Jo Ann Arnold, an avid local volunteer on multiple fronts, is the winner of the 32nd annual Helen B. Clark Award for Skagway Community Service.
The award was presented to “Mama Jo” as a surprise at the annual party at Bea Lingle’s home on New Year’s Day.
Here are excerpts from her nominating statement by Dustin Stone, which was read during the presentation:
“I can’t think of anyone who deserves to be recognized for her community service more than ‘Mama Jo.’ She is a tireless volunteer for both the Elks and Emblem clubs, and also donates her time to the Eagles, Chamber of Commerce and Skagway Women Bowlers Club.
“In the years that I have known her, I have never seen her take a full day off. If she isn’t working, she can be found grilling burgers at the softball field, preparing lunch for Clean Sweep volunteers, soliciting donations for charity raffles, selling 50/50 tickets, baking cookies for veterans, running Emblem club meetings, and checking on the welfare of local senior citizens… to name just a few of her regular activities.
“When older members of the community need a hand at home, Jo is always quick to offer her help with cleaning, yard work or whatever else needs done. When the job is too big for her alone, she is quick to organize a work party, drawing in young strong backs with the promise of barbecue and beer.
“We call her ‘Mama Jo,’ because she is a mother to all who need her. Her house is never empty, because she will never turn her back on any of her ‘kids’ when they need a warm bed and a roof over their heads.
“ She will run herself ragged before ever saying ‘no’ to a request to volunteer. She consistently puts the well-being of others before her own and never asks for recognition. Jo Ann does good deeds simply because she is a good person.”The late
Helen Clark was the first recipient of Skagway’s Community Service Award and agreed to have future awards named for her so generations would remember her volunteer spirit. The award recognizes outstanding volunteer deeds or service to the community.
It is jointly sponsored by the Skagway Book Co. and The Skagway News. Every fall nomination letters are accepted from the public and then a committee of past winners reviews nominations from the past five years and selects a winner.