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posted: 1/13/2014 1:43 PM

Nominations open for Governor's Volunteer Service Awards

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Daily Herald staff report

Gov. Pat Quinn and the Serve Illinois Commission on Volunteerism and Community Service are accepting nominations through Jan. 31 for the annual Governor's Volunteer Service Awards.

The awards highlight the importance of volunteerism and community service in the state of Illinois by both individuals and businesses.

"The heart of America is the heart of a volunteer," Quinn said. "Our Volunteer Service Awards is one way of recognizing the volunteer stars whose energy and tireless compassion remind us how one person can truly make a difference."

According to Volunteering in America, at least 2.73 million Illinois residents performed some volunteer activity or community service in 2012, an impact valued at $6.6 billion.

Individual awards will be presented to one youth (18 years and under), one adult (19-54 years old) and one retiree/senior (55 years and older) in each of the Commission's five service regions across the state (Northeast, Northwest, East Central, West Central and Southern).

National Service Awards will be presented to one AmeriCorps and one Senior Corps member in each of the five regions. One award will be provided to a for-profit business in each of the five service regions. Within each category, applications will be given special priority based on six areas: economic opportunity, education, environmental conservation, disaster preparedness and response, health, and veterans affairs.

Visit for the nomination forms and more information. Recipients will be selected and notified by April 1. Quinn and the Serve Illinois Commission will host a ceremony to honor recipients on April 28 at the Executive Mansion in Springfield.

The Serve Illinois Commission is a 40-member, bipartisan board appointed by the Governor and administered by the Illinois Department of Human Services. Its mission is to improve Illinois communities by enhancing traditional volunteer activities and supporting national service programs, including the Illinois AmeriCorps program.