Yukon Band Boosters earn top volunteer honor

11 members receive President’s Lifetime Achievement Award

YPS Board of Education Member Leonard Wells recognizes 11 Yukon Band Boosters who recently earned the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award for their distinguished volunteer service. (Photo by Conrad Dudderar)

By Conrad Dudderar
Staff Writer

A dedicated group of Yukon band parent volunteers has earned the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award.

Eleven Yukon Band Boosters’ members were recently honored by AmeriCorps and U.S. President Joe Biden for their lifelong commitment to building a stronger nation through volunteer service:

Amy Tharp, Steve Tharp, Kendra Jeffrey, Cindy Janka, Chris Janka, Chris Leck, Valerie De Leon, Don Rowe, Dayna Rowe, Jeff Geis, and LaNese Cummings.

Yukon Public Schools’ Board Member Leonard Wells recognized these band boosters during the June 5 Board of Education meeting.

Yukon’s band program operates with “many, many” volunteers, Wells pointed out.

“This year in particular, several of the band volunteers were recognized for the service that they’ve performed over the years,” he said. “Each of them received a Lifetime Achievement Award signed by President Joseph R. Biden.

“Along with the certificate that’s in a binder, they received a medallion and a coin.”

Wells held up the binder, medallion and coin to show the audience watching the June school board meeting.

“They gave these out at the band banquet,” he added. “Everybody involved with the band knows how much these people work.”

To qualify for the President’s Lifetime Achievement Award, each winner had to contribute at least 4,000 hours of volunteer service to the U.S.



Wells read aloud a letter signed by President Biden:

“Throughout our country’s history, the American story has been strengthened by those who combine an optimism about what can be with the resilience to turn that vision into reality,” Biden wrote. “I know I’m not alone in recognizing that those who are willing to step up and volunteer in service of community and country are essential to the ongoing work of forming our more perfect union.

“By sharing your time and passion, you are helping discover and deliver solutions to the challenges we face – solutions that we need now more than ever. We are living in a moment that calls for hope and light and love. Hope for our future, light to see our way forward, and love for one another. Through your service, you are providing all three.”

In closing his letter, the president extended his heartfelt appreciation “on behalf of the American people” for these award recipients’ volunteer leadership while encouraging them to “continue to answer the call to serve.”

The information and data for the President’s Lifetime Achievement awards were collected and submitted by Yukon band parent Susan O’Hara.

Honoree Don Rowe is a former YPS Board of Education member and honoree LaNese Cummings is Wells’ daughter.

The President’s Lifetime Achievement Award program encourages volunteerism across the U.S.

“This started back when volunteerism was really waning, and I think it still is,” Wells said. “We have a hard time getting volunteers. You ask somebody to do something, and they want to know how much they’re going to get paid.”

AmeriCorps is the federal agency for national service and volunteerism. Its mission is, “To improve lives strengthen communities, and foster civic engagement through service and volunteering.”