Smith honored as year’s volunteer

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 12, 1999

Features Editor

Dianne Smith doesn’t volunteer her time and efforts to the March of Dimes for any recognition she gets, but when it comes, she is most appreciative.

Smith was named the March of Dimes Volunteer of the Year for the Alabama Central Division which includes Pike, Montgomery, Crenshaw, Lee, Autauga, Elmore and Bullock counties.

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The award was presented at the annual meeting of the Alabama March of Dimes Dec. 2 in Montgomery. It came as a total surprise to Smith who didn’t even know she had been nominated.

"This was a big honor for me," Smith said. "It is always nice to be recognized for the work you do and I really appreciate the recognition and the honor. I enjoy working with the March of Dimes and the real reward is the satisfaction I get from doing something to help others."

Smith, administrator of Pike Manor Health Care Center, started working with the March of Dimes five years ago as a team captain for Pike Manor’s fund raising efforts. Her involvement increased two years ago through WalkAmerica."

In 1998, she was team walk chairperson for WalkAmerica and was responsible for recruiting teams. In 1999, Smith was chairperson for the Pike County March of Dimes which included WalkAmerica and the Blue Jeans for Babies campaigns.

Under her leadership, the WalkAmerica event raised $40,000 and Blue Jeans for Babies netted more than $6,000.

"Pike County has always been supportive of the March of Dimes campaigns and the fundraisers of other organizations," Smith said. "That says a lot about the caring spirit of our people because we all ask basically the same people for donations. We appreciate the outstanding local support for the March of Dimes and so much has been done in the effort to save babies but there is still much more to be done."

In an average 8-hour workday 3,554 babies are born. Of those, 262 babies are born low birthweight, 138 are born to mothers who received late or no prenatal care, 137 are born with a birth defect and six babies die as a result of a birth defect.

Smith said thanks to the March of Dimes, more babies are surviving the ravaging effects of birth defects and are being given the chance to live a healthy life.

The more Smith learns about the work of the March of Dimes and the good that the organization does, the more committed she is as a volunteer.

Smith attended the March of Dimes National Leadership Conference in Washington, D. C. in October and was inspired and motivated by what she saw and heard.

"We met with volunteers from the other states and learned about their fundraising efforts," she said. "We learned, too, about the genetic research that is underway that will hopefully result in breakthroughs so that one day all babies are born healthy."