As nice as it was to be recognized, Alpha Gamma Sigma President Mikie Silva said it was the company that made the evening special.

The Merced College honor society was named the 2019 Merced Volunteer Group of Year for District 6 at the Merced City Council meeting earlier in the week. AGS was nominated by District 6 Councilman Delray Shelton. Silva and company were presented an award along with the other winners from Merced’s districts.

“It was really nice, because it wasn’t just us,” Silva said. “They honored groups from other districts as well. It’s just cool to see that there are so many other people or groups, like us, that are doing anything they can to give back.

“It was special to be part of a group that’s making a difference in the community.”

Silva said philanthropy is one the three foundations of AGS, along with academics and leadership development.

Some of AGS’ service highlights for the 2018-19 school year include two campus blood drives each semester, in partnership with BloodSource. They handle all the recycling of aluminum, plastic and glass on the Merced College campus. They organize monthly neighborhood food drives to assist the Associated Students of Merced College with stocking the Food Pantry. Members volunteer at the Merced County Rescue Mission every Thanksgiving to help feed 1,500 people in need annually, as well as individual service projects within the community.

“Vince (Piro) and I are incredibly proud of this group of students,” AGS adviser and English Professor Jennifer McBride said. “They are both academic and service minded. It’s been a pleasure to advise this hardworking and dedicated group.”