Exchange Club awards Book of Golden Deeds

By BRITTANY FHOLER
Cove Leader-Press 

The Exchange Club of Copperas Cove recognized Mark Peterson and the Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans as the recipients of this year’s Book of Golden Deeds award at its 44th annual banquet held Friday evening at the Holy Family Catholic Church social hall. 
This year marked the first year that an organization was selected to receive the award, according to club president Ronnie Viss. 
Laura White, past district president, presented the Book of Golden Deeds award to Mark Peterson, after listing his history of community service, which includes being a member of the Copperas Cove Chamber of Commerce, the Military Affairs Committee, the Texas District Board of Directors, the Exchange Club of Copperas Cove , the Association of the United States Army, the Central Texas Council of Governments, Hill Country Transit District, Animal Advisory Committee, Audit Committee, Transportation Committee and serving as Mayor pro tem and a member of the Copperas Cove city council. 
“He never says no to anyone needing help, whether it’s someone who needs help understanding the city or state government and all the requirements that go along with that or helping active duty or retired military people navigate Fort Hood and the military system,” White said.
White added that Peterson is always promoting Copperas Cove and participating in charity activities. 
 “Mark is always just a phone call away, whether someone needs a ride or groceries, a listening ear or advice,” White added. 
Peterson thanked his wife and daughters and the Exchange Club of Copperas Cove after he received his award. 
“I was drawn to the Exchange Club when I retired from the military because of the diverse work that they do throughout the community,” Peterson said. “No matter what your passion is, in Exchange, you can find it and guide it and work on it, so thank you to the Exchange Club for this great honor.”
Current president Ronnie Viss presented Star Group-Veterans Helping Veterans’ president Jonathan Haywood with the Book of Golden Deed Awards after listing all of the work the organization has done in their 10 years in Central Texas. 
Since their start in 2008, the organization has held annual events such as their Independence Day Picnic, their Thanksgiving Basket Giveaway, the Gospel Explosion, their Veterans Day Golf Tournament and their free Health Fair co-sponsored with the city of Copperas Cove. They also participate in the Relay for Life race and hold ice cream socials at local nursing homes. The organization has also raised tens of thousands of dollars of the last three years for the CCISD Stuff the Bus program, Viss said. 
Viss also shared of a time when he mentioned, in passing, the need for toys for a mission trip to the Rio Grande Valley, and how the organization came through with so many toys and items that they wouldn’t fit in Viss’ car. 
“This is the kind of organization we’re honoring tonight,” Viss said. “They just kind of hear about little things. They don’t really make a big fuss about it, they kind of go behind the scenes and they make it happen.”
The group also supports other local Veteran’s organizations and community charities. 
“It’s really inspiring to see this group of people come together and serve the way that they do,” Viss said. 
Haywood accepted the award and thanked the board members of SG-VHV as well as other organizations, like the Rainbow Room, and former mayor John Hull and his wife, for their support of the organization. 
The volunteers with SG-VHV gathered for a group picture after Haywood finished speaking, where they surprised him by presenting the Book of Golden Deeds award to Haywood for his work in starting and leading the organization. 
The banquet was catered by La Dolce Vita. 
The invocation was led by Noon Exchange Club president Mike Blount and the national and state pledges were led by Alan Mathis. 
Exchange Club president elect Sharon Tabor introduced past Book of Golden Deeds award recipients and at the end of the ceremony, interim city manager Ryan Haverlah led the crowd in the closing prayer. 
The Exchange Club of Copperas Cove meets every Wednesday at 6:30 a.m. at Li’l Tex Restaurant at 502 S Main St. 

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