Leading Roanoke Volunteer Receives Good Samaritan Award

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The award presentation.

 

The award presentation.

by Laura Neff-Henderson

There are seven men named George Kegley who live in the United States, according to www.whitepages.com. It’s unlikely, however, that any of the other six have contributed as significantly to their communities as our own George A. Kegley has contributed to the Roanoke community.

A tirelessly devoted husband and father, Kegley’s impressive list of volunteer accomplishments were most recently recognized by the Roanoke Civitan Club where he received the group’s 53rd Annual Good Samaritan Award.

“Mr. Kegley embodies the characteristics of a Good Samaritan. He is very generous with his time and spirit and deserved the recognition…,” said Lee Kayaloff, The South Roanoke Meals-on-Wheels Site Supervisors in her nomination letter.

The Good Samaritan Award is awarded annually to a community member who has demonstrated an unwavering commitment to help improve the lives of others within the Roanoke community through his good deeds.

“I volunteer because it is just so badly needed,” said Kegley who said he often jokes with others that if all of the volunteers in the world stayed home one day, the world would stop turning.

Recognition of a few service projects is appreciated, he added.  “Perhaps this will encourage others to contribute their time and energy to some of the many service organizations because so many people need a helping hand today.”

The luncheon was held at Sunnybrook Plantation and the program included remarks by WDBJ7s Robin Reed. More than 30 Civitan members and honored guests attended. Co-chairs Ollie Ford and Vaneda Leslie introduced past honorees of the Good Samaritan Award, before announcing this year’s winner. Kegley received an engraved watch to commemorate the award as well as a $500 donation to the charity of his choice (Meals-on-Wheels).

“It’s just such a great service to so many people who need food,” said Kegley, who is originally from Wytheville, but has lived in Roanoke for more than 60 years.

Before retiring in 1993, Kegley spent 44 years as a journalist at The Roanoke Times, first as a general assignment reporter and then as a business writer. An active member of St. Mark’s Lutheran Church, Kegley has served as the chair of the church’s Social Ministry Committee and a Sunday school teacher for more than 30 years. He also assists with the church food pantry and clothes closet and has been a longtime volunteer with the Roanoke Meals-on-Wheels program. For more than 18 years he has volunteered at the RAM house. And, for more than 35 years, he has worked to improve the lives of refugees. The couple has four children, seven grandchildren, and one step great grandchild.

A longtime blood donor at The American Red Cross, Kegley has served three terms on the Roanoke Arts Commission and held many other board positions, including the Roanoke Rescue Mission, Brandon Oaks Advisory Board, Literacy Volunteers, The Historical Society of Western Virginia and the Western Virginia Land Trust.

He also supports The History Museum of Western Virginia, The Arts Council of the Blue Ridge, Taubman Museum of Art and Virginia Foundation for the Humanities.

A 1949 graduate of Roanoke College, Kegley studied English but admits a passion for history. He also volunteers his time to edit the monthly Virginia Lutheran (since 1960) and the quarterly insert for The Lutheran national magazine. He also coordinates The Lutheran Cooperative Ministries of Roanoke valley’s summer camp program each year.

Further demonstrating his love for history, he and his wife recently donated a large easement on their 116-acre farm to the Virginia Outdoors Foundation & Department of Historic Resources. The easement on the farm, situated between the Ole Monterey and Blue Hills golf courses in northeast Roanoke, was the first conservation easement within Roanoke City limits

Kegley recently received the Perry F. Kendig Award for Outstanding Support of the Arts from the Arts Council of the Blue Ridge.

Kegley joins an impressive list of Civitans who have received the award since it was established in 1959, including John Shumate in 2008 and Waynard Caldwell in 2009.

The Roanoke Civitan Club is part of Civitan International, which was formed in 1971 in Birmingham, Ala. It was named for the Latin word “civitus,” which means citizenship. The Roanoke chapter of the Club, which was established in 1948, has about 70 active members. The community service club donates its time and resources to help serve individual and community needs, with an emphasis on helping people with developmental disabilities.

Lunch meetings are held on the second and fourth Monday of each month and community members are invited to attend and get involved.