Nominations still open for Gate City Light Award

NASHUA – Nashua is a city often recognized for its welcoming and vibrant community. The city is filled with organizations and volunteers who constantly work toward the greater good.

The city will soon celebrate volunteers in honor of National Volunteer Week, which will take place April 7-13. Locally, the Mayor’s Volunteer Recognition Committee will bestow its annual Gate City Light Award. The award recognizes an agency and its volunteers for its dedication to the community and for making a significant impact.

The mission of the Mayor’s Volunteer Recognition Committee is to “recognize Nashua volunteers and enhance the quality of volunteer programs while providing supportive, professional network of colleagues.” The committee is accepting nominations from the community for local nonprofit organizations that are worthy of receiving public recognition through March 8. Those who are interested in nominating an agency can visit https://freeonlinesurveys.com/s/X5up9Ste#!/0 where questions can be found regarding the background of the organization, its mission and its volunteers. Forms can also be dropped off at Nashua Mayor Jim Donchess’ Office with the following address: Gate City Light Award, 229 Main St., Nashua, NH 03060.

Nonprofits are also invited to nominate their volunteer programs for recognition.

The Gate City Light award has been given out annually since 2006. The most recent recipient is the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter. Sean Nelson, chair of the Mayor’s volunteer recognition committee, said it is difficult to distinguish what drives on organization to the top of the list when there are so many organizations that work to better the city. Nelson said last year the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter was picked because of the way the nominee painted an accurate picture of its volunteers.

“There’s a lot of great work going on in the community,” Nelson said. He said in addition to the Gate City Light Award, the committee recognizes individual volunteers on its Facebook page. Nelson said through this, they hope to increase people awareness about volunteerism.

“At the end of the day, we give an award away and hope this triggers someone to volunteer in the city,” Nelson said.

He added, “Volunteerism is essential to our community.”

Nelson also serves as Nashua Police Athletic League’s executive director. Nelson said he works with hundreds of volunteers per year.

“I get to partner with a lot of agencies and see how individual agencies volunteer,” Nelson said.

Nelson said there are a dozen members of the Mayor’s committee, some who represent the United Way of Greater Nashua, the Nashua Soup Kitchen & Shelter, the Adult Learning Center and other agencies.

Nelson said through the years, the number of nominations increased.

“The more folks we have nominated, the more we see doing good for the community,” Nelson said.