Rural Action awarded Tuscarawas County resident Alice Ross with its 2023 Volunteer Sustainability Award at its annual meeting on June 6.

Alice Ross stands before a microphone in a black and white plaid shirt, speaking.

Alice Ross accepts her award.

Nominated by Leadership and Service Program Manager Johna Metcalf, she explained that “Alice was a sweet ray of sunshine that helped me during the Donation Station Market Days. She came early and prepared to listen to me explain why this work is important. She even took notes! She was also flexible, which was lovely.”

On that day in particular, the donation station moved under the grandstand due to rain — and that didn’t deter Ross, Metcalf said.

Ross has long known Rural Action before volunteering last year. Her sister, Jane, being the ultimate fundraiser and advocate for Rural Action, encouraged Ross to support it financially.

For years, that was her only contribution. When Alice discovered Rural Action’s New Philadelphia office she reached out, thinking she could offer more.

“They were involved from at least from very early on,” Ross said. “I was always impressed despite what little I knew about the organization. Jane encouraged me to start supporting it financially, but that was my only contribution at that time.”

When Ross discovered Rural Action’s New Philadelphia office, she reached out thinking she could help with office work. “I was asked if I might help with the donation station instead,” she said. That’s where she learned about all of the work happening in Tuscarawas county.

Ross’s help was invaluable on that rainy New Philadelphia day, Metcalf said. “Alice helped Ciaran Lyons, a Sustainable Agriculture AmeriCorps VISTA, buy produce while I weighed it,” Metcalf said. “She also put up with me chanting for monetary donations.”

Ross also supported Rural Action at the annual fundraiser in Tuscarawas county, Metcalf added. Ross recruited four friends to join her that day, only one of whom had ever heard of Rural Action. Her shared excitement for the work of the organization and her outreach into the community are such a large part of what helps Rural Action move forward in providing more services and resources to the region.

“Alice is a wonderful person, mother and grandmother that deserves some recognition!” Metcalf said.

For over a decade, Rural Action has honored the people, businesses, and organizations that teach us how to live and work in greater harmony with Earth and with each other. During our annual meeting each year, we recognize those who create new models for living with respect to the earth and its systems that others can follow; have a generous spirit and willingly share knowledge, experiences, and personal resources with others; and leave the world a better place because of their personal and professional behavior. Find more 2023 winners and winners from previous years here.