By Brian Patrick
This year’s runner up for the Mark Bingham Athlete of the Year award is Donnell Dumas of Phoenix. Growing up with a mother who shared with her a love of community service, it’s no surprise that Donnell has continued to serve her community as an adult. She says that of all the groups she’s worked with over the years, she feels the most rewarding are working with the mentally and physically challenged as well as those who are hearing impaired.
A mail carrier for the U.S. Postal Service, she is a nine-year member of GLAD, the Gay and Lesbian Association of Darts which is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Of the many sports organiza- tions within the Phoenix metropolitan area, GLAD is well known for donating 100 percent of its weekly dues to charities within the area. And for Donnell, being a member of this sports organization has been a wonderful match for her desire to help those who are less fortunate.
Donnell has been one of a small number of league volunteers responsible for the on-going success of the organization’s Have A Heart Project. Going above and beyond the dues that they donate, this program selects three non-profit organizations each year and all the money from the various fund raisers and events they hold each season goes to those charities for a full year. Since June 2008 the Have A Heart Project alone has raised over $40,000 for the selected charities, raised through a variety of events, such as comedy, drag and variety shows as well as raffles and the sale of Jello shots.
Since Donnell became co-chair of the Have A Heart Project in 2009, the money raised has nearly doubled due to her dedication to the project. In 2011 she received the Have A Heart award from her GLAD league members for her countless hours of volunteering, hard workand perseverance for the league’s chosen charities, and she’s known throughout the league as the “face of Have A Heart.” She has also been the recipient of a number of awards from other organizations for her humanitarian work in the Phoenix area, including a 2010 nomination for ‘N Touch Woman of the Year and a 2012 award from the Los Amigos Del Sol’s annual humanitarian “Char” award for her commitment to sup- porting both LGBT and straight local charities. Donnell is also part of the Imperial Court of Arizona.
But she’s not all work and no fun. Donnell is also filled with a zest for life and an exuberance that has earned her the “Most Fun Female” award for three dart seasons in a row. She loves meeting new people and learning about their life stories. But what she loves best is the love and support of her GLAD league members that she says feels like a big family. Donnell Dumos is truly a woman with a heart … a big one!