Pam Weinberger says she doesn't enjoy the spotlight.
But that's exactly where she ended up recently when she was named the Augusta Jewish Community Center's Humanitarian of the Year.
"It is a huge honor, but I really don't like to be the center of attention," said Weinberger, of Martinez. "All the stuff I do, I do not do because I want to be recognized. I do it because I enjoy doing it. I get pleasure out of it. I don't want to be recognized."
Weinberger said she also isn't one for making speeches but, after some practice, she gave one to more than 200 people gathered at a gala in her honor on Oct. 6. There, she told the crowd she attributes her success to those who support her in her charitable efforts and programs.
"She's an example of how you treat people; everybody feels appreciated," said Leah Ronen, executive director of the community center and the Augusta Jewish Federation. "Whatever she joins, she quietly takes on leadership and does all the work."
The humanitarian award is given annually to a person or couple nominated largely by the area's Jewish community, then selected by a community center committee, Ronen said.
Weinberger is on the Augusta Preparatory Day School Board of Trustees, recently came off the Jewish Federation board after several years of service and has formerly served on the boards of Adas Yeshrun Synagogue, Adas Yeshrun Sisterhood, Open Door Preschool and Pulse Dance Studio, all of which she still is involved with.
Weinberger, who oversees the office for Weinberger's Furniture, said one of her passions is the Evans Rotary Club, which she recently took a leave of absence from while her family opens a second furniture store location in the Lake Oconee community.
Her other source of pride is the community center's annual Empty Bowl fund-raiser for Golden Harvest Food Bank.
"What's nice is it involves the whole community," Weinberger said, adding that children make the bowls and restaurants donate the food for the fund-raiser. "It is nice because it is not just the Jewish community ... I love working with non-Jewish organizations and working together because to me, that just helps to break down the differences."
Augusta Mayor Deke Copenhaver sent a proclamation to the gala declaring Oct. 6 as Pam Weinberger Day in Augusta. Weinberger said the designation embarrassed her because she said recognition is not the reason for her active volunteerism.
"I am very grateful for what I have," Weinberger said. "There's always going to be somebody out there that has a lot more than I do. But there is always going to be more people that have a lot less than I do. I really love helping people ... It just makes you feel good."
Jack Hall, head of Augusta Prep, said Weinberger is a dedicated board member who gives freely of her time, is usually the first to step forward when help is needed and often opens her home for class or board parties or board meetings.
Recently, a student's family was burned out of their home. Hall said Weinberger was one of the first to respond with assistance.
"A lot of what she does is not high profile," said Hall. "She's the kind of person who works behind the scenes to support others."
While Weinberger gives credit to her fellow volunteers, she heaps appreciation on one person in particular.
"I've got a great husband," Weinberger said of her husband, Jay. "He is the most supportive husband. Yes, I am the one more seen within the volunteering in the community, but none of this could be done, none of it, if I didn't have a wonderful husband."
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