“Instead of active members secretly nominating candidates, we decided to openly post and advertise the caliber of lady it takes to make a great volunteer,” outgoing President Sherry Wallace said.
Wallace, a special education teacher, said she and other members believed the candidates themselves would be the best at describing their dedication to volunteerism and helping the children of Cherokee.
Delane Stevens, a member since 2005, was named president for the 2013-14 year.
Stevens, who works as an insurance agent at Rick Bailey & Company in Woodstock, handled the league’s casework last year. Wallace referred to the role as the “most time-consuming and challenging job in the league,” requiring the volunteer to make daily decisions about how best to disperse league funds.
“She is very conscientious and worked diligently to investigate and respond to all casework and special needs requests that were presented to the league,” Wallace said of Stevens. “Even if a request didn’t meet our criteria, she tried to find them alternatives.”
Stevens, the 80th president of the organization, said she began writing in a journal when she began casework for the league.
“The families I’ve written about have left footprints on my heart,” she said. “The league is an army of women standing together and fighting for the same great cause.”
Stevens said the organization was able to help 624 families last year, spending over $54,000 on various needs from casework to Christmas shopping.
“My smile just keeps getting bigger and bigger thinking of all of these kids,” she said. “As volunteers, we are all paid in hugs, smiles and knowing we all are making a difference.”
Melissa Whatley, president-elect and executive administrative assistant to Superintendent of Schools Dr. Frank Petruzielo, was named Member of the Year, an honor chosen by league members.
Wallace said Whatley makes the job of league treasurer “so simple,” and lauded her initiative to begin the league’s poinsettia fundraiser a few years ago and chairing Riverfest this past year.
“She is reliable and extremely efficient,” she said. “She is calm and collected, takes time to think things through before acting upon them. She’s not afraid to voice an idea and shows conviction for the children we strive to serve.”
Through tears, Whatley said she wanted to be part of the league since she was 15 years old.
“It’s an honor every day to serve,” she said.
Those entering honorary member status after serving 10 years with the league included Debbie Murdock, Jory Cannon, Denise Cooper and Judy Keith.
New members are Jennifer Arp, Leslie Bowers, Jennifer Connelly, Katie Garrison, Angie Hathcock, Alison Hendrix, Lori Karnes, Julie Little, Shelley McNellie, Kristen Morris, Courtney Robertson, Stacy Rubelsky, Natalie Smith, Elizabeth Wall, Amy Wallace and Michele Webb.