Jennifer Zupp-Smith was honored Thursday morning as the Chamber & Development Council (CDC) of Crawford County’s Volunteer of the Year.
In fact, she received a record number of nominations for the annual award – 10, said CDC Executive Director Evan Blakley.
Zupp-Smith was nominated for initiating, spearheading and carrying to completion the renovation of the mini golf course at the Denison Aquatic Center. That project started last fall and was completed on August 3, with a grand opening celebrated on August 9.
Reading from nomination submissions, Blakley said of Zupp-Smith, “This person is defined not only as an excellent business professional but also a parent who balances those roles quite nicely. This individual spent countless hours away from family, away from home and work in an effort to benefit our entire population.”
Another nomination submission said Zupp-Smith has a heart of gold, a generous heart and spirit and a desire to make her community the best it can be.
She is said to be a person who has the ability to bring different members of the community together to achieve a common goal, which is a quality of a true leader. Zupp-Smith worked from start to finish on the logistics of the project, coordinated the volunteers, got the supplies and equipment lined up, did the design and did the fundraising.
She also serves on the Norelius Community Library Board and is involved in many youth activities.
“She provided a welcoming opportunity for other community members to participate where they could learn and grow by interacting with others,” Blakley said. “Their efforts and success on rejuvenating the mini golf course at the Denison Aquatic Center was astonishing. This person gave countless hours of her blood, sweat and heart in getting this project started, and her dedication to getting it finished was second to none.”
Zupp-Smith expressed gratitude for receiving the award but said she didn’t anticipate winning any kind of award for the work because it was a labor of love.
“It’s not something that would have been done by myself. It definitely took the whole community to come together, and I’m just really proud of being a part of it,” she said.
She said her sister, Jessica, was just as involved in the project as she was. She also thanked the staff at her law office and thanked her husband, Brian.
“At the end of the day, I just think it’s a good project for the whole community and most importantly, an example for our youth to see and just look around in their own neighborhood to see where they can make some improvement,” Zupp-Smith said.
She later added, “I humbly accept the award but it is truly on behalf of everybody in the community.”