Unite! Washougal Community Coalition honors volunteer

Lisa Bennett named 2021 recipient of organization's 'Heart of a Volunteer' award

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Washougal School District employee Lisa Bennett earned Unite! Washougal Community Coalition's 2021 "Heart of a Volunteer" award for her work with the community nonprofit. (Contributed photo courtesy of the Washougal School District)

The Unite! Washougal Community Coalition has named Lisa Bennett as the 2021 recipient of its “Heart of a Volunteer” Excellence Award.

Bennett has spearheaded the coalition’s semi-annual drug take-back events, which dispose of more than 1,000 pounds of expired and medications each year. She also serves as a mentor for Unite! Washougal’s “Sources of Strength” resilience promotion team.

“Lisa has many areas of involvement in our community,” Unite! Washougal’s executive director, Margaret McCarthy, said. “Her willingness to help support the vision and mission of Unite! Washougal has positively impacted our youth and families for healthier empowered lives. Lisa brings enthusiasm, caring, compassion, great ideas and impeccable follow-through to every project and inspires others to work together for positive change with our youth and community.”

Bennett works for the Washougal School District, serving as its COVID-19 compliance officer, National Honor Society advisor and athletic trainer.

“I appreciate that Unite! Washougal supports existing resources and groups already providing services to our community,” Bennett said. “Unite! Washougal acts as a liaison between community partners to foster relationships that are beneficial not only to each organization but allows those partnerships to jointly service the youth and families of our community more efficiently.”

“Lisa is always willing to take on any task that Unite! offers,” said Wendy Butler, a student assistance professional at Canyon Creek Middle School and Jemtegaard Middle School. “Whether she is leading the project or helping others, her willingness to work hard for our community always shines bright. We are a stronger community because of her efforts.”

Each year, Unite! Washougal gives out its Heart of a Volunteer Excellence Award in memory of Gina Farah, a former coalition member who died in 2018.

“Gina was a wonderful mentor, and I am truly humbled to receive this award created in her memory,” Bennett said. “As I serve with Unite! Washougal, I strive to encourage students and families to live their best life. Washougal is a wonderful community and Unite! Washougal helps our youth to see we are truly better when we work together, play together and serve together. I am thankful to be a small part of the great work being supported by this coalition.”