warm welcome, a song and a chef-prepared meal, Ms. Petty introduced each of the volunteers and shared with the group what each one contributes to life at the facility. Ms. Kirk also took the podium and talked about the importance of volunteering. Then members of the Hixson fire department announced that the recipient was Alex Lamontagne.
“I feel honored to have been accepted,” said Mr. Lamontagne. “I have always liked to volunteer because I love to listen to all of the residents’ stories, and I can take their experiences and apply them to my life. They have been there and done a lot of things I will never dream of doing, and we need to listen to them.”
Mr. Lamontagne is putting together the car show for the fall festival at Life Care Center of Hixson this year and has taken charge of rounding up vehicles and promoting the event. He is also hoping to get others involved in the scholarship this year.
“Life Care Center of Hixson and the Calloways gave me an opportunity to help with my scholarship, and I want to give back by having the people who enter their cars in the car show donate money for next year’s Junior Volunteer Award,” he said. “I’d like to continue this each year.”