Spirit Award

The Spirit Award is presented to an individual involved in the Odyssey of the Mind program who, through personal action, demonstrates the encourage­ ment and development of cooperation, self respect, and the appreciation and understanding of others. This year’s award goes to Dennis Godfrey.

Dennis Godfrey has become so well rooted in all things Odyssey of the Mind, that other members aren’t like family – they are family, literally. And while he has selflessly vol­ unteered for OotM for over twenty years in many different facets and has helped students

in Virginia and all around the world, his biggest Odyssey role is father and grandfather!

He became involved in the early l 990’s when his daughter Gwen joined a team. Dennis helped train the team for Spontaneous and served as a judge at Regionals in Virginia. He took on more roles over the years once his son (Patrick) also became involved. He was an Assistant Coach, Regional Board of Directors, Regional Spontaneous Captain and eventu­ ally Virginia State Spontaneous Captain, and began judging at World Finals (now for more than 10 years). ln 2009, Dennis became Association Director for Vi rginia, and served for five years. During this time, the VA Association flourished and Dennis helped many teams and volunteers. He is now on the Creative Opportunities Unlimited Board and serves as Assistant Treasurer.

“My favorite memory about Odyssey came in 2005. I did not attend World Finals that year, but Patrick, then a college student represented the family as a volunteer, running the Creativity Festival for Virginia. He returned from WF and mentioned he met a wonderful young lady from Vermont. In three years, Charissa Wong became our daughter- in-law. So we have an Odyssey family, with Patrick, Charissa, Charissa’s dad, Charissa’s sister all serving as World Judges. At Worlds, Nancy Wong and my wife Priscilla come to serve as entertainment for the two mini-OMERs , Kallen and Kira Godfrey,” said Dennis.

Dennis is a retired CEO from a national financial services company, who used Spon­ taneous training principles to help young men and women in the Executive Development program, to think “outside the box.”

Even with all of his work within Odyssey, Dennis finds time to help others in many dif­ ferent ways, “I am currently working ‘full time ‘ as a volunteer at a local food bank, provid­ ing nourishing meals to families who are hungry in Loudoun County, Virginia. I am also on the Board of Directors of a 50l-c-3 that provides grants to make the lives of Virginians with Intellectual Disabilities have a life more like ours.”

In his usual humble manner Dennis’s reaction to winning the award showed his Odyssey Spirit, ” I am stunned to be honored as the recipient of the Spirit Award by Odyssey of the Mind.  I have enjoyed thoroughly my association with this organization and truly believe it has helped me grow more than the assistance I have provided.