"For the last four years, she has been available to us to interpret our Spanish-speaking people in the community," said local Salvation Army Capt. Nancy Fuller, who referred to Mulkey as a "godsend." "You just don't know what a big help she has been -- to just be able to communicate with them where we haven't been able to, especially taking Christmas applications and helping with the distribution. She's just been wonderful. And not only does she help us, she helped Toys for Tots this year and she also helps Bartow Christmas. So she really spreads herself wide as far as being able to use her skills of speaking Spanish.
"The Christmas toy drive and the Christmas distribution, we had an enormous response this year. Between us and Toys for Tots, which we worked hand-in-hand this year, we [assisted] over 600 families. And that was up 200 from last year. So it was just an enormous response from the community for help, but also a wonderful response from the community for volunteers."
Along with reaching out to the Spanish-speaking community, Mulkey said she enjoys the opportunity to help children have a brighter Christmas by volunteering at multiple organizations.
"Yes [I was surprised]," Mulkey said, about receiving the award. "She usually awards me something, but I wasn't expecting this.... I do the toys at The Salvation Army and the Bartow Christmas and the Toys for Tots, and I love to give the toys to the kids. I love to see it. I love to see [parents select] something nice for every child. Every child deserves something nice for Christmas. And that's my goal when I [volunteer]. ... I [assist] all the Spanish-speaking people, and since they've found out there's somebody there that can talk to them, we're seeing more and more come out."
In addition to the Doing the Most Good accolade, The Salvation Army also presented the following at Tuesday's program:
* Canned Food awards -- Bartow County 4-H Club, Trinity United Methodist Church and U.S. Postal Service.
* Angel Tree awards -- Anheuser-Busch Inc., Bartow County Sheriff's Office, Cracker Barrel's Adairsville and Cartersville locations, Downtown Development Authority, First Baptist Church of Emerson, Friendship Baptist Church, Georgia Highlands College, Pine Grove Baptist Church, Sam Jones Memorial United Methodist Church, First Congregational Church, SunTrust Bank's Main Street and Highway 41 branches, Trinity UMC and Transfreight.
* Bell Ringer awards -- first place, Sam Jones Memorial UMC; second place, Trinity UMC; and third place, Cartersville First Baptist Church.
* Individual Bell awards -- first place, Barbara Lester, and second place, Ruby Speights.
* Media Appreciation awards -- The Daily Tribune News and WBHF.
* Special Recognition -- United Way of Bartow County and Toys for Tots.
The nonprofit also installed new officers -- Edsel Dean, chairman; Gail Redding, vice chairman; Rudy Ross, treasurer; and Gewene Womack, secretary -- and four advisory board members: Sheryl Arnold, Bill Blair, Jeff Black and Jerry Hargrove.
"It's just our way of saying, 'Thank you,'" Fuller said. "You can write a thank-you letter and you can say 'thank you' to them personally. But this is our way of bringing everybody together and saying 'thank you' to all of our year-round volunteers. There's no way that John and I could do it all or our employees [could do it] without volunteers. We'd be sunk. We really would be."
Through the community's volunteer work and financial assistance, The Salvation Army accomplished various feats in 2010, including generating $37,816 through bell-ringing at eight Kettle locations. From October 2009 through September, the Cartersville Corps also provided aid -- food and financial assistance with utility bills, medications and rent -- to 3,126 individuals.
"The main challenge, of course, is funding some of the programs," Fuller said. "Along with everybody else, financially we're hurting. So that's the main thing as far as that goes. But programs, we've been able to keep up. We haven't been able to add a whole lot of new programs to the schedule, but we have been able to keep up with the community need and tried to help as much as we can. The biggest downfall, of course, is the economy."
For more information about The Salvation Army's programs and services, call 770-386-6256 or 770-387-9955.