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ORAU Employee Receives Presidential Recognition for More Than 4,800 Hours of Volunteer Service

July 9, 2007

Oak Ridge, Tenn.—For some, volunteering is simply a desire to help others in need. But for Donna Averion-Laird of Oak Ridge Associated Universities’ office at Aberdeen Proving Ground, volunteering has a special significance close to her heart. Inspired to earn certification as an Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) after learning her daughter was born with a cardiac problem, Averion-Laird was recently presented the President’s Volunteer Service Award for volunteering more than 4,800 hours to providing emergency medical care to the Abingdon (Md.) community.

In 2003, the President's Council on Service and Civic Participation created the President's Volunteer Service Award program as a way to thank and honor Americans who, by their demonstrated commitment and example, inspire others to engage in volunteer service. The award recognizes individuals, families, and groups that have achieved a certain standard, which is measured by the number of hours served over a 12-month period or cumulative hours earned over the course of a lifetime.

"Shortly after receiving certification, my daughter was given a clean bill of health," Averion-Laird said. "Not wanting to let all of my hard work go to waste, I thought surely there must be people in the local community I could help."

Donna Averion-Laird

Donna Averion-Laird (pictured above, left) was recently presented the President’s Volunteer Service Award by her manager Joanne Rasnake (pictured above, right) for her work with the Abingdon (Md.) Fire Company. Since 1995, she has volunteered more than 4,800 hours as an emergency medical services responder. High-resolution version of photo

As a member of the Abingdon Fire Company, Averion-Laird has been recognized as one of the top ten emergency medical services (EMS) responders of Abingdon Fire Company for four years and has responded to a total of 1,768 calls since 1995. She served as an EMS lieutenant from 2001 to 2004 and was selected as the Abingdon Fire Company EMS Person of the Year in 2002. This year, Averion-Laird was selected to be the company’s vice president.

Averion-Laird, a project manager for ORAU’s Science Education Programs, was nominated by her manager Joanne Rasnake and Abingdon Fire Company Crew Chief Bill Dousa. Dousa wrote in his nomination that Averion-Laird "has not only served as a top EMS responder, but also as a leader, trainer, mentor and role model for new members. During her tenure at the Abingdon Fire Company, Donna Averion-Laird has represented the pinnacle of public service, spending much of her time caring for those in need of emergency medical services in her community and enhancing the continuance of the EMS service."

Humble about her work, Averion-Laird was surprised to hear she had been selected for the award. "Every volunteer is so deserving, I didn't think I would be one of them," she said. She plans to continue to volunteer with the Abingdon Fire Company, as well as with various church-sponsored events in her community of Edgewood, Md.

ORAU is a university consortium leveraging the scientific strength of 98 major research institutions to advance science and education by partnering with national laboratories, government agencies and private industry. ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education for the U.S. Department of Energy.

ORAU provides innovative scientific and technical solutions to advance national priorities in science, education, security and health. Through specialized teams of experts, unique laboratory capabilities and access to a consortium of more than 100 major Ph.D.-granting institutions, ORAU works with federal, state, local and commercial customers to advance national priorities and serve the public interest. A 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation and federal contractor, ORAU manages the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education (ORISE) for the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE).

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