Six men and women will receive the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) Secretary of State Award for Outstanding Volunteerism Abroad (SOSA) at a ceremony on Tuesday, December 3 at 10:00 a.m. in the Marshall Center at the Department of State. Deputy Secretary Burns will make remarks to congratulate the winners and highlight their exemplary volunteer service.
The awards recognize U.S. Government employees; family members, including domestic partners; and other members of household at embassies and consulates who gave exceptional volunteer service to their communities, mission, or host country or rendered outstanding assistance in emergencies. This year’s award winners include:
Elizabeth Orlando – Abuja (AF)
Spearheaded a number of projects and fundraisers to aid local schools and orphanages. She also partnered with organizations to provide environmentally sustainable technologies to Nigerians. Serving as the Mission’s “green queen,” Betsy worked with the Nigerian Ministry of Environment to host a large Earth Day event where the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) donated land to plant trees, including a small grove named after her.
Jameson DeBose – Bangkok (EAP)
Provided strong and effective support to the Ban Kru Noi Child Development Center in Bangkok, which helps local, disadvantaged children attend school. Jameson has also been an active member of post’s Quality of Life Committee and has continued to work on a number of projects at post and in the local community of Bangkok.
Marilyn Kott – Pristina (EUR)
Created and assisted organizations that serve the local and Mission communities. Marilyn co-founded and runs “Clothes for Kosovo,” a means for Embassy personnel to easily donate used items to local charities. Additionally, Marilyn established and taught three levels of English courses at AYA Pjeter Bogdani, a non-profit organization that provides low cost English instruction for Kosovars. This organization provided AYA with funds for its projects to promote cultural and ethnic diversity.
Amber Boyd-Eiholzer – Amman (NEA)
Expanded post’s Black History Month celebrations. She coordinated a successful series of events for Black History Month, culminating in the sold-out Black and White Ball, which raised a record $10,000. Amber identified a local non-governmental organization assisting Syrian refugees to receive a portion of the proceeds.
Gretel Patch – Kathmandu (SCA)
Used her professional training in the field of educational technology to bring 21st century technology skills to underprivileged and at-risk youth in Nepal. Gretel teamed up with the English Access Microscholarship Program (Access), which provides intensive English language instruction to students ages 14-18. She designed lesson plans incorporating slideshows, movies, presentations and interactive quizzes.
Megan Gallardo – La Paz (WHA)
Showed exceptional volunteer achievement under adverse conditions within her host country. After visiting a local cancer treatment clinic, Megan launched a project to improve the facility, applying for and receiving a J. Kirby Simon grant. Megan also focused her attention on other projects such as helping women at a Trafficking in Person’s Shelter, a local animal shelter and a low/no income nursing facility.
A brief synopsis of the volunteer activity that earned each winner her/his award can be found at:
The award ceremony is open for press coverage. Members of the press wishing to attend should contact Brenda Greenberg at 202-647-4282. For further information about the event, you may contact the Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) at: 703-820-5420.
Pre-set time for cameras: 9:00 a.m. from the 21st Street Entrance.
Final access time for all press: 9:45 a.m. from the 21st Street Entrance.
Media representatives may attend this award ceremony upon presentation of one of the following: (1) a U.S. Government-issued identification card (Department of State, White House, Congress, Department of Defense, or Foreign Press Center), (2) a media-issued photo identification card, or (3) a letter from their employer on letterhead verifying their employment as a journalist, accompanied by an official photo identification (driver’s license or passport). Those who do not have a State Department building pass should allow adequate time to clear through security at the 21st Street entrance.