Meet the Southern Nevada Governor’s Points of Light Award Finalists!

Each year, Nevada Volunteers is overwhelmed by the amount of nominations and the inspiring stories submitted for the Governor’s Points of Light Awards. Our distinguished panel of judges selected the following three finalists for this year. These three individuals will be honored at the awards luncheon on January 18, 2013, and the recipient of the category will be announced. Congratulations to the finalists and thank you for your service to our communities!

Southern Nevada Individual Finalists for the

2013 Governor’s Points of Light Awards

Brendon Dillman During the past two years as President of the Teen Explorer Volunteer Program at Valley Hospital, Brendon Dillman has scheduled weekly presentations, volunteer assignments and education speakers for 50 teenage volunteers that are interested in future medical careers. Because of Brendon’s leadership, the volunteer program has grown enough to include an Emergency Department training for the teens to achieve access to volunteer in the Emergency Department without the need of constant supervision by the hospital staff. This has allowed the hospital staff additional time to spend with patients while the teen volunteers stock supplies, transport, deliver lab work, escort patient family members, and offer patients pillows, blankets, ice chips, etc. From 2011-2012 the Teen Explorer Program had 84 participants that contributed 6,117 hours. Brendon himself has contributed 1,021 hours from October 2009 to present through the Emergency Department Explorer Program and summer volunteering.

Elsie Lavonne Lewis

Elise Lavonne Lewis is constantly serving her community through her many board member roles with the Advisory board of the Salvation Army, the Andre Agassi College Preparatory Charter School, the Silver State Health Exchange Board, and St. James the Apostle Catholic Church. Every time duty calls, she is there. For the past eight years, she has coordinated the annual Church Gospel/Jazz Brunch & Silent Auction.

As a gourmet cook, you will also find her cooking meals for the sick and shut in, for funeral repasts, or for anyone that mentions someone needs a home cooked meal. If you ask her the reason why she loves serving others she will simply say, “I give of myself to make others’ lives a little easier.” She completes all of her volunteer work in addition to working as the Interim President and CEO of the Las Vegas Clark County Urban League, holding active membership in numerous associations and being a mother and grandmother. In 2011, Lavonne received the Women of Distinction Award from the National Association of Women in Business (NABOW) for her contribution in the area of Breaking the Glass Ceiling. This honor is only given to women in the community who have given unselfishly of their time and talents to the underserved population.


Raquel O’Neill

There seem to be no barriers to Raquel O’Neill’s mission to make a difference in her community. She is a new mother, she works full time with university students with disabilities, she mentors blind youth, and she works tirelessly to empower Nevadans with vision loss.

In 2009, Raquel identified a gap in services for blind and visually impaired youth. She set out to fill that unmet need by enlisting volunteers to help. Together, they created and implemented a 60-hour “blindness skills training program” for youth age 15-20. program provides intensive training in daily living skills, cane travel, communication, Braille, and advocacy. Using her skills and contacts, Raquel has encouraged individuals from State and County agencies, nonprofits, small businesses to volunteer their skills in serving youth with vision loss. She provides enthusiastic leadership and sensitive mentoring of volunteers. She encourages the youth to volunteer in the blindness community and community-at-large as a way of ‘giving back.’
She encourages volunteerism as a win-win and reminds volunteers of their value and the benefits they can derive from helping. The volunteers have remained consistent in serving and the group grows annually as they work with youth and other blindness programs.

Interested in finding out who becomes the recipient of the Governor’s Points of Light Award in the Southern Nevada Individual category? Click here for more information!

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