Friday, August 24, 2012
Moneta volunteer receives national award
Betty Lesko honored for service to community.
Betty Lesko of Moneta has received the American Cancer Society's St. George National Award for outstanding service to the community for her support of the organization's mission to combat cancer.
Lesko is one of 26 recipients who were chosen for ongoing leadership, time commitment and dedication to areas such as mission delivery, patient support, legislative advocacy, fundraising and event engagement.
Nominees for the award must have dedicated at least six years to the fight against cancer and have significantly contributed to advancing the ACS mission, according to a news release. The award has been presented annually since it was conceived in 1949 by Dr. Charles S. Cameron, former ACS medical and scientific director.
Lesko, a 23-year volunteer for the American Cancer Society, has created a legacy in expanding the mission, fundraising, volunteer engagement and community presence in the Roanoke Valley. By the time she completed the first six years of volunteering, she was serving on the organization's local board of directors and volunteer leadership council and helped co-found the Roanoke Valley Discovery Shop.
The shop offers quality new and gently used merchandise, including clothing, jewelry, furniture, collectibles and home goods. In 2007, Lesko helped open a second shop selling furniture only at Smith Mountain Lake. With Lesko's leadership, the Smith Mountain Lake Discovery Shop has became a hub for local volunteers and cancer patients seeking support and guidance.
The two shops have generated more than $4.5 million for the American Cancer Society's programs and services for cancer patients and caregivers; research to improve early detection, prevention and treatment options; and cancer education and support for cancer-related legislation.
Lesko through the years has recruited other community members to volunteer for the shops and local events, including the Pink Ribbon Tea Fashion Show, now a Gathering Luncheon, to benefit the ACS, and to serve on the society's volunteer leadership council.
Lesko was honored with the Volunteer Involvement Award from the society's Roanoke Valley Unit in 2000.
"The St. George National Award recipients share a passion with the American Cancer Society for helping to create a world with less cancer and more birthdays," said Dr. W. Phil Evans, president of the American Cancer Society. "We are proud to honor volunteers like Betty Lesko for their exemplary service to the society's mission."