BEACON PHOTO/MARSHA MCLAUGHLIN
CONGRATS! — DeLand’s 2022 Volunteer of the Year, Louease May, center, is joined by the DeLand City Commission to celebrate her award. From left are City Commissioners Kevin Reid, Charles Paiva, Dan Reed, May, Mayor Chris Cloudman and City Commissioner Jessica Davis.

Since 2018, the City of DeLand has recognized members of the community as Volunteers of the Year. This year’s winner is Louease May.

May, 65, is a lifelong DeLand resident. After retiring from her role at Cardinal Health as a machine operator, May had even more time to help people in the community.

She retired three years ago, and she’s enjoying her retirement. May is also a member of St. Paul Community Baptist Church.

Not only is she a regular volunteer at the Dr. Joyce M. Cusack Resource Center in DeLand, May also runs errands for and takes a number of elderly people to their appointments and helps locals be informed voters.

Helping people in DeLand who need a hand keeps her busy, but she also knows she’s helping make a difference in people’s lives.

“I like to see a smile on people’s faces,” May told The Beacon.

When she heard she was 2022’s Volunteer of the Year — and the first Black woman to receive the honor — May was shocked.

“It’s really exciting,” she said, “to feel like somebody is paying attention to things you do. It’s an honor to be recognized for the work you do behind the scenes.”

One of May’s nominators was Shilretha Dixon, another pillar of the DeLand community. In a letter to the city, Dixon praised May’s work.

“While she holds no formal title or affiliations, her willingness to share her time and talent to lend a helping hand and to show kindness makes the greatest difference in the lives of the individuals who are touched by her generosity,” Dixon said.

Other nominees for the 2022 Volunteer of the Year were Martin Giblin, Tanna Gartside, Joe Hearn, Primrose Cameron and Chaplain Herbert Becker. While the city would have awarded two winners — one person younger than 40 years old and another 40 years of age or older — no nominees younger than 40 were submitted.

Past winners:

Tony Tussing (2018)

Cecil Paul Jones (2019)

Mario Davis (Under 40; 2019)

Bill Budzinski (2020)

Brittany Gloersen (Under 40; 2020)

Mary Hoffmann (2021)

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