The VHA President, Peter Russell, was the MC for the evening.  It was an enjoyable time to recognize accomplishments, to say THANK YOU, and to emphasize the important role volunteering and giving back to The Villages Community plays in the overall mission of The VHA.



The Don Hahnfeldt Service Award went to Fred Briggs, a past President of The VHA and current Board of Directors member, in recognition of his past and continued dedicated leadership role with The VHA. This prestigious award is a true honor and  represents outstanding service to The Villages Community in remembrance of Don Hahnfeldt’s legacy as a past President of The VHA, local commissioner, and State Representative.



The VHA Annual Volunteer Award, went to THE VHA BINGO TEAM.  Each of the 20+ volunteers who make the monthly Bingo games run smoothly, and which is a major fundraiser for our philanthropic efforts, received a certificate of appreciation.  Debi Gorzka, the team leader, along with her partner, Mike Dollard, do a wonderful job on behalf of The VHA.


The Partner Award went to the Director of The Villages Recreation & Parks, John Rohan, who could not attend but was represented by two members of his team    who accepted the award on his behalf.  The monetary award that accompanies this award. and was donated by The VHA Advisory Board member, Nicholas Hemes, was presented on John’s behalf to Best Buddies of The Villages, an organization that he worked with this past year to launch the STAR program.  This innovative program offers activities for adult individuals within the Villages Community with developmental and intellectual disabilities.

Pictured are Pam Henry and Kacie Linton, left, from Recreation & Parks, who accepted the award on Mr. Rohan’s behalf, along with Best Buddies board members Bob Hamblin and Julia Bagdonas, who were surprised and delighted to accept the check for $500 made out to Best Buddies.


Afterwards, the Best Buddies volunteers and member participants who attended were more than happy to pose for a group picture.  For more information about Best Buddies contact them at:

[email protected]

The evening included an update on The Villages Grown project that The VHA has kept its members apprised of since its inception in 2017 as a “dream” that is now a reality.  A separate report on that interesting and informative presentation will be available soon.

By Jan Palmer, Editor, The VHA Voice