The name Tonya Brum is one that many throughout Pahrump and Nye County will easily recognize. She has spent many years in the local community providing her skills and enthusiasm to a variety of nonprofit causes, always with a bright smile and dauntless energy, and now, Brum is being recognized for her efforts as a volunteer with a very special award, the Nevada Governor’s Points of Lights Award.
For the past two years, Brum has served as a leader in one of the area’s many valuable nonprofits, the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, better known as RSVP, taking over the post of RSVP Nye County field representative after spending a year as a volunteer driver for the organization.
It’s a position she greatly enjoys and while her earning the Points of Light Award may come as no surprise to local residents, it’s not something she said she ever anticipated receiving. In fact, Brum remarked that she was utterly floored when she learned of the honor to be bestowed upon her but she is extremely proud to have been named as the winner for the governor’s Points of Lights Award for community leadership.
“I was truly shocked,” Brum said in an interview with the Pahrump Valley Times. “And to be honest, I was a little embarrassed. It was totally unexpected but of course, I am thrilled. It’s very exciting and I just think it is so neat. I am delighted that it went to someone from Pahrump.”
The Points of Light awards are administered by Nevada Volunteers, which named Brum as the single finalist for the Community Leadership Award on Aug. 9. “Tonya embodies the true values of a volunteer. Her dedicated services spanning over five decades has significantly contributed to the betterment of Nye County,” RSVP CEO Molly Walt stated. “The RSVP Board of Directors, employees, volunteers and clients are delighted Tonya is being recognized for her incredible contributions to the community.”
Brum moved to Nevada in 1974 and found herself in Pahrump in 2002, and she immediately embarked on a mission to provide her voluntary efforts wherever she possibly could. In 2018, she got her start with RSVP and since then, she has given nearly 2,400 hours in service, a press release from RSVP detailed. “During her storied career as a volunteer, and particularly her volunteer time spent with RSVP, Tonya has expanded outreach efforts so that members of her community know of the wonderful services provided by RSVP,” the press release stated.
As for what drew Brum to the RSVP organization, she laughingly told the Times, “These are my people. I mean, hello, old! And that’s exactly why I decided to get involved here.”
Brum noted that in the past, she had spent a lot of time working on children’s causes, volunteering for everything from Big Brothers, Big Sisters and Make-a-Wish to the local Pioneer Territory Court Appointed Special Advocates but working with older adults was something she’d yet to focus on. That all changed when one day, she was listening to former Nye County Field Representative Jan Lindsay speaking about RSVP and she just knew that was something she wanted to be part of.
“That’s why I had signed up as a volunteer driver because for once, I’d be able to be working with people my age, doing things for people my age who are not in as good of shape as I am in. This was perfect, being able to help seniors as a senior,” Brum enthused.
RSVP is a nonprofit geared toward providing lifesaving volunteer programs that assist seniors in a variety of ways. The mission is to help seniors maintain the dignity, self-respect and independence. “RSVP services improve the quality of life for seniors, helps them remain independent in their own homes for as long as possible and avoid long-term institutional care,” the release read. RSVP offers all sorts of programs, ranging from free transportation to housekeeper services to telephone wellness checks and more.
Brum said the main form of spreading the word about RSVP is word-of-mouth, with volunteers and clients telling their friends and family about it and then those people informing others and so on and so forth. For her, one of the biggest positives to come from winning such a prestigious award isn’t the honor she will receive because of it, but the opportunity for increased awareness that such an award presents. She is hopeful that this will in turn bring even more people to the organization so it can continue to expand and thrive.
Brum will officially receive her award during a formal awards ceremony set for Thursday, Oct. 14 at the Mirage Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas. The reception will take place from 3 to 5 p.m. that evening. A livestreaming of the event will be available. Information regarding registration can be found at nevadavolunteers.org
For more information on the Points of Lights awards vista nevadavolunteers.org
For more on RSVP visit nvrsvp.org
Contact reporter Robin Hebrock at firstname.lastname@example.org