Montgomery County, Tenn. — Montgomery County recently recognized two community volunteers, Catarino Guzman, and Darin Morris, at May's formal County Commission meeting with proclamations from County Mayor Wes Golden for being selected as the 2022 Montgomery County adult and youth recipients of the Governor's Volunteer Stars Awards (GVSA). Guzman and Morris were also recognized at April's annual GVSA statewide banquet.
Army Veteran Catarino Guzman, known by family and friends as 'Cat,' was honored as the 2022 Montgomery County Adult Recipient for his ongoing support to the United Way of the Greater Clarksville Region. Guzman has faithfully supported the United Way by volunteering to set up, serve, and tear down for the outdoor concerts at Downtown Commons and Riverfest in 2022 and several years prior, with all proceeds going to the United Way and their partner agencies. Guzman also served at community events like National Night Out to support local law enforcement, the Clarksville Women's Expo, and the Clarksville Area Downs Syndrome Walk to support the community and heighten awareness about the work of United Way.
From 2019 through 2021, Guzman also worked every "Shower-Up event hosted by the United Way to provide showers, food, and clothing to our homeless population; and has served as the Vice President of the City of Clarksville's Human Relations Commission since January 2022, bringing the homeless perspective to the organization. Guzman has also volunteered as Hispanic Santa at Montgomery County Parks and Recreation for three years.
Guzman has a full life with his wife, Valerie, three adult children, three grandchildren, and a full-time leadership position at Bridgestone Metalpha. Yet, he makes the time to give back to his community with nearly 200 hours of volunteer service to United Way annually. Guzman serves under the radar, humbly taking care of others before himself with enthusiasm and a positive attitude.
"I am surprised and appreciative of this award and to City Mayor Joe Pitts for nominating me. I am also thankful for the kind words from County Mayor Golden. There are a lot of people who are hurting and need a little help and a listening ear. If we all do something, we can make a big difference in our community, said Guzman.
Darrin Morris was honored as the 2022 Montgomery County Youth Recipient for his work supporting Kenwood High School Varsity Football Juniors Pro League for ages 5-11 as a sideline coach, collecting entry tickets, moving chains on the field, working concessions, and operating the time clock. Morris is up early, prioritizing younger children by working every Saturday volunteer game. Youth players count on Morris to be present and supportive as a positive role model, encouraging them to succeed on the field, in school, and in life.
Morris volunteers to remember his father, a football player and coach who died from pancreatic cancer in 2015. He witnessed his dad as his role model as he coached him and other young players from age five on weekends, and Morris found working with youth was a way to honor his father's legacy.
Morris is a varsity starter for Kenwood High School Football, holds a 3.8 GPA, is a 4-year varsity starter, is part of Omega Men's Academy, is a Jr. Deacon at Concord Missionary Baptist Church, and is a National Honor Society member. He exemplifies that you can be intelligent, hardworking, and committed to serving your community.
Morris said, "It's important for me to honor my dad's memory in a meaningful way. If I've made a positive impact in the life of even one young man, I count that as a win. I plan to give back to my community throughout my life."
"One of the best parts of being Mayor is recognizing people like Cat and Darrin who give of themselves to strengthen our community. I'm thankful for them and all those who go above and beyond to volunteer in Montgomery County," said Mayor Golden.
The Governor's Volunteer Stars Award is a statewide recognition program instituted by former Governor Phil Bredesen to honor and publicly recognize citizens in each county's adult and youth categories for their exemplary volunteer service to their community.
Nomination forms for individuals and businesses will be shared through local media and Montgomery County Government social media sites once nomination forms are open in September. Nominations for this year’s honorees are due to [email protected] by November 10, 2023. Information about GVSA can be found at https://www.tn.gov/volunteer-tennessee/vt-events/vt-gvsa.html.