OGDEN -- Sally Carter began volunteering while in elementary school, caring for disabled babies and toddlers in a small orphanage in Ohio. She has never stopped and credits her mother for setting a great example.
Carter recently was named Volunteer of the Year by the Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce and will be honored for her service during a dinner in February.
"I met Sally at a school function where she was volunteering," said Dave Hardman, Ogden/Weber Chamber of Commerce CEO. "Since she arrived in Utah, she has been involved in so many different things. She's a serial volunteer and a very upbeat and positive lady."
At the orphanage, Carter, a Girl Scout at the time, fed infants, changed their diapers and played with the toddlers.
"This left a lasting impact on me that I could do something that would make a difference, no matter how small," she said.
In addition, Carter's mother set an example for her daughter, volunteering for the National Multiple Sclerosis Society and the Girl Scouts of America. She was also a Sunday school teacher and a volunteer at Carter's school.
Carter, the wife of recently retired Standard-Examiner publisher Lee Carter, said she found volunteering was a way to fight homesickness. When her children went off to school, she found comfort in serving while they were gone.
When the Carters moved to Utah, she walked into the American Red Cross of Northern Utah and asked how she could help.
"Because I had never lived away from my family I found that keeping busy was the best cure," she said. "I also felt that my role as the wife of the publisher of the newspaper was to keep my ears open and really know the communities we lived in."
During her years in Ogden, she has volunteered with Enable Utah, Your Community Connection, the Utah Business Employers Team and Reflections at Bonneville High School. She currently serves as volunteer coordinator for AmeriCorps and Vista at United Way of Northern Utah.
One of the highlights of her position at United Way was placing volunteers in elementary schools to tutor students in reading, she said.
Carter was born in Columbus, Ohio, and moved to Sandusky, Ohio, where she met her husband while both were working at the Sandusky Register newspaper.
"We were an office romance brought together by the switchboard operator," she said.
The couple are the parents of three sons, a golden retriever named Scout and a "very fat" cat named Bob.
Carter said she was surprised to find out she was the recipient of the Chamber award.
"When Dave Hardman called me about this, I thought he had made a mistake," she said.
She suggests everyone give volunteering a try.
"I have received so much more than I have given," she said. "Volunteering is vital as a way to know the community you live in. I think Utah gets this concept more than any other state.
"It's impossible to explain the feeling you get from helping others, but other volunteers know exactly what you are talking about. It's stepping outside of your own world and walking into someone else's for awhile."