Mary C. Russo, director of the Virginia Beach Office of Volunteer Resources for the past 35 years, will be honored next month with the Division Leadership Award by the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce.
The award honors one volunteer from each city in South Hampton Roads who “sets a standard for making service a central part of their lives for the betterment of individuals and the community.”
Russo founded the city’s volunteer office in 1978 and has been its only director ever since. From her office in City Hall and from her iPad at home, Russo coordinates the efforts of more than 20,000 volunteers who contribute more than 1.4 million hours of work each year. City volunteers staff ambulances, coach sports leagues, read to children, keep roads and parks clean, and help the elderly and handicapped, among many other activities.
These volunteers save city taxpayers more than $20 million by generously performing for free work that would otherwise require 682 full-time city employees.
“Mary has graciously given the better part of her 87 years to serving her community,” City Manager James K. Spore said. “She is an inspiring example for all Virginia Beach residents. Our city is a kinder, more beautiful and more generous place because of her efforts.”
Russo will be honored at the chamber’s annual meeting Dec. 11 at the Founders Inn.
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