June 1 - 7, 2020

Volunteer of the Year


photo of Bill and Ginny Harrison

Ginny began her volunteer work with Nationwide Children's Hospital in 1989 after being a nurse in the Heart Surgery unit early in her career. Being from the Dublin area, she felt it was a great way to help the local community and to make a difference in the lives of children. She began her Tournament volunteer efforts with our Courtesy Car committee for over a decade, and then as she was blessed with children and grandchildren, she decided to try new areas of volunteering. She elected to volunteer in Cub Care and Bears for Children's. Ginny has volunteered for nearly 24 years with the Memorial Tournament, and she and Bill have been part of the Bears volunteer family for the past 7 years at the Sawmill Kroger location. They wanted to volunteer together in a capacity that would yield the most benefit to the hospital, and felt that Bears was just that team.

Each year that we kick off Bear's Weekend, it's now a tradition to see Bill and Ginny at their post 30 minutes before each shift like clockwork. Setting up their stations for optimal engagement with each customer and preparing the other volunteers for a great day of service. They have a great system that allows both of them to use their individual gifts. Bill takes the sales role and Ginny take the accountant role. Bill starts by consistently training each new volunteer on how to connect with the community, and share our cause for Nationwide Children's Hospital. He gives tips and first hand demonstrations until the volunteer is comfortable with the process. He brings the Bear to life with his ability to maneuver it in puppet fashion with one hand while engaging the customer about Paws for a Cause.

He introduces Ginny as they transition the customer to the final stage of the sale or donation. Ginny's listens intently as the customer shares their detail and often times their story. Her accounting skills are always 100% accurate at the close of each shift and not one detail is left undone! Their leadership in both of these capacities is truly excellent and one that we often share as an example for new volunteers or recruits each year.

Although they both are naturals at serving in these capacities, they have shared this is not the best part of the experience. The most memorable experiences are when you meet the children that you help. Their eyes light up when they recognize our cause and they are able to share that they also received a Bear and their story. It makes it all worthwhile, stated Bill. Our goal is to raise as much money as possible for the hospital and these kids are why we do it said Ginny.

Another reason Bill and Ginny volunteer is to ensure that other children receive the same or better care than their own family has received over the years. The nurses and doctors that care for our children in the hospital are like "Angels" and partnering with a program such as Bears allows everyone to win in their eyes.

The years of dedication, passion and heartfelt commitment to make a difference in the lives of the children in our community make the Harrison's our choice for volunteer of the year! Thank you for being part of the Bear's volunteer family and for all you do!

About the Award

Volunteers are at the heart of the Memorial Tournament’s dedication to the Memorial Tournament Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Nationwide Children’s Hospital. Every year thousands of volunteers share their passion for helping others by giving their time and talents to the success of the Tournament.

More than thirty Nationwide Children's Hospital Auxilians serve on the the Memorial Tournament Volunteer Committee, benefiting Nationwide Children's Hospital. They are responsible for recruiting, scheduling and managing volunteers throughout the Tournament. This dedicated committee, representing the Memorial Tournament and Nationwide Children's Hospital, works to ensure professionalism from all Tournament volunteers.

For every hour worked by one of the volunteers of the Memorial Tournament Volunteer Committee, a donation is made to the Memorial Tournament NICU. It is in recognition of these selfless men and women that the Tournament annually honors an individual as the Volunteer of the Year.

The program began in 2003 and has since celebrated a recipient of the coveted award each year.

The Memorial Tournament Volunteer Committee kicks off the nomination process each year by requesting that each of the 15 committees recommend potential candidates. From those recommendations the top three candidates are chosen and voted on by a select committee of Tournament Officials. The Volunteer of the year is formally announced each May just prior to the start of Tournament week.

The Memorial's Volunteer of the Year award is supported by: