‘Thinking with their hearts’: Switchpoint and its director get revolutionary honors

ST. GEORGE — In a pandemic year of Zoom meetings and physical distancing that made it harder to do their job of providing aid to people in poverty, it was appropriate that Executive Director Carol Hollowell had to accept the award remotely when Switchpoint and its leader were honored by the Color County Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR) on Thursday.

Switchpoint’s Executive Director Carol Hollowell seen on a phone at a ceremony honoring the nonprofit and her at the Switchpoint Community Resource Center, St. George, Utah, Oct. 14, 2021 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Switchpoint received the chapter’s Community Service Award, while in a surprise Hollowell wasn’t expecting she received a Women in American History honor.

Hollowell couldn’t hold the certificates or get pinned with the red, white and blue adorned medal during the ceremony at Switchpoint’s offices in St. George. But her face still beamed from a cell phone held by Switchpoint Development Director Linda Stay.

The executive director has been spending the week in the Salt Lake City area, spending long hours doing the culmination of a funding effort to convert a hotel to house seniors in poverty. And she couldn’t get away Thursday as she was addressing and petitioning for more funds from tech CEOs at the Silicon Slopes Summit. 

But from a distance, she felt the honors as an affirmation of the work Switchpoint does. 

“I think it’s important that my team feels recognized. Sometime you feel like are people noticing, especially after a hard COVID year and a half, but they need that recognition of, ‘Hey, people appreciate hard it is,’” Hollowell said. “Sometimes it’s a chaotic, traumatic job. So yeah, this means a lot.”

Daughters of the American Revolution Color County Chapter certificate awarding Switchpoint it’s Community Service Award seen at the Switchpoint Community Resource Center, St. George, Utah, Oct. 14, 2021 | Photo by Chris Reed, St. George News

Valerie King, regent for the DAR Color County Chapter, said one of the reasons Switchpoint was honored was the ability to help people in poverty locally in spite of the roadblocks of the last year and a half. Even though technology like remote meetings that would seem like magic to the founding fathers played a role, King said Switchpoint and Hollowell personified the revolutionary spirit of 1776. 

“I think we’ve all had to figure out a new and inventive or innovative ways to gather and still support mission fields. Some of us had to go to Zoom meetings and figure out different ways that we could provide service while limiting the personal contact,” King said. “We’re Americans. We figure it out and make things happen.”

King added it wasn’t a hard process for the Color County Chapter to arrive at Switchpoint as being this year’s honoree.

“It wasn’t hard to figure it out because we knew the challenges that Carol and her group had last year. And we tried to help with those challenges,” King said. “We knew that despite everything they were going to persevere.”

Switchpoint Executive Director Carol Hollowell, left receives her Women in American History medal from Daughters of the American Revolution Regent Valerie King, St. George, Utah, Oct. 15, 2021 | Photo courtesy of Switchpoint, St. George News

Returning to St. George, Hollowell received the awards on Friday, and King came back to the Switchpoint Community Resource Center to pin the medal on Hollowell.

While Hollowell, who was a co-founder of the nonprofit in 2014, knew that DAR would be honoring her organization, being named as a Woman in American History was left as a complete surprise.

Along with the medal and certificate, Hollowell’s likeness and 100 words about her will now be a permanent part of the database at the National Society of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington D.C.

King said condensing Hollowell’s accomplishments into 100 words was a tough task.

“How could you not recognize Carol for everything that she’s done in our community? Especially since it goes back to 2014, this isn’t something new,” King said. “She’s been sustaining this for some time and continue to grow it and meet the needs that the challenging needs really of helping those that need a meal or need a place to stay,” King said of Hollowell. “She gives from the heart and I couldn’t think of a more deserving person to be rewarded for all of that.”

It turns out, even through a phone screen, Hollowell could feel the love. And while she’s no stranger to being honored for her work, even on a worldwide basis, she said there was something more special about being recognized by the DAR team. 

“They have come and been such a big part of our cadre of volunteers and thinking with their hearts,” Hollowell said. “It means a lot when you’re honored from your friends. That’s what makes it really special is it’s not just an honor from some unknown entity. It’s way more meaningful.”

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2021, all rights reserved.

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