During Voluntern 2015 we debuted a new interactive, people’s choice award for Voluntern: New England Aquarium’s Unsung Hero Award.

According to Wikipedia, an unsung hero is, “One who does great deeds but receives little or no recognition for them.” Through the NEAq Unsung Hero Award, we hope to acknowledge a few tried and true volunteers who generally fly under our radar and may not otherwise receive specialized recognition during Voluntern 2016.

Launched in memory of John Masterson, a volunteer who served more than a decade before receiving his first formal accolade, the award is presented to individuals whom best embody the following traits:

• Unsung: The individual has not been formally recognized (outside of the hours based service pins & years recognition) by NEAq within the last 5 years.
• Consistent: Someone that staff members feel can always be counted on. They are reliable in attendance and deliver high quality results without fault
• Team player: Someone that is always ready to lend a hand to benefit departmental goals and is pleasurable to work with
• Passionate: Someone who is excited about and engaged in the mission and work of NEAq.
• Humble: Someone who just gets it done and seeks little extra recognition
• Has completed a minimum of 250 hours on behalf of NEAq

How the winner is selected:
• Supervisors submit nominations for team members that fit the afore mentioned attributes
• The VP&I Team will compile nominations and narrow the semi-finalist pool down to 5-6 contenders.
  • At team of Association of Zoos & Aquariums Volunteer Managers from across the United States narrow the pool to 3 semi-finalists.​
  • The winner is selected by popular vote during Voluntern Appreciation Night.