At our October 24 Volunteer Recognition Dinner, we presented Donna Steenhoek with our annual Elephant Award. This year the award was a ceramic elephant, handmade in Chulucanas, Peru.
Store Manager Amanda Johnson commented, “Donna is long overdue to receive this award. She first served on our Board of Directors, and then started volunteering in the store.” Amanda added that Donna loves talking to customers, learning where they are from and what brought them to Pella.
Donna currently works two Friday afternoons per month. She also works often as a Tulip Time door greeter, welcoming tourists and making connections with them.
Donna, who has been married to Jaren Steenhoek for 60 years, worked for thirty years in banking, commented, “At the bank I worked in residential real estate, so I talked with lots of people and heard their stories. When I retired, I missed that, so it was good to get some interaction with people at The Work of Our Hands.”
The Work of Our Hands has been presenting annual Elephant Awards for at least 18 years. The award is given each year to a volunteer who has given their time and talents to promote our fair-trade mission of supporting artisans around the globe.
Asked why we call it an “Elephant Award” and present the recipient with a handmade elephant each year, Amanda smiled and answered, “Because our volunteers work for peanuts!”
How did Donna feel when she heard her name announced as the 2023 Elephant Award recipient? “I was surprised!” she said. “There were so many worthy people.”