Cathy Carter has been named this year’s recipient of the Margaret Downey Memorial Community Service Award.
Carter was presented the award before a gathering of friends, family, fellow volunteers and past award recipients at the W. H. Abel Montesano Timberland Library on Nov. 28.
The Margaret Downey Memorial Award is now in its 22nd year, having been established in 1996 in honor of its late namesake. The award is given only to those who reflect Downey’s love of learning, strength in faith and respect for nature, the award presenters said.
Carter volunteers as president of the Friends of the Montesano Library, and she is involved with the local community in a number of other capacities as well. She is active in her church, volunteers with animal shelters, and she helped to organize Canine Reading Buddies of Grays Harbor, an organization that helps children practice their reading skills alongside their four-legged friends.
High praise was delivered for Carter from a number of people who were instrumental in nominating her for the award.
“I’ve known Cathy for many years and I’m just always in awe of what all she does — her church, her community, individuals who need her help — she’s there for them,” Janine Stone, Friends of the Library treasurer, attested. “And if you say something to Cathy she’ll just shrug it off like it’s no big deal.”
For her part, Carter paraphrased Pope Francis in saying she aims to keep a “servant’s heart” even when in a position of leadership.
“I would not be receiving this recognition if it were not for all of you and your support,” Carter said. “You cannot be a leader in an organization if there’s no one there working with you, sharing ideas, being together with you, and that’s what I value with all of you.”
Carter went on to explain that, as a Downey Award recipient, she feels she has joined an illustrious group.
“They say it’s better to give than to receive, and I just feel fortunate that I’ve been able to give my time and my talents in this wonderful community. But I have to tell you it’s not a one-way street. I have received so much working with all of you and the various groups that have been mentioned. It’s just a wonderful experience and I feel humbled and honored to be included in the list of Margaret Downey (Award) recipients. They have left … a great legacy in this community,” she said.
As this year’s award recipient, Carter will ride in the Festival of Lights parade on Dec. 9.