The Rotary Club of Marco Island Sunrise recently presented its Unsung Hero Award for First Quarter, 2016 to Nikki Davis. Nikki was honored for her service to the Marco Island community and for placing “service above self,” actions consistent with Rotary Club aspirations.
Specifically, Nikki was recognized for her work with the organization she founded, the Joy of Giving, which raises money so that needy children may enjoy gifts from Santa during Christmas.
Nikki began the Joy of Giving in 1988 after moving to Marco Island. She missed her family and friends over the holidays, and rather than feeling sorry for herself, Nikki decided it would be better to help someone less fortunate. She and a few others had “Santa” deliver Christmas presents to a young girl. When the little girl saw Santa she said, “Santa, I knew you wouldn’t forget me. Last year, I waited and waited for you and you didn’t come.” That was the beginning of the Joy of Giving, 28 years ago. Since then, due to Nikki’s hard work and dedication, hundreds of thousands of dollars have been raised to help tens of thousands of children.
The Joy of Giving receives referrals for needy children through teachers, camps and other organizations. All funds go directly to the children, through their parent at a shopping event at a local Wal-Mart. Parents check in when they arrive at the store, and then are given a dollar amount to spend on gifts for their child.
Coastal Breeze News’ Val Simon nominated Nikki for the award, saying that Nikki is a true unsung hero, who shies away from the limelight, and focuses everyone’s attention on the children. Nikki’s motto: “It’s all about the kids.” Reflecting on the honor Rotary bestowed her, Nikki commented, “One of my first jobs here, I was a waitress serving Rotarians at their breakfast meeting. I was so impressed by what an incredible group of people they were, so charitable and giving of themselves. It was something to aspire to. I am humbled and honored to be recognized by Rotary.”
Rotary Co-Chair Bill Morris stated, “Nikki works year round for her shopping event and never seeks personal recognition. She is a deserving recipient of our Unsung Hero Award.”
In addition to the award, the Sunrise Rotary Club will donate $100 to the Joy of Giving, and 20 polio vaccines, in Nikki’s name, to support Rotary International’s efforts to eradicate polio.
The Unsung Hero Award recognizes a member of the community who helps others and who has not been recognized for such service. The recipient is not a member of Rotary, but either works, lives or provides service on Marco Island.
Sunrise Rotary is accepting Unsung Hero nominations for the second quarter, 2016. Send nominations to Chairman Bill Morris at 247 North Collier Blvd., Suite 202, Marco Island, FL 34145 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.