Delaware volunteer award honors First Lady Carla Markell and Muriel Gilman

When Governor Jack Markell was inaugurated in January 2009 he announced there would not be a ceremonial ball. Instead he was asking for a day of volunteerism.

The idea came from his wife Carla. She organized the “Weekend of Volunteerism”. That evolved into a “Week of Service for a Better Delaware”. All of this caught the attention of Muriel Gilman.

The 21stCentury Fund had honored Gilman, a long time public servant and champion of volunteerism with a volunteer award named in her honor. Muriel Gilman was excited about presenting that award to Carla Markell.   The ceremony for Carla Markell became a double honor. Those attending the event Thursday night also honored Muriel Gilman who passed away at the age of 88 on February 24.

The 21st Century Fund set up the award several years ago to honor those whose volunteerism would help improve the lives of children. Gilman’s daughter, Martha, presented the award saying that she knew how excited her mother was to present this award to Delaware’s First Lady. “Mom and Carla share the belief that volunteerism enriches the life of the individual in addition to the community itself,” Gilman’s daughter said.

In accepting the award Mrs. Markell honored Gilman. “Muriel never forgot that it was about each individual child. Each has unlimited potential if they have the support of their community and one on one attention,” she said.

She also praised everyone who volunteers as mentors saying the children who are served “need our help”. She put out a challenge that Delaware should come up with 15,000 people who volunteer to mentor. She spoke of a child by the name of Toby whom she mentors. She said Toby is an example of someone who benefited by someone who was able to reach him at an early age.  

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