At a gala held to celebrate those that help Big Brothers Big Sisters with its mission to help mentor youth, four volunteers were recognized for their efforts.
Brody Hinz recieved youth of the year, Becky Zimmer received mentor of the year, Kevin Grieman received volunteer of the year and Judy Plag of the Bella Vista Inn received the champion award.
“The awards are important because we need to recognize the people that help us make a difference in the life of a child,” said Jodie Hergott, the organization's executive director, who added it was hard to chose four people among the many volunteers that aid the organization.
Hinz was a part of Big Brothers Big Sisters for most of his life. He was active in the community, volunteering for school activities, church, the soup kitchen and more. He was also the team statistician for the Humboldt Broncos and was one of those that died in the events of April 6.
“He joined when he was about eight years old and he was going to be a big brother this year after he graduated from high school,” said his mother Darlene Hinz. “He loved working with the little ones and that’s why he kept staying on with the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization.”
Darlene said she was really happy to receive the award on behalf of her son.
“He won it four years ago and I was quite surprised but really happy he won it again this year.”
Zimmer has been matched with Hannah Mulhern since January 2017. The mentor is not only a source of support and encouragement for Mulhern but is also is the first to volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters’ projects.
“Hannah makes the job so easy that it almost feels like, ‘why me?’ because it doesn’t feel like work,” she said. “It feels like something fun. I just feel really happy to be there for Hannah. She makes the big sister/little sister connection so much fun.”
Zimmer said her efforts in the organization are worth the investment.
“They become better people for having a mentor and that is something I want to contribute to, especially with Hannah in making sure she has a full and enriching life.”
For more than 13 years, Grieman has been supporting Big Brothers Big Sisters by doing their print jobs, helping them with computer technical support and supporting the Bowl for Kids Sake.
“I was pretty humbled about it. I just wasn’t expecting it because it’s just something that I do,” he said. “I just like to volunteer, help out organizations in the community. It’s just something I’ve done all my life. I was quite shocked I was getting an award for doing that.”
Plag and the Bella Vista Inn help support many of Big Brothers Big Sisters’ fundraisers, donating and reducing the cost of their services.
“If Judy were here,” said Carla Flasko, who represented her at the awards, “she would say, ‘I’m just doing what I’m supposed to. I don’t deserve this.’”
Big Brothers Big Sisters is also looking for more big siblings to mentor local children.
“Twenty-two littles waiting is too high of a number and we need to do more to contribute to the youth in Humboldt and becoming a big is first step in that,” Zimmer said, adding that mentoring is a worthwhile job and people have more to give to youth than they think.