Andre Van Heerden Named Volunteer of the Year, Mercy Receives Special Judges Award
Mercy Support Services and Andre Van Heerden were honored for their dedication and commitment to the community at the Reinhold Foundation’s annual Celebrate Clay Awards. Van Heerden was recognized as the Peggy Bryan Volunteer of the Year Award not only for the work he does for Mercy, but for his many other contributions to the community as well. Van Heerden was nominated by a group of Clay County citizens who are deeply involved in community work. In part, the nomination reads: “Any community would be hard pressed to find someone who comprehends, embodies and leads others to understand the spirit of love and taking care of others in a way quite as remarkably, wide-reaching and impactful, as Andre Van Heerden. He has committed his life to helping others get to self-sufficiency not just when it’s convenient or visible, but in fact, during both blue and grey sky periods of their lives. In conjunction with nurturing a congregation to spiritual and emotional health, Andre mobilizes churches, nonprofits and social service agencies to partner together and share their resources. Andre primarily serves the people of Clay County but also has a global reach and impact.” In addition to his work launching Mercy Support Services five years ago, Van Heerden was recognized for his leadership with the CREATION Health program, which helps people improve their overall health and well being. He has worked with Hunger Fight to coordinate meals to feed more than 52,000 people in Clay County – more than double the previous year. He partnered with ACTS World Relief and the local Emergency Response Team, local organizations and many volunteers to address the needs of those impacted by Hurricane Matthew. But these are not just one-off events, as Van Heerden is well known for his heart-filled actions to care for others on a daily basis. Read the entire nomination and learn more about his community activities here. Mercy Support Services received a Special Judges’ Award at the Celebrate Clay ceremony, recognizing the organization’s ongoing service to the homeless and those at risk in Clay County. The two honors were accompanied by cash awards that will be used to further the mission of Mercy Support Services.