The Apalachicola Bay Chamber of Commerce celebrates volunteerism all throughout the year but especially during National Volunteer Week, which began Sunday and runs through Saturday, April 25.


To highlight that volunteer spirit, the chamber this year selected Mike Cates as its Volunteer of the Year.


“Franklin County has many volunteers that give of their time, away from their family and friends, to make others’ lives better. It is never an easy decision to award just one person each year to be the Volunteer of the Year,” said John Solomon, chamber director.


“Mike Cates for years has donated his time in Franklin County to the community in various ways, and we congratulate him on being chosen this year’s Volunteer of the Year,” he said. “We would also like to thank every volunteer in this community for what they give of themselves and encourage others to thank them and volunteer with them.


“It only takes a second of your time to thank a volunteer for giving many hours of their time,” Solomon said.


Cates, an Apalachicola-based electrical contractor, received the award last week at a small, socially distanced ceremony at the Apalachicola Seafood Grille.


“The chamber board thanks each and every person who freely gives of themselves to help others,” said Donna Duncan, chair of the chamber’s board of directors. “Many congratulations to Mike Cates for being chosen as the chamber volunteer of the year. Thank you, Mike, for the many hours of service to our community.”


Solomon also extended his appreciation to the county commissioners, as well the mayor and commissioners of Carrabelle, each of which adopted proclamations, and to Apalachicola Mayor Kevin Begos for writing a letter thanking volunteers.


“We also would like to thank the many other organizations that celebrate their volunteers during this week,” he said.


The county and Carrabelle resolutions note “the entire community can inspire, equip and mobilize people to take action that changes the world (and) individuals and communities are at the center of social change, discovering their power to make a difference.


During this week, “all over the nation, service projects will be performed and volunteers recognized for their commitment to service (and) the giving of oneself in service to another empowers the giver and the recipient,” reads the resolution


It estimates the country has a volunteer force of 63 million who last year performed eight billion hours of service, the equivalent of $200.4 billion. “A volunteer saves on average of $25.43 an hour for the organization it volunteers for,” reads the resolution.


“We urge our fellow citizens to volunteer in Franklin County. Also we urge others to recognize those who serve, by tirelessly sharing their time and talent with those in need,” reads the resolution.