The Hometown Hero award is given annually recognize someone who is generally unrecognized for their volunteer contributions to the community. The Award was created in 1999 to replace the Lioness of the Year award, given annually to the wife of a member of the Grand Junction Lions Club. The Board decided that it was no longer appropriate to honor a “Lioness” of the year due to the inclusion of female members in the Lions Club.
The award recipient is decided upon by the Hometown Hero Committee of the Grand Junction Lions Club. The committee is appointed by the Club President. The President shall also appoint the Chair or Chairs.
Generally, the award goes to an individual (in rare cases, a couple) who has spent a great deal of time and effort in support of some cause or meeting some need in the community. The award is intended to honor someone who is not well-known to the community as a whole, whose work has not been recognized, and whose efforts are generally unsung. While the recipient is frequently retired, the honor is for their volunteerism prior to retirement (balancing service with work and family obligations). In short, individuals finding time in their busy lives to volunteer.
The award is intended to be presented each autumn (September to November) at a regular meeting of the Grand Junction Lions Club. The name of the recipient is intended to be kept secret until the presentation is being made, and every effort should be made to keep the recipient from realizing they are attending the Lions Club meeting to receive an award. The award meeting date varies to give the committee flexibility as well as to keep the recipient from knowing they are being honored.
The honoree receives: $1,000 donation to the charity of their choice; a personal plaque of appreciation; a personal copy of the video presentation and script used at the ceremony; individual recognition in the Lions Display Case at Two Rivers Convention Center; and as much publicity and public recognition from the media as possible. The honoree becomes the Grand Marshall at the following year’s Carnival Parade. All past recipients are invited to each year’s award ceremony.
While it is difficult to describe exactly who would qualify, there are many specific qualities to be honored (as well as some specific disqualifications):
The award cannot go to a member of the Grand Junction Lions Club, nor the spouse/significant other of a Lion
The award cannot go to someone who is paid for the work for which they will be honored (though the volunteer work may be directly related to their professional work)
The award should go to someone whose volunteer efforts are in addition to their work and family responsibilities (in other words, not someone whose efforts came only or primarily after they retired)
The award is for actual personal effort, rather than serving on boards or other leadership bodies
The award cannot go to someone in elected office to honor them for that service in office
The award should honor a long history of contributions, such as several years, rather than a short time or a single major effort
The award should honor someone within the greater Grand Junction area, since that is the region served by the Grand Junction Lions Club