Cathy Varidel, pictured with her pet partner Gryphon, won the 2016 Volunteer of the Year award on Friday, April 22nd, at the Rome Council of Volunteer Administrators (COVA) luncheon honoring community volunteers.  Cathy and Gryphon were nominated by D’Ann Downey of Compassionate Paws, Inc.  Compassionate Paws volunteers and their pet partners visit nursing homes, hospitals, hospice patients, assisted living homes, schools, and libraries to aid in the improvement of physical, emotional, and psychological well-being as well as to provide comfort and companionship.  Cathy has been involved with Compassionate Paws since it’s inception in 2007 and she is currently serving as board vice president.  In support of her nomination, Janika Montgomery, Counselor at Glenwood Primary School, stated that Cathy and Gryphon provided critical support to the students and staff last year after two Glenwood teachers were tragically killed in a car accident.


The luncheon, held in the Spruill Ballroom at Berry College, recognized and honored community volunteers from the various COVA member agencies for their service work throughout the previous 12 months.  Nominees for this year’s award along with Cathy were Danielle Allen (Floyd Medical Center), Stacy Brown (The Exchange Club Family Resource Center), Doug Elkins (Floyd County CASA), Rachel Lafroscia (Berry Bonner Scholar Program/Harbor House), Gordon Leiter (Heyman HospiceCare at Floyd), Virginia McChesney (Habitat for Humanity), and Charlie Schroeder (DIGS, Inc.).


The Rome Council of Volunteer Administrators is a network of volunteer administrators and community leaders interested in volunteer management in the Rome/Floyd community.  Rome COVA strives to professionalize the field of volunteering by promoting effective leadership and management practices, resource development, diversity, training events, and networking opportunities. Rome COVA is the local branch of the Georgia Association of Volunteer Administrators, a non-profit organization dedicated to increasing the effectiveness of volunteerism within Georgia.