Individuals Honored During National Volunteer Appreciation Week

Throughout Volunteer Appreciation Week, April 16th – 22nd, 2023, Rebuild Upstate honors volunteers and entities for their commitment and service.

In this blog post, awards featured are traditionally made to community leaders and individuals for volunteerism. Read about entities, businesses, and churches here.


Golder Hammer Award

Awarded to Kevin Risden

The Golden Hammer is awarded to an outstanding individual volunteer who has volunteered their time on the build site. This individual goes above and beyond to help our operations team complete home repair projects.

Kevin is always ready to lead groups, learn new skills, and serve our community with his fun spirit. Our staff, volunteers, and homeowners appreciate Kevin. If a concern arises while on site, he handles it gracefully. We are excited to award Kevin Risden the Golden Hammer for his service in 2022.


Home Base Helper

Awarded to Don Davis

The Home Base Helper Award is awarded to a single volunteer whose work at our own home, our office, was pivotal to the success of our operations.

Don is an office superstar! He began volunteering with office-type work in 2020. Whether he enters data for program applications, calls homeowners, or takes program surveys, he embodies joyful service and always lends a helping hand. Don is gracious and always has a compliment ready about the very-average coffee provided in the office.


Founder’s Award

Awarded to Chip Reaves

The Founder’s Award is awarded to a person or entity whose contributions are pivotal and vital to the organization’s success. 

Chip’s leadership has been unparalleled. He guided us through COVID and stepped up to serve twice as much time as the Board chair. His dedication has been integral to our growth in Anderson. Chip also championed our search for a new, full-time CEO. We’re grateful for Chip’s volunteerism.


Outstanding Volunteer

Awarded to Bob Hannah, Stephan and Karen Hamel, Stacy Sargent, Paul Wodecki

The Outstanding Volunteer award goes to diligent volunteers who show leadership skills and stand out among their peers.

Bob Hannah always has our back! He’s eager to sign up to lead build days each month and always helps when asked. Volunteer groups consistently sing his praise, and for a good reason.

Steve and Karen Hamel have made incredible improvements to our tool trailers. If you volunteered last year, you benefitted from their weekly volunteerism and attention to detail. Their faithful volunteerism allows us to use all 6 of our trailers continuously. 

Stacy Sargent assembled her own crew of HMC members. The Thursday crew is invaluable to us. She and her team show up consistently and are known for wrapping our projects with precision and tidiness. She’s a pinch hitter for RU, helping lead an occasional site. Stacy is an advocate for our homeowners. She’s been known to find other ways to help them when able, like helping with their pets, helping them troubleshoot other problems around their home, spending time with them outside of build days, and becoming a valued and trusted friend to the people she serves.

Paul Wodecki heads up our Tuesday Handyman Crew. He’s known for his drive to get projects done and done right. His detailed communications ensure the next day’s Handyman Club crew has the materials and information they need, always setting them up for success.


Young Professional of the Year

Awarded to Shawn Potwardowski

The Young Professional of the Year Award is awarded to an outstanding young professional who significantly contributes time and talent.

Shawn brings energy and heart to Rebuild Upstate’s Greenville advisory council. Beyond participation in meetings, he showed up early to Wake Up with Rebuild early to help us set up and ensure our guests felt welcome. We are so grateful for his insight and care for our community. He has a great attitude on each build, taking on any task we ask, from demoing structures to installing new windows, siding, and ramp building. He is thoughtful and compassionate to our homeowners and a joy to serve with.


RSVP Award: Anderson County Volunteer

Awarded to Mark Hyndman

The RSVP-Anderson County Award is given to an individual who advocates for our mission and engages older adult volunteers in Anderson County.

Mark is a hardworking and dedicated volunteer who goes above and beyond. Last year, he led groups on builds for multiple days in a row. On several occasions, Mark has spent an entire week working on a single house. Mark’s joyful service and “can do” attitude makes him a pleasure to work with. Rebuild Upstate is honored to have Mark Hyndman as one of our RSVP volunteers.

Foundational Supporters

Awarded to Megan Finnern & John Boyanski

The Foundational Supporters award recognizes individuals who use their time, talents, voice, and/or resources in an “above and beyond” and multi-year effort to advance our mission. This is Rebuild Upstate’s Hall of Fame.

Megan Finnern is our Immediate Past Chair of the Board, served two full terms, is currently in a bonus year on the board – and she’s been actively supporting Rebuild Upstate for even longer than that. She was instrumental in our rebranding as Rebuild Upstate. She chaired our board through the first ever CEO transition. Her long-running dedication to the organization and her seemingly tireless work last year are just some of the reasons that she is joining our “hall of fame.”

John Boyanoski has served as Board Chair and as a two-term board member for Rebuild Upstate. For even longer than that, John has provided public relations guidance and services through his company Complete PR. His efforts on behalf of Rebuild Upstate have helped promote our brand and make us more recognizable – which is incredibly important for any organization. John was not able to join us tonight, so we’ll be delivering John’s award to him in person.

Home Repair Warriors

Home Repair Warriors bring our mission to life. These volunteers may serve in the office, on-site, or as an advocate in the community. Wherever they are, their personal contributions deeply impact the entire upstate community. Earned by volunteering 50+ hours, these volunteers made substantial time contributions in 2022.

300+ Hours

  • Paul Wodecki, 421 | Stephan Hamel, 311 | Jesse Trout, 305

150 – 299 Hours

Forest Britt, 293  Doug Greenwell, 250  |  Walt Laiewski, 236  |  Jay Valachovic, 236  Michael Mathers, 234  |  Karen Hamel, 226  |  Ron Beaudoin, 211

100 – 149 Hours

Tom Caudill, 191  |  Tom Lappin, 186  |  Kenneth Sargent, 177  Chip Reaves, 163  |  Doug Stephens, 146  |  Stacy Sargent, 145  |  Donald Davis, 141  |  Dottie Kimbrell, 137  |  Bill Schmidt, 136  Megan Finnern, 130  |  Gordon Bell, 128  |  Bob Hannah, 107  |  Don Shaw, 101

50 – 99 Hours

Preston Oglesby, 99  |  Mark Hyndman, 92  |  Alan Hydrick, 81  |  John Geck, 79  |  Skip Redman, 75  |  Justin Felker, 72  |  Graham Proffitt, 67  |  Nicole Kulick, 60  |  Johnathan Hill, 58  |  Joe Medlock, 58  |  Anna Spangler, 57  |  Kathleen Hodges, 55  |  Ray Tinkler, 54  |  Betty Beaudoin, 51  |  Tom Fruhwirth, 50  |  Kevin Risden, 50  |  Tom Carlsen, 50


Thank you for your commitment and service.