Vineville UMC member awarded for philanthropy efforts


 George Youmans, a long-time member of Vineville United Methodist Church in Macon, was recently awarded the United Methodist Association of Health and Welfare Ministries’ 2010 Hall of Fame in Philanthropy Award.

Presented on March 6 during the UMA’s Celebration of Excellence assembly at their 70th Annual National Convention in Burlingame, Calif., Youmans was honored for his longstanding and varied contributions in health and human services.

Youmans, a Macon native, has a long history of service to others.  A graduate of the United States Naval Academy, he served his country as an aviator in the U.S. Navy during the Vietnam War.  He continued that pattern of service upon his return, serving his church, his community, and his state. 

It was for his work with Wesley Glen Ministries that he was nominated and awarded, but he is also actively involved with Magnolia Manor, the Methodist Home for Children and Youth, the Salvation Army, and Vineville UMC. 

“This award is given every year to someone who has been kind and generous to one particular agency,” said Dr. Derek McAleer, vice president for development at The Methodist Home for Children and Youth.  “The thing that sets George apart from others is that he is heavily involved in three different agencies.”

Dr. Billy Oliver, president of Wesley Glen Ministries and Youmans’ former pastor at Vineville UMC, has been friends with Youmans for 30 years.  “George is a very congenial, outgoing person.  He’s done very well in business and has wanted to share what he’s been able to achieve and make life better for other people.”

Youmans, who currently serves as foundation director at Wesley Glen Ministries, was also the co-chairman of the Wesley Glen building committee for their new Life Skills Center, a multi-million dollar project that opened in November 2009. 

“He gave very unselfishly of his time,” said Dr. Oliver.  “I’ve had the opportunity to see him in the varied ways that he’s been supportive of individuals and the agencies of the Church.  He could have just as easily been nominated by Magnolia Manor or the Methodist Home as he was by Wesley Glen; we were all in agreement that he was the person that we wanted to nominate for the philanthropic award.”  

Youmans took on the task of leading the Life Skills Center campaign for Wesley Glen directly on the heels of having chaired a demanding multi-year fundraising campaign for Magnolia Manor.

“He manages all of those undertakings with such grace and ease; he puts people at ease and models generous stewardship for them,” said Rev. Robert Beckum, vice president of church relations and development for Magnolia Manor.  “I’ve become convinced that, not only in United Methodist circles, but anything philanthropic that’s happening in Macon and Bibb County, nothing happens there without George’s involvement.  He’s been involved in every level of the community in a philanthropic, supportive way, giving back to the community.”

Very involved in his church, Youmans is the chairman of the board of trustees at Vineville UMC and was co-chairman of a multi-million dollar building expansion project there.

“He has a cooperative spirit; an encouraging, enthusiastic spirit,” said Vineville UMC pastor Dr. Marcus Tripp.  “He sees how God has blessed his life and has a desire to help others.”

Described as unassuming, humble, humorous and unpretentious, Youmans insists that he “doesn’t do much.”

“I just have a hard time telling people no,” the husband, father and grandfather says with a laugh.  “The Lord has been so, so good to me and to my family; I’m just so blessed that I have a need to share that to some degree.  It’s something I just enjoy doing.”

UMA is made up of 119 health and welfare organizations throughout the United States, including hospital and healthcare systems; children, youth, and family services; ministries to persons with disabilities; older adult ministries; and community service ministries. The United Methodist Church has at least 300 health & welfare ministries with 1,555 locations across the United States, employing 354,000 individuals and serving more than 32,000,000 in charity care annually.

--By Kara Witherow, South Georgia Advocate editor

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