Louise Sardo is 83 years old and has been blind since birth. Samantha Powers is 11 years old, competes in pageants and was diagnosed with lupus when she was nine years old. Despite their differences, the two women recently shared common ground when they were honored by the St. Louis Rams and GFI Digital as the winner and runner-up respectively of the 2012 Georgia Frontiere Community Quarterback Award.
Sardo has donated much of her time over the last 34 years to her work with the Jefferson County Rescue Mission, an organization she co-founded and that provides necessities for the less fortunate in Jefferson County and parts of St. Louis county. For her efforts, Sardo was awarded the $7,500 grant for her organization. She organizes dinner deliveries to the homebound during Thanksgiving and even hosts a Thanksgiving dinner at the Jefferson County Rescue Mission facility. Sardo also founded a soup kitchen in the organization’s facility, an idea that was adopted by various churches throughout Jefferson County.
As runner-up, Powers was the recipient of a $2,500 grant for the Lupus Foundation of America – Heartland Chapter. Despite her youth, Powers has become an integral part of the organization and the face of lupus in Missouri, eastern Kansas and southern Illinois. Locally, she organized a lupus awareness day at her elementary school to educate her classmates and teachers about the disease, and she also delivered a speech at the rotunda in Jefferson City at the Lupus Public Rally and Advocacy Day. Powers has not only remained positive and upbeat during her own battle with lupus, but has also provided comfort and a helping hand to those recently diagnosed.
The remaining eight Georgia Frontiere Community Quarterback Award finalists were also recognized for their service and received a $1,250 grant for their charity. They included Teresa Beasley for her efforts with the Logan Community Center, Mike Giertz for his role with HavenHouse St. Louis, Dee Joyner with Great Circle, the late Roberta “Bobbie” Lautenschlager for her support of Cinema St. Louis and St. Louis International Film Festival, Deidre Lhamon with The Covering House, Cleta Null from Agape Help House, Peter Rodick for his efforts with Mission: St. Louis and Robert O. Smith with Mathews-Dickey Boys’ and Girls’ Club.
All the honorees were invited to the ContinuityX Training Center for an award luncheon. After receiving their trophies, the community quarterbacks were joined by the Rams quarterbacks who offered their congratulations on all the efforts. In addition, the top ten volunteers will be honored on the field of the Edward Jones Dome prior to the Rams’ game on Sunday, December 16 against the Minnesota Vikings.
The Georgia Frontiere Community Quarterback Awards, presented by GFI Digital, initially began in 2000 as the Community Quarterback Awards, but was renamed in 2008 to honor the late Rams’ owner and chairman, Georgia Frontiere. In the years that have passed, the Rams have donated over $250,000 to community organizations and charities as a result of the program.