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Posted: February 23, 2011 7:37 p.m.

Mary Arnwine is volunteer of the year

Photos By Gabriel Khouli/

Mary Arnwine volunteers at so many places she has trouble keeping track. She works with the Sunday school and Stephen ministry groups at First United Methodist Church, delivers flower arrangements to nursing homes, bakes cookies for the library, is involved in the Covington Women's Club and is a fantastic mother.

For all of her service to the Newton County community, Arnwine was named the 2010 volunteer of the year at Wednesday's night Newton Fund ceremony.

This annual award is officially named the Pat Patrick Big Heart Award in honor of Pat Patrick, the founding chair of the Newton Fund, a local non-profit group that encourages philanthropy and supports other non-profits.

Arnwine was given $2,000 to donate to non-profits of her choice; she chose to give $1,000 each to Friends of Newton Parks and the Newton County Arts Association.

"This means everything to me. It helps fulfill some of the great things we do in this community," Arnwine said afterward. When asked why she's so active, she said, "I'm 89 years old. I stay busy to keep my mind active and healthy. I don't have time to sit at home."

In addition to all of her hard work, daughter Kathy Massengale said Arnwine raised a loving family.

"She was a fantastic mother. She raised two very strong-willed daughters," Massengale said.

"And a strong-willed granddaughter," Arnwine added.

The Newton Fund also awarded $26,812 in grants to six Newton County nonprofits: FaithWorks; The Center for Community Preservation and Planning, Newton County Community Partnership, Southern Heartland Arts, The Learning Center, and Willing Helpers Medical.

Since 2000, the Newton Fund has granted more than $246,000 to Newton County nonprofits.

The Newton Fund is the local arm of The Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta, which, since 2000, has awarded 454 grants totaling $3.24 million to organizations in Newton County.

"Nonprofits in Newton County help create a better community for us all," Barbara Morgan, advisory board chair of the Newton Fund, said in a press release. "This year's grant recipients represent some of the strongest organizations in our community, and provide quality services for many of our neighbors in need and enrich the lives of us all. We are pleased to be able to provide them funding to continue their work especially during these difficult economic times."

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