The Richmond Rose Garden honored our volunteers at the November 28th Volunteer Appreciation Reception at Forest Hills Country Club. There were 60 volunteers in attendance! During the evening there were 3 awards given for 2022 & 2023: Volunteer of the Year, Friend of the Garden, and Board Member of the Year.

The Volunteer of the Year Award is given annually to a current volunteer who provides significant enthusiasm and outstanding contribution to the Rose Garden through volunteer service.  The individual supports and upholds the mission of the Richmond Rose Garden and is consistently available and reliable. 

2022 Volunteer of the Year Award goes to Barb Shirden.

Barb has worked at the Rose Garden since she retired in 2009. She works not only in the retired teachers’ bed but also in the Petal and Stem bed. Many weeks she works a day in each. She faithfully comes to all the work days and if you check her hours each month she always has more than most. When she works she never complains even while taking off black spot. When she had her knees replaced she was right back volunteering as soon as she could, even with a cane.

2023 Volunteer of the Year Award goes to Randy Golden.

Randy manages a bed by himself and is always willing to help others out – sometimes putting their needs above his work in his own bed. He loves nature and leaves the lake to drive 20+ miles to work in the Rose Garden.

Randy shows up to help set up for events like Bloom and Glow and often brings additional help along.  He is a member of the Building and Grounds committee and has pitched in to help with projects like tree trimming, organizing the garden shed, setting up the bench around the east tree, and Neem oil drenching.

His mechanical expertise is greatly appreciated almost as much as his positive attitude.

The Friend of the Garden Award is given to an individual, family, business or corporation that is a current supporter of the Richmond Rose Garden that has given observable or measurable support to the Richmond Rose Garden.

2022 Friend of the Garden Award goes to Jim Dykes.

Jim serves as Assistant Superintendent of the Richmond Parks Department. Up until the pandemic, Jim regularly attended our Board meetings. Jim has been super supportive and helpful to our organization. Anytime we ask him for a need, he delivers. The past two years he assisted us with our fall cleanup by providing a huge dumpster to us at no charge. We want to thank Jim for his support.

2023 Friend of the Garden Award goes to the dynamic duo of Alison Zajdel and Leslie Bolser.

Alison serves as a Philanthropy Advocate for the Stamm Koechlein Family Foundation.  In this role, Alison helps nonprofit partners tackle everyday problems while looking for ways to help them expand their capacity.  When she partners with Leslie Bolser (another Richmond native), watch out!  These two women work incredibly well together and play off of each other’s strengths.  The two of them bring to the table a wealth of knowledge on building strong boards, fundraising best practices, and strategic planning.  They held zoom calls, mini board retreats, and strategic planning sessions with our board.  Thank you both for partnering with us and helping our organization have a plan for the future.

The Board Member of the Year Award is given to a current board member who demonstrates a continued interest in and support of the Richmond Rose Garden through the contribution of time, talent, and/or resources.  The board member is an advocate for our organization in the community, has good attendance to board meetings & committee members, and follows all board member responsibilities.

2022 Board Member of the Year Award goes to Jack Buckland. 

Jack has served 5 terms on the Rose Garden Board of Directors. He has been a volunteer in the Garden working in the Lions Bed for approximately 30 years. In fact, Jack began volunteering while he was still working at Belden. He became treasurer for us in 2017 as we grew larger and needed someone in that particular role to assist Amy Waltz at the Wayne County Foundation. Jack has been a dedicated Board member who is very passionate about the Rose Garden and our mission. He has witnessed much change over the years and continued to be a part of our organization.  My favorite part about Jack is that he always has a smile on his face.  Thanks, Jack for all that you do for the Richmond Rose Garden!

2023 Board Member of the Year Award goes to Beth Van Der Burgt.

Giving this award to Beth tonight is a real honor.  In my eyes, there is nobody more deserving of this award.  Over the years, she has been the one presenting the awards.  I am glad this year we can sit back and honor her.  Beth is the go to person in our community when it comes to the Garden.  She is well connected in the non-profit world and those connections have helped the Garden tremendously over the years.  Beth has worked tirelessly on raising funds for the Garden.  Because donor development is so important to her, she most recently volunteered to chair our new Development Committee. I think all of us who know Beth can agree that she is passionate.  She gets things done!  When a project is in front of her, she attacks it until it is finished. Beth not only coordinates big projects in the Garden – she also writes our grants, keeps up with our rose maps and identification, posts on social media, and sits on our finance, marketing, governance and executive committees.  Did I mention she also qualified to be a consulting rosarian?  Beth, I am honored tonight to give you the 2023 Board Member of the Year Award for your unwavering support of the Richmond Rose Garden through your contribution of time, talent & resources.  Thank you for always being an advocate for our Garden!