>NEARLY HALF A MILLION VOTES CAST FOR VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR

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 Darke County Commissioners sign proclamation declaring April 10 – 16 National Volunteer Week in Darke County during a meeting on April 4, 2011

The polls nearly came tumbling down for Hits 105.5 and HandsOn West Central Ohio, including the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, this weekend.

During only its second year, the Volunteer of the Year promotion sponsored by the two groups in honor of National Volunteer Week is seeing an overwhelming response by local residents casting votes for their favorite community change agents. Over 431,000 votes had been submitted for the 25 nominees from Darke, Logan, Miami and Shelby Counties as of 4 p.m. on Sunday. As a result, the website began reporting erroneous numbers to voters online. Hits 105.5 webmaster Nick Greve reported that the votes were coming in so fast that the website could not keep up with updates for public results, literally crashing the site’s polls. Despite the apparent glitch, Greve assured both groups that the integrity of the votes were maintained “behind the scenes” and that accurate vote tallies were readily available to promotion organizers. Voting for the nominees will continue through midnight on April 6, and staff from both Hits 105.5 and HandsOn West Central Ohio provided updates on the number of votes cast for each nominee during Monday morning Facebook posts and emails.

“The results that are coming in are awesome,” says Joe Laber, host of the Joe Show on Hits 105.5. “We’re at nearly half a million votes and we still have two more days of voting to go! That’s double the entire population of our four-county area.”

“What’s great about this award is that every single one of our 25 nominees is already a winner, and so is the community overall,” says Nicolette Winner, HandsOn West Central Ohio Director. “Not only are we thrilled to share the amazing stories of so many incredible people who make a difference, but we hope that at least one other person will be so inspired by these stories that they just have to start volunteering too. That’s what National Volunteer Week is all about… Celebrating people in action. People really can change the world, and they can start doing so right here at home.”

All nominees will be honored during a celebration of volunteers on April 11 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at A Learning Place in Piqua, with one overall winner announced for each county. Additional awards will be presented to the RSVP Volunteer of the Year, Corporate Good Citizen and Agency Partner of the Year for each county. HandsOn West Central Ohio will also honor one individual with the Voice for Volunteering award, recognizing the efforts of one prominent local citizen in encouraging volunteerism. More than 125 people are expected to attend this year’s celebration, which kicks off a weeklong celebration of National Volunteer Week.

For more information about HandsOn West Central Ohio, including the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, visit http://www.handsonwestcentralohio.org or follow the program on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/handsonwestcentralohio . Council on Rural Services …programs for innovative learning, provides education, support, and volunteer services through Kids Learning Place™, the Achievement Center for Educational Success, Gateway Youth Programs, and HandsOn West Central Ohio in their nine county service area. For more information on the organization and its programs call 937-778-5220 or visit www.councilonruralservices.org.

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