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Opinion

June 27, 2014

Citizen of the Week: Jerry Henderson

“Little piece of dynamite.” “Behind-the-scenes superstar.” “Volunteer magnet.”

Not many people have the distinction of being linked with such stellar descriptions. But Freda Stephenson, development director for the local Alzheimer’s Association, didn’t hesitate to identify Jerry Henderson as all three.

Henderson was bitten by the volunteer bug last year when he signed up to assist with Dancing Stars of Dalton, one of the Alzheimer’s Association’s annual charity events. Dancing Stars chooses 10 local “stars,” pairs them with 10 professional dancers, and stages a competition at the trade center. Prior to the dancing, a dinner is held.

When it came time to set up for the dancing competition and organize volunteers, Henderson rose to the challenge and took charge.

“As soon as Jerry signed up to help, that was it,” said Stephenson. “We didn’t have to worry about things getting done, Jerry did them without question.”

Recently, the Alzheimer’s Association put on the second Dancing Stars of Dalton competition, with Henderson once again at the helm for rallying volunteers. This year, he organized and oversaw 60 volunteers as they helped out during the dinner, running food, refilling drinks and making sure patrons were cared for.

Because of the selfless efforts of this year’s volunteers and the generous donations to Dancing Stars of Dalton, the association was able to raise $221,000, according to Stephenson.

Henderson also participates in the Alzheimer’s Association’s largest annual charity event, the Walk to End Alzheimer’s, which happens in the fall.

In preparation, he helps decorate the stage for the event, distributes fliers, and, perhaps the most important task of all, recruits teams for the walk. Teams are made up of friends, families and co-workers who walk together to increase their ability to raise awareness and funds for Alzheimer’s care, support and research.

“Recruiting teams is the backbone of the walk,” said Stephenson. “Without people like Jerry rallying teams, we wouldn’t have a walk.”

Stephenson also praised his dedication to volunteerism even though he has a full-time position as senior stylist/designer for Mohawk.

“No matter what you ask him to do, he doesn’t hesitate to go out of his way to help or to offer suggestions,” Stephenson said. “His compassion and desire to give is what makes Jerry so special. Everything he does comes from the heart.”

For his heartfelt dedication to helping others and for rallying numerous volunteers for the Alzheimer’s Association, The Daily Citizen names Jerry Henderson Citizen of the Week.

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