Washington, DC, – In celebration of her extraordinary contributions to and selfless work within the community, Karen Vogt was honored this evening at a Washington, D.C. awards gala. The event recognized 90 Americans with the 42nd annual Jefferson Awards, regarded as one of the nation’s highest honors for community service and volunteerism.
Known as the country’s longest standing and most prestigious organization dedicated to activating and celebrating public service, the awards are presented each year over three days of ceremonies in the nation’s capital. A broad array of honorees are recognized – from high-profile individuals who have dedicated the better part of their lives to public service to celebrated professional athletes to largely unheralded community-based volunteers. Also recognized are organizations and companies that represent the pinnacle in corporate citizenship and youth that best reflect the Jeffersonian ideals of citizen involvement.
Grassroots recipients are selected through local media partners in markets throughout the country. Karen Vogt was selected by WXOW-TV. In Washington, five of the 49 winners will be selected as recipients of the Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Award, recognizing extraordinary and selfless volunteer work in their local community.
Since 2010, Karen can be found at Gundersen’s Clinic Information Desk. Helping patients locate their doctor’s office, riding with them in the elevator, or even finding their car in the parking ramp, she has documented over 1,500 hours of service. Karen first came to Gundersen when her sister was undergoing cancer treatments. So impressed with the care her sister had received at the end of her life, Karen wanted to find a way to give back. When not at Gundersen, Karen volunteers with the YWCA’s Court Appointed Special Advocates program, advocating for children involved in the court system due to cases of abuse and neglect. In her four years with the program, she has helped 17 children.
This year’s honorees also include Greatest Public Servants: The Honorable Gabrielle Giffords, Charles Best, Dr. Pedro José Greer, Jr., Jack Andraka, and NFL Legend James Thrash.
“Our nation’s greatness is derived in large measure from its goodness – from the largely unheralded yet noble Americans whose commitment to helping others embodies the founding ideals of our democracy,” said Sam Beard, founder and president of The Jefferson Awards Foundation. “The Jefferson Awards serve to celebrate those among us whose selflessness, altruism and generosity of spirit represent the best of America. The tireless work of individuals such as Karen Vogt not only improves their own communities but serves to dignify our nation as a whole. We owe them our thanks and offer these congratulations.”
The 2014 grassroots awards celebration starts on Monday, June 16th in the Grand Ballroom of the Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Washington, D.C. with Kathleen Kennedy Townsend, former Lt. Governor of Maryland, serving as Mistress of Ceremonies. National awards are being presented at two events with the first one on Tuesday hosted by Nancy Cordes, CBS News’ Congressional Correspondent. The second event, held on Wednesday, June 18 at Arena Stage, will be hosted by Bill Plante, CBS’ Senior White House Correspondent. The recipients will also have the opportunity to meet and by congratulated by their U.S. Senators on Capitol Hill.