Volunteers of the Year

The city honored its 2019 Volunteers of the Year as well as the Mount Vernon Fire Department during September's First Friday event. The fire department won the fifth annual Battle of the Badges blood drive, collecting three more units of blood than the police department. Pictured are, from left, Terry Davis, MVFD fire protection officer; Bryan Conant, firefighter; Capt. Joe Spurgeon; and Volunteers of the Year Holly Bredefeld, Tony Bonsignore, and Randy Cronk. Not pictured: Volunteer of the Year Tom Hinger.

MOUNT VERNON -- The city of Mount Vernon has announced four people to be recognized as the 2019 Volunteers of the Year. The individuals include Dr. Randy Cronk, Tom Hinger, Tony Bonsignore and Holly Bredefeld.

Since 2003, the city has honored 62 volunteers for their service. The four honored on Friday brings the total to 66.

The MVFD and police departments collected 47 units of blood during their blood drives for the American Red Cross. Mayor Richard Mavis called this year's battle"fiercely competitive."

Here's a closer look at the individual honorees:

Dr. Randy Cronk

Retired professor from Mount Vernon Nazarene University. He was a professor of Psychology for 35 years. Randy took over the maintenance of the 14-mile Kokosing Gap Trail when founder Phil Samuel retired over 15 years ago. Randy organized a volunteer staff in order to keep regular maintenance and also an emergency response group to respond after severe storms.

He also raises funds and plans long term improvement projects. Randy has always believed the trail brings visitors to our community and allows local people to enjoy the opportunity to exercise outdoors and free of charge.

Tom Hinger

Tom has organized the adult coed softball program in Mount Vernon for the past eight years. Tom begins to collect information in February of each year for the summer coed league. He has 22 summer league teams with approximately 300 players involved.

He also has a fall league with approximately 250 players. Tom sets the schedules, time and places for all games at Memorial Park on Sunday’s throughout the summer and fall. Tom also helps prepare the diamonds and schedule the umpires. Tom believes adult coed softball keeps everyone active.

Tony Bonsignore

Employed by First Bank of Marietta in Mount Vernon. He has provided leadership for church softball for the past 10 years. He organizes three divisions according to skill level for men and women in ages from 13 until you cannot play any longer.

The league plays at Riverside Park and Hiawatha Park from Memorial Day until mid-August and about 200 people play on the 18 church league teams. Tony believes playing church softball enhances the human spirit.

Holly Bredefeld

Holly is employed by the Mount Vernon Fire Department. Holly has been the lead volunteer for the Toys for Tots program for the last five years. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, Holly brings together 40 volunteers to work with firefighters in the collections, sorting, purchasing and arranging toys to be distributed throughout the community.

She works under the United States Marine Toys for Tots program and locally with the Salvation Army and Interchurch Social Services. In previous year’s she also did double duty in leading the Morrow County’s Toys for Tots as well as the Knox County program. Holly is responsible for making Christmas possible for over 1,500 young people in our county. She believe her effort is always “for the kids.”

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