Having an award given out in your name is often a bit like watching the eulogy at your own funeral. It’s a strange, but satisfying feeling.
Several years ago JACC established a Volunteer of the Year Award to honor those within the organization who give so much of themselves to help journalism students beyond the confines of their own schools. Much of this often is done by helping run the various conferences the JACC runs. We have those who are appointed to run the conferences, but they often are paid stipends. The organization wanted to honor those who worked unofficially.
When the idea for such an award was floated, instructors across the organization immediately felt en masse that such an award needed to be awarded to me for the years of work I’ve put into the organization. But that was not the intent. I already feel appreciated by the organization for the work I do, the board –and I– wanted to reach beyond that. The board of directors secretly found a solution by honoring me with a life-time achievement award and then creating the Rich Cameron Volunteer of the Year Award. (Notice the lack of the word “memorial” in that title. Whew!)
This year’s honorees were announced last night in the opening session of the 54th annual JACC convention in Sacramento. While I have no say in who gets the awards, I’ve been proud to be associated with each of the winners JACC has honored over the last few years. Paul McLeod is a former LA Times reporter who is doing yeoman work as part-time adviser at two community colleges: Underfunded Los Angeles Harbor College and more well-to-do Saddleback. In addition he is a fount of energy in helping behind the scenes at the JACC SoCal regional conference and the annual convention. Danny Edwards is a former Fresno Bee reporter who taught for a while at Fresno City College before revitalizing an already good Bakersfield College program. He currently serves as the SoCal faculty vice-president of the organization and helps coordinate the judging of the mail-in competitions for the SoCal conference and state convention; having done that job in the past I consider it justification for nomination to sainthood.