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O'Neal is the first recipient of Mayor's Volunteer Award


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Charleen "Char" O'Neal is the first recipient of the Mayor's Volunteer Award for Arlington.

Charleen "Char" O'Neal is the first recipient of the Mayor's Volunteer Award in Arlington, meant to recognize the people who donate their time to improve the local community.

O'Neal volunteers 80 to 90 hours each month at various locations around the city.

For the past three years she has been Vice President of the Friends of the Arlington Library, a group that supports the local library and its programs.

She started and supports the Children's Storybook Garden Program which provides a garden storytime for local children.

Each program involves garden, education and art segments in addition to stories. The program is now three-years-old and typically has around 40 children attending.

At the Friends of the Arlington Library book sales she helps sort, shelf and restock books. At the quarterly book sales she also bakes treats.

As part of the "Brown Bag Brigade" O'Neal helps pack and distribute dozens of lunches to people waiting in line at the Arlington Food Bank.

Two years ago O'Neal joined the board of the Arlington Arts Council, where she volunteers at the councils events and auctions, and helps support new artists and membership.

O'Neal also spends time at the Arlington Boys & Girls Club where she helps kids with art projects.

She also visits a local disabled woman who cannot leave her home and makes social visits with art supplies.

O'Neal was scheduled to receive the award at the Feb. 6 Arlington City Council meeting.

The award was started because Arlington Mayor Barbara Tolbert wanted to recognize those who were improving the city.

"It came up when we first started getting things going with the America's Best Communities competition," said assistant city administrator Heather Logan.

"So many people were donating so much of their time and energy, and someone said that there should be a way to recognize those people," she said.

Out of that idea grew the volunteer award, meant to honor someone who gives their time in service to Arlington.

"We're looking for anybody who donates time in Arlington, they don't have to be in Arlington as long as they are working to make the town better," she said.

Logan said that there are a lot of groups and people in the community deserving that kind of recognition.

"There's the big names who do a lot of work like Rotary, Lions and Kiwanis, of course, but there's also a lot of individuals who are quietly giving their time to make Arlington a great place," she said.

Those that want to nominate someone can find a form at the city of Arlington's website at


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