The 2022 recipient of the Jo Dawson Service Award is Gus Preschle. Gus has been a member of the Fellowship for 15 years. He has given much of his time, talent, and treasure to move us closer to Beloved Community.
Here are some words of appreciation from members who nominated Gus:
“Even before becoming one of our Lay Ministers, Gus could be counted on to quietly show up for members with regular phone calls, visits and lunches. His many years of caring for our most vulnerable members is sincere and reliable.”
“He immediately jumped in and volunteered to work on environmental stewardship activities, culminating in the Fellowship receiving its Green Sanctuary Certiﬁcation. Gus was the primary organizer of that effort. Gus also led a program roughly ten years ago for the Fellowship to adopt a Habitat for Humanity house, taking it one step further to make it the ﬁrst “green” HFH home in the Triad. Gus has led EcoSolutions multiple times, leading hikes and kayak trips. Gus is ﬁercely protective of the natural world as well as deeply ‘in love’ with it. He is a gem!!!”
“Gus always listens first. He takes it in. He waits. And then he replies. He is incredibly thoughtful and accepting of varying opinions. He is always interested in others. He is careful that committee work is done democratically, always encouraging others to voice their opinions and thoughtfully listening to those around him.”
“Gus exemplifies the best of UU principles by treating everyone, everyone, everyone as worthy of care and respect. It’s hard baked into his DNA.”
“Having shared his traumatic 9/11 experiences with the congregation, Gus has helped us all to deal with the impact of hate and violence.”
“I cannot imagine a more caring person than Gus Preschle.”
The plaque with Gus’s name on it will be hung in the Fellowship foyer. Thank you, Gus, for moving us toward Beloved Community in all that you do and all that you are.
The annual Jo Dawson Service Award was first presented to Jo Dawson in 1999 upon her retirement from serving 18 years as the editor of our Fellowship newsletter. When the Board wanted to honor her, they realized that many members should be thanked for their contributions, and the best way to do that was to establish an annual award. This would allow us to both recognize Jo in a special way and provide the opportunity to honor many others in the years to come. This is our 24nd presentation.
This year’s task force, Loretta Arnn,Anne Garvey, Chris Kelsey, Seretha Masdon, Joan Wright, and Will Wright received 24 nomination forms. We want to thank the task force, all former recipients of this honor, for the work they’ve done this year. We also want to thank you, members and friends, for taking the time to recognize each other by submitting nominations.
Though members who share generously of their time and talents do not expect recognition, we need to celebrate their hard work and remember why we do the work we do. This is especially true in 2022, a time when we have reconnect and redefine what it means to gather in community. To quote Jo in her response to the Board upon presentation of the award, she said:
“As longtime members realize, there is no amount of volunteer time or effort that can adequately match what the Fellowship gives to those who choose it as their family. It is, in my opinion, how the ideal family ought to be: free thinking, forgives silly mistakes, awakens compassion and offers a foundation from which to challenge narrow-mindedness and meanness. May it ever be so.”