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Operation Sandbox's Pearson wins Community Service Award
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Virginia Pearson, director and founder of Operation Sandbox, presents a plaque of appreciation to Outback Steakhouse for their contribution to the troops.

Operation Sandbox's Virginia Pearson was recently named as one of winners of this year's Community Service Award by 11 Alive in Atlanta for her work supporting the troops.

"I am so excited," said Pearson. "I'm just so tickled someone noticed what we do." She said the award organizers had to call the nominator, Operation Sandbox volunteer Joyce Freeman, to verify the application because it sounded too good to be true. The award goes to "outstanding local volunteers who have demonstrated selfless devotion for the betterment of the community," according to the station's description.

The nonprofit will receive a $1,000 check along with a photo shoot at the Covington Armory, where the Georgia Army National Guard Bravo Company, 1-121st Infantry, 48th Brigade is based. 

Pearson and the 10 other volunteers for 2011 will also be recognized at an awards banquet on April 19, hosted by 11Alive News Anchors Brenda Wood and Ted Hall. The banquet will be aired on WXIA-TV, 11Alive and WATL-TV, myAtlTV.

The proceeds from the banquet will benefit Emory University's Alzheimer's Disease Research Center (ADRC).

Operation Sandbox, which was started in November of 2004 by Pearson and her daughter, sends care packages to troops serving overseas and has reached over 80,000 servicemen and servicewomen. For more information, visit