Unite! Washougal Community Coalition has named Lisa Bennett as its 2021 recipient of the “Heart of a Volunteer” Excellence Award.

“Lisa has many areas of involvement in our community,” explained Margaret McCarthy, Unite! Executive Director. “Her willingness to help support the vision and mission of Unite! Washougal has positively impacted our youth and families for healthier empowered lives.” Bennett also serves Washougal schools and her community as the district COVID compliance officer, National Honor Society advisor, volunteering at her church, and as an athletic trainer at Washougal High School helping to maintain healthy student athletes.

“I appreciate that Unite! Washougal supports existing resources and groups already providing services to our community,” said Bennett. “Unite! Washougal acts as a liaison between community partners to foster relationships that are beneficial not only to each organization but allows those partnerships to jointly service the youth and families of our community more efficiently.”

“Lisa is always willing to take on any task that UNITE offers,” said Wendy Butler, Student Assistance Professional – Prevention and Intervention at Canyon Creek Middle School and Jemtegaard Middle School.  “Whether she is leading the project or helping others, her willingness to work hard for our community always shines bright.  We are a stronger community because of her efforts.”

“A project which Lisa has spearheaded is our Semi-Annual Drug Take back to keep our homes, families, and environment safe from the effects of unused prescription drugs and opioids,” said McCarthy. “This collaborative effort has properly disposed of over 1,000 lbs. of expired or unused medications from the Washougal area.”

Also, as a part of Unite!, Bennett serves as a mentor on the Sources of Strength Resilience Promotion Team. “Lisa brings enthusiasm, caring, compassion, great ideas and impeccable follow through to every project and inspires others to work together for positive change with our youth and community,” said McCarthy. “We appreciate everything Lisa does to make a difference for others!”

Each Year, Unite! Washougal selects a recipient of the “Heart of a Volunteer” Excellence Award in memory of Gina L Farah (1965-2018). Farah was an integral member of the Unite! Coalition and exemplified the “Heart of a Volunteer” in all aspects of her involvement. She was known for her compassion and willingness to help others. Her passion and commitment focused on the mental health and wellness of our youth and families in the Washougal community.  Last year’s award recipient was Paul Greenlee with Washougal City Council.

“Gina was a wonderful mentor, and I am truly humbled to receive this award created in her memory,” said Bennett. “As I serve with Unite! Washougal, I strive to encourage students and families to live their best life. Washougal is a wonderful community and Unite! Washougal helps our youth to see we are truly better when we work together, play together, and serve together. I am thankful to be a small part of the great work being supported by this coalition.”