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Front Page - Friday, February 2, 2018

Tennessee Aquarium volunteer receives statewide recognition

Tennessee Aquarium volunteer Deborah Williams working in the Ocean Journey food prep kitchen preparing diets for saltwater animals. - Photographs provided

Long-time volunteer Deborah Williams has been named Hamilton County’s adult winner for this year’s Governor’s Volunteer Stars Awards. The award is by nomination and seeks “to recognize outstanding volunteers from each of Tennessee’s 95 counties.”

The GVSA’s statewide recognition event will take place on March 11 in Nashville.

A former real estate agent and lawyer, Williams has been volunteering at the Aquarium since October 2008. To date, she has contributed more than 2,400 hours of her time, including stints in food preparation and leading behind-the-scenes tours in both buildings.

The Aquarium has a pool of about 500 active volunteers who contribute more than 60,000 hours of their time each year to the tasks ranging from visitor engagement and dive presentations to food preparation and guided tours.

Williams says she was “shocked” at hearing she had won the award but credited the Aquarium for giving her an opportunity to serve. Those hundreds of hours, she says, were exceptionally well-spent.

“The people here are amazing,” she adds. “It’s fun to be in a beautiful place like this and show the guests the wonder of nature and educate them.”

Those interested in volunteering at the Aquarium can apply for the next seasonal docent drive, which begins April 16. Chosen applicants will be scheduled to volunteer on weekends between Memorial Day (May 28) and Labor Day (Sept. 3). Information, online application: www.tnaqua.org/volunteer-opportunities/docent-volunteers.

Source: Tennessee Aquarium