Signal Mountain Social Services Announces 2024 Volunteer Of The Year Award Recipients

  • Monday, April 1, 2024
Pictured, left to right, are Caroline Newton, Laura Newton, Kate Newton and SMSS Director Elizabeth Neal
Pictured, left to right, are Caroline Newton, Laura Newton, Kate Newton and SMSS Director Elizabeth Neal
At a recent council meeting held at the MACC. Signal Mountain Social Services named Laura Newton as Volunteer of the Year. The award is named after long time board member, Lamar Rankin.

Officials said, "Laura became aware of SMSS through the schools here on the mountain. She started to volunteer for the organization when Mary Lee Ziebold was the director which was almost 10 years ago.

"Laura has served SMSS in different capacities. She volunteered as a school representative at Thrasher.
She volunteers at The Clothes House. This past Christmas she was in charge of food packing at our annual Christmas Basket Day. She is currently serving as a board member."

Ms. Newton said, “It is important to me to help my neighbors in need and bringing my children along to volunteer at times helps them to see the importance of serving others.”

“Laura is such a wonderful asset to our organization," said Elizabeth Neal, director of SMSS. "She is always willing to help in whatever she is asked to do and you can’t help but to enjoy being around her.”

Ms. Newton came to SMSS with a background in case work. She had worked for DHS and Unum. She is the mother of three children - Caroline, Evan and Kate. She and her husband, Fred, have lived on Signal for 12 years.

The next recipient, Mickey Gibbs, came to the Clothes House approximately 15 years ago when Shelia Champagne was managing the resale shop. Ms. Gibbs learned about the Clothes House needing volunteers through her local congregation, SM Church of Christ.

Ms. Gibbs and her husband, Keith, moved to Signal about 16 years ago, where they raised their two children. Ms. Gibbs has always enjoyed volunteering in the schools, at church and with community organizations like the Clothes House.

"Volunteering makes me happy. I have met so many wonderful people volunteering at The Clothes House," Ms. Gibbs said.

Victoria Skorupa, Clothes House manager, named Ms. Gibbs the Volunteer of the Year at a surprise reception at The Clothe House last Monday. Ms. Skorups said, “Mickey has been a faithful volunteer and always has a smile on her face. Working with her is a pleasure for all of those that work and volunteer here.”

Ms. Gibbs enjoys sorting through the housewares and that is where she can be found on Monday mornings. "It’s always a surprise seeing what comes in, and that is part of the fun in volunteering here,” she said. She also added with a laugh, “Some items have been very interesting and make this job worth all the fun conversation around those unique items.”

"The Clothes House is always looking for volunteers," officials said. "If you are interested in helping The Clothes House, you can contact them via phone at 423-886-3460, or visit the website and fill out a volunteer form. Visit the website address at signalmountainsocialservices.org, then click on Volunteer Opportunities.
Pictured, left to right, are SMSS Director Elizabeth Neal, Mickey Gibbs, Clothes House Manager Victoria Skorupa  and Director of Development Deseret Ward
Pictured, left to right, are SMSS Director Elizabeth Neal, Mickey Gibbs, Clothes House Manager Victoria Skorupa and Director of Development Deseret Ward
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