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Henderson Heart of the City Award goes to tour guide/educator

Tammie Hampton wants to be an unofficial “be kind” ambassador.

“I live my life around that saying,” the longtime Henderson resident said.

It’s only fitting Hampton was presented Nov. 5 with Henderson’s Heart of the City Award. The award, presented each year to a Henderson resident or city employee, is as part of the city’s Be Kind initiative that launched in 2014.

“It was an absolute thrill for me,” Hampton told the Review-Journal on Nov. 27.

Hampton received the award “in recognition of her exceptional acts of kindness through volunteerism that have enriched the lives of the Henderson community and Las Vegas Valley for many years,” the city said in a statement Nov. 6.

Hampton told the Review-Journal: “The heart of the city isn’t just one person. The heart of the city is many, many people, and so many of those people have been with me for years.”

Hampton works as a tour guide and educator at Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat at The Mirage. At work, Hampton shares a reminder with schoolchildren as they’re getting back on the school bus after a tour: Be kind.

Hampton’s two main volunteer activities are with McDoniel Elementary School’s marine lab in Henderson and with Special Spaces, a nonprofit that redesigns bedrooms for children with life-threatening illnesses.

She was also chairwoman for the Best Buddies Friendship Walk in April to benefit people who have an intellectual or developmental disabilities. She also has arranged several area trash cleanups.

The 50-year-old is a nearly lifelong Las Vegas Valley resident. Her family moved to the area when she was 3, and she has lived in Henderson for about 30 years.

Henderson resident Ellen Librizzi, who has been friends with Hampton for about 15 years, nominated her for the award. She learned about the award via an email from a coworker.

“When I read the email, the first person I thought of was Tammie,” she said.

Librizzi “was super excited” when she found out her friend would receive the award. But she wasn’t surprised, she said, and felt the city had picked the right person.

‘Many hands make light work’

Hampton has a gift for remembering names and faces, Librizzi said, and is willing to chip in wherever needed.

“She does a tremendous amount of volunteer work, but on top of that it’s just her whole attitude,” Librizzi said.

Hampton is more than just an incredible volunteer, Librizzi wrote in the award nomination: “Through all of the ups and downs that life presents us with, Tammie continually demonstrates the kindest heart.”

The two met around 2004 when Hampton was volunteering at McDoniel Elementary, where Librizzi was a speech pathologist. Their children were also close in age.

Hampton was the school’s PTA president and promoted the slogan, “Many hands make light work,” Librizzi wrote.

When Hampton volunteers, “I feel like I’ve done something productive with my day,” she said.

Hampton encourages others to volunteer. She likens herself to a “volunteer wrangler.”

“It’s just phenomenal what people will do when they’re given the opportunity to come together,” she said.

Contact Julie Wootton-Greener at jgreener@reviewjournal.com or 702-387-2921. Follow @julieswootton on Twitter.

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