The Junior Auxiliary of Rankin County (JARC) will honor Robby Scucchi as its Community Volunteer of the Year on March 26.
In a sense, the award will pay tribute to two people. Scucchi says it was his late mother, Brenda Scucchi, who taught him that “time and compassion are meant to be given away.” Even when she was sick with cancer, she never stopped thinking of others.
"My mom was always out volunteering for something, not for the praise, but for the sheer kindness in her heart,” said Scucchi, director of volunteer services at Methodist Specialty Care Center in Flowood. “She is my greatest inspiration.”
The JARC will recognize Scucchi during its Sweet Charity Ball at the Castlewoods Country Club in Rankin County. And Charity Ball Chairwoman April Savell said Scucchi was speechless when she told him the news.
“It’s not that often that a non-auxiliary member receives the award, so I’m truly honored,” Scucchi said. “Volunteerism is a way of life with me, so I am very touched that people notice the good that other people do, whether it’s within their own organization or for others.”
It’s not the first time Scucchi has been singled out for his service. The Greenville native was the 2003 Volunteer of the Year for the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce. And in 2004, Gov. Haley Barbour recognized his outstanding volunteer efforts with Mississippi high school students.
Now a Hinds County resident, Scucchi caught the eye of the JARC through his role at Methodist Specialty Care Center. Soon after coming to the residential care facility in 2004, Scucchi began recruiting JARC members to help him enrich the lives of the center’s severely disabled residents.
“We do one function a month, and Robby is key in planning what we do,” said JARC member Brook Atkinson. “He is so creative, and he makes it so much fun that several of us do a lot more than our required 12-hour project. Many of us have even gotten our husbands and children involved. We’ve gotten to know the residents, and they have all become very special to us.”
Jan Robertson, Methodist Specialty Care Center administrator, said Scucchi was able to build the center’s volunteer program from the ground up, and it is his passion. "Robby has a love for what he does, and you see that in his actions every day," she said.
Scucchi currently has 83 volunteers on the program’s roster, and they help staff keep the center’s 59 residents busy. “We are offered activities each month that allow us to enjoy a sense of community,” said center resident Oscar Hicks. “We attend local baseball games, theatrical events, religious services and lots of fun activities inside the facility that assist in keeping us active and improve our quality of life.”
Scucchi also has become a mentor for others involved in volunteerism. He conducts workshops for nonprofits, ranging from the Southeastern Directors of Volunteer Services in Healthcare Organizations (SDVSHO) to the Mississippi Center for Nonprofits. In 2004, he became the only director of volunteer services in Mississippi to be certified through SDVSHO, and he now serves on its board. In 2005, Scucchi was elected as the president of the Directors of Volunteers in Agencies. He spent three years in that position, increasing membership and programs by nearly 35 percent.
“Robby has an uncanny ability to network appropriate people, organizations and tasks together to mobilize volunteers and volunteer leaders in a manner that not only gets the job done, but inspires volunteers and organizations to serve their communities at the highest level possible,” said Elizabeth Coleman, volunteer services administrator for the Mississippi Department of Archives and History.
Outside of work, Scucchi contributes hours of volunteer time to a long list of community organizations. He has held board positions with The Mississippi Delta Advertising Federation, The Delta Symphony Association, The March of Dimes, The American Cancer Society, The United Way, The Mississippi Firefighters Memorial Burn Association, The American Heart Association, The Greenville Balloon Festival, the Greenville Area Chamber of Commerce's Special Events Committee and the Jackson State University Advisory Board, just to name a few.
In 2008, Scucchi was awarded the prestigious Camellia Award by the Alabama Society of Directors of Volunteer Services in Health Care Organizations for his outstanding contributions as a leader of volunteers in a health care organization. This honor has never been given outside of the state of Alabama. Scucchi also was commissioned a Kentucky Colonel in 2005, the highest honor award given by the Commonwealth of Kentucky by Gov. Ernie Fletcher.
But Scucchi says the best reward is knowing his mother would be proud of his service. “My mom instilled in me the value of giving to others," he said. "I feel both passionate and fortunate about what I do.”
The Sweet Charity Ball is set for 6 p.m., March 26 at Castlewoods Country Club in Rankin County. Entertainment will be provided by Hunter Gibson & the Gators. Tickets are $100 per couple and may be purchased at the door. Proceeds will benefit the projects of Junior Auxiliary of Rankin County. For more information, call April Savell at 601-829-1406 or email email@example.com.