By Dick Hagerty, Advisory board member
Community recognition awards are an important way to get the story of your local Salvation Army work before the public in a meaningful and effective manner.
And, now that the year’s end is approaching, advisory boards and councils should be considering ways to showcase these honors at annual year-end events, which generally occur around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holiday season.
The most important award given at the local level is The Others Award. This award must be saved for very special people in the local programs of the Army.
However, several dangers lie in wait for the board or officer that has not properly done homework on whom to bestow this important honor.
Some years back we made a grand announcement and bestowed this award upon a local long-time board member. When this gentleman came to accept the award his comment sent chills down my spine, “Thank you for this great honor. It is just as meaningful to me this time as the last time you gave me this same award.”
Oops! How did this happen? How embarrassing to realize, too late, that you have made a major mistake. Not only that, but the next year, in our neighboring community they gave the award to a recipient that basically made the same speech. He too was accepting the award for the second time.
Recently a new officer to our community called me and said, “I want to give The Others Award to Bob.” I replied, “Well, two problems here. First, we gave it to Bob a couple years ago, and second, in this community our committee recommends the award, not the officer.”
While that may sound just a bit aggressive for a local advisory organization—it is important because the officer has no history with prior recipients, local past history of the person in the community, and so on.
Here are the written criteria that we have adopted relative to The Others Award:
- Given in recognition of unique and meritorious service to The Salvation Army and to our community
- Solely determined by the “Others Committee,” which is composed of all the living past recipients of the award
- Given no more than once a year
- Not necessary to give the award each year
- Ideally will alternate between internal (board) and external (community) recipients
- Never given twice to the same person
- Nomination process
Committee recommends (officer may recommend to committee)
Executive committee approves and recommends to full board
Full board approves
Commanding officer approves
Territory gives final approval.
Attached to our written criteria is a chronological listing of all prior recipients. It is just amazing how quickly this information can be lost or forgotten, and then the frustration begins in trying to remember whether or not the nominee is truly eligible.
There are more ways that supporters and volunteers may be honored, to a lesser degree, and these too should be pursued. We create our own recognition plaques, with the Army logo, and simply inscribe these as “community recognition award.”
The annual dinner or meeting should also be a time to honor any new inductees into your life member category. We consider this category to be as meaningful and important as The Others Award, but it is obviously limited to advisory board members, not to the community at large.
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for a complete copy of “The First 30 Days” or to discuss community or advisory board topics, including items to address in this column.