A Worthy Honor

Late last week, the piece of document above was placed in my hands.  I’m not one to publicly announce to the world anything about myself.  That’s not how I roll.  I’ll tell a few people who would be interested in knowing about it because they are people who care about the community and are willing to devote part of their time and their lives to helping their fellow citizens.  Secondly, they support and encourage giving back to the community, whether you are successful or you don’t have a lot but want to give anyway.

I’m humbled by receiving this award for my current position as a volunteer and a board member for the American Diabetes Association.  As I begin my 7th year with American Diabetes, each day has been an education for me.  Not as someone who serves, but as someone who has lived with diabetes myself.  I’m not a perfect diabetic, but you learn each day how to live with the physical, emotional, mental, and spiritual challenges with a life-long chronic disease. 

Since the award ceremony Thursday morning at S.E. Polk High School, a few people have congratulated me, and then added that my award was “sullied” or taken a notch down because of the person who handed me the award:  the governor. 

I don’t care who is giving me the award. 

The main thing is that there are volunteers across this state, in this country, and worldwide who deserves to be honored and recognized for what they do, regardless of their political, religious, or different ideologies.  The fact that a governor, a mayor, or the President is honoring you is a major deal. 

For anyone to complain about who was giving out the award, that person has “stolen” the moment for that worthy individual.  That person “stole” my moment by not focusing on what I did to be honored, by whining about who handed out the award. 

Additionally, to hear comments about “well, I find it ironic that it’s Branstad giving you this award…” is an insult and exudes pettiness.  Rather than saying “congratulations” and leaving it right there, those comments makes that person and their achievement hollow and meaningless. 

If it was Bob Ray, Tom Vilsack, or Chet Culver, I’m just as happy to receive the Volunteer Award as much as I was getting it from Terry Branstad last Thursday. 

Everyone should appreciate and laud people are being saluted for doing good works, not politically obsessing about who’s giving the honor. 

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2 thoughts on “A Worthy Honor

  1. A friend of mine who is a peace activist and who makes Che Guevara look like Rush Limbaugh won an award from President GW Bush for his volunteerism during the ’04 Presidential campaign. He took the award and didn’t say anything, able to separate the award from the politics.

    Bravo, Romelle! Take the award and take it with pride!

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