Volunteer of the Year

Each year, we recognize five employees who embody our Blue Corps℠ Volunteer Program: one winner from each of our states, in addition to one overall company winner. These volunteers are nominated by their peers for their extraordinary work in the community and receive a grant for the nonprofit of their choice as part of their recognition.

We extend our sincere gratitude and congratulations to our 2013 Blue Corps Volunteers of the Year and to all of our employee volunteers for their continued commitment to improving our communities.


The 2013 HCSC Volunteer of the Year is Jim Barone, director of Strategic Sourcing in the Chicago headquarters. Jim is an outstanding ambassador for our company, dedicating much of his free time to volunteering at corporate events and nonprofits in his community. Jim has volunteered with HCSC for more than 10 years and is a core member of the Celebration of Caring Committee, which facilitates corporate volunteer activities for employees. Each month, Jim leads a group of employees to volunteer at the Loaves and Fishes Community Pantry in Naperville. He also participates in the annual Chicago Cares Serve-a-Thon and Corporate Challenge events and is a member of the Employee Giving Steering Committee. Closer to home, Jim coordinates an annual golf outing to support Norridge Cares, a community organization devoted to providing scholarships to local young people. He also served as president of the local school board. Jim lives our purpose and always encourages others to do so as well.


The 2013 Illinois Blue Corps Volunteer of the Year is Rebecca Weinshenker, an associate actuary in the Chicago headquarters. Rebecca is passionate about her volunteer work both with BCBSIL and in her personal time. Rebecca is an active member of the Celebration of Caring Committee and often leads a group of employee volunteers to cook breakfast at the Inspiration Café, which serves homeless or poor men, women and families in a therapeutic community that promotes dignity and respect. She participates regularly in events throughout the year, including the Chase Corporate Challenge and Chicago Cares Serve-a-Thon, and encourages her co-workers to get involved as well. Perhaps most significantly, Rebecca mentors a girl that she was matched with a few years ago through Mercy Home for Boys and Girls. She has followed her mentee to different nonprofit organizations to ensure their bond continues, and they are now a big part of each other’s lives.

New Mexico

The 2013 New Mexico Blue Corps Volunteer of the Year is Michelle Hawthorne, an administrative assistant in Albuquerque. Michelle is a tireless volunteer, supporting an array of nonprofits in the community. Her co-workers say she goes above and beyond to lead and help with volunteer activities and is passionate about encouraging others to give back with her. For more than 10 years, Michelle has volunteered with organizations such as the March of Dimes and American Heart Association and supported events like Making Strides for Breast Cancer and Operation Back to School.


Project Analyst Tiffany Howell was selected as the 2013 Oklahoma Blue Corps Volunteer of the Year for her passion and dedication for giving back to her community. Tiffany volunteers with the Oklahoma Caring Foundation, KaBOOM! and the American Red Cross’ “Ready When the Time Comes” corporate volunteer program, which trains employees from businesses within the community and mobilizes them when disaster strikes. She is also passionate about supporting Citizens Caring for Children, an organization that assists children living in foster care. Tiffany was nominated because of her willingness to help and lead volunteer activities whether at work during the week or on the weekend. She has volunteered for events such as the Oklahoma University Medicine Corporate Challenge and activities at the Regional Food Bank of Oklahoma. Tiffany also serves on the Oklahoma Blue Corps planning committee, as well as the United Way and Diversity Committees.


The 2013 Texas Blue Corps Volunteer of the Year is Cherry Jefferson, who is a senior provider network contracting representative in Houston and has been with our company for nearly 25 years. Cherry’s dedication to our purpose includes volunteering at Care Van events and KaBOOM! playground builds. She accompanies our health and wellness ambassador, Blue Bear℠, at his many community appearances. Cherry’s energy and enthusiasm for volunteering with the company and in her personal time are an inspiration to her co-workers, who say she lives and breathes Blue.