Govenor, Namenuk honored as outstanding citizen volunteers
Volunteers Viola Govenor and Bonnie Namenuk were honored, May 1, with Outstanding Citizen awards for their work with victims of domestic violence.
The awards were presented by the Jefferson County Domestic Violence Task force for work above and beyond the usual.
Warm Springs resident Viola Govenor is a mother, grandmother, great-grandmother and tribal elder with strong spiritual values.
For over 25 years, she worked in the community health field assisting patients, and later worked in the tribal senior program. She was also a member of the first Tribal Community Police Team.
After retiring for three years, she began working as a victim's advocate and now works fulltime.
Her strengths are her compassion for victims who are hurting, her humble way of speaking to many women, and her warm grandmotherly hugs and smiles.
"She's a role model for others ... she's always there for us," said Tina Aguilar, a friend of Govenor's.
Bonnie Namenuk did not think she was qualified to do domestic violence work when she started, but she now finds the work very gratifying.
At the luncheon where the awards were presented, Namenuk told task force members she remembered the very first call she went on.
"The first call was the tragic suicide of a young girl. Her mother said, `Where did you come from? Are you an angel sent from God?' and right then I was hooked," Namenuk said, of her start volunteering.
She mentioned other cases with teenagers, and said one 15-year-old told her, "You're the first one that's ever listened to me."
"That's why I do what I do. If I can help them through some dark hours, that's what I'm there for," she said.