As we wrap up November and our 2021 ToolBank National Awards, we wanted to provide our supporters a recap of our awards event. We had a limited group of 50 people in attendance for the live portion of the ToolBank National Awards at the Atlanta ToolBank. This year’s event was hosted by Patty Russart, ToolBank USA’s CEO, and Bill Hess, ToolBank Disaster Services Manager & Panama City Program Manager. All of the ToolBank USA staff was were on-site for the event and had a great time meeting each other…some for the first time in-person! The rest of the audience included ToolBank USA, board members, event sponsors, local supporters, and award winners. Attendees were also able to get their hands on some great ToolBank gear that was sold at the event. Email Julie Italiano, Director of Marketing if you are interested in purchasing a ToolBank North Face Beanie, a ToolBank Poncho, or a mini ToolBank cooler. Our network of affiliates were able to join virtually via our live YouTube stream and celebrate the victories of their fellow ToolBankers.

After a fabulous hybrid event in 2021, we can’t wait to continue this tradition into 2022. Be thinking about your 2022 nominees now!


ToolBank Affiliate of the Year – Golden Hammer Winner: Baltimore ToolBank

ToolBank USA has created the ToolBank Affiliate of the Year Award to recognize outstanding performance and/or accomplishments of an Affiliate who exemplified the mission of the ToolBank by supporting their member agencies and partners.  In a coordinated effort, the Board, staff and volunteers worked together to fulfill a need in their community to provide the right tools, training, and/or conduit to get it done.

Wilkinson Millenary Volunteer Award Winner (WMVA): Paul Mitchell

ToolBank USA created the Wilkinson Millenary Volunteer Award (WMVA) to honor those individual Volunteers who make a substantial impact to the ToolBank Nation. The WMVA will be awarded to individuals who give 1000 Hours of Volunteer Service at an affiliate ToolBank or ToolBank USA.

History: ToolBank USA has created the Wilkinson Millenary Volunteer Award(WMVA) in honor of longtime Volunteer and Supporter of the ToolBank, Erik Wilkinson. Erik started volunteering with the ToolBank when it was an all-volunteer organization, giving of his time to provide home repairs to low-income seniors in South Atlanta, keeping them warm, safe, and dry in their own homes. Today, 25 plus years later, he continues to assist ToolBank USA with several IT projects and upgrades, helping ToolBank prove its impact by putting the right tools in volunteer hands! His effect on the ToolBank success is beyond measurement but is always deeply felt.

Rupert Barkoff Exemplary Affiliate Director Award Winner: Brian Pham from the Baltimore ToolBank

The Rupert Barkoff Exemplary Affiliate Director Award has been established to honor an affiliate Director who has demonstrated outstanding and dedicated leadership and service to their affiliate ToolBank.

History: Rupert M. Barkoff, age 71, passed away in June of 2019, in Atlanta, GA and at the time was serving as Pro Bono legal counsel for the ToolBank USA board.  Rupert spent his entire career as an attorney with Kilpatrick Townsend (originally Kilpatrick & Cody), joining in 1973 upon moving to Atlanta following law school graduation. He was a pioneer in the field of Franchise Law, demonstrating expertise in franchisor and franchisee practices, both nationally and internationally, with frequent trips to Australia to support new business concept development. Everyone who encountered Rupert remarked about his gentleness, intelligence, and sense of humor. Rupert joined the ToolBank family in 2011 as a national ToolBank board member and used his franchise expertise to help make the ToolBank a network of affiliates.

Bobby Mason Award for Technology Innovation Winner: Tim Martin, Cincinnati ToolBank Volunteer

The Bobby Mason LFNt Award for Technology Innovation honors the affiliate who most positively impacted the ToolBank network by either sharing a technological innovation or participating in the technological advancement of the network as a whole.

History: The award for technology innovation is named after Robert “Bobby” Mason, who in 2009 built the first network-wide tool tracking platform for ToolBank, known as LFNt. LFNt served as an essential inventory management tool for the network for over a decade, thanks in large part to Bobby’s oversight, architecture, and many help ticket fixes. Bobby is remembered in the ToolBank network for his outsized cowboy hat, his outsized pickup truck, and his outsized personality – but most of all for his outsized dedication to the ToolBank mission, which motivated him to donate countless hours volunteering as ToolBank’s IT support. In creating this award, we hope never to forget Bobby’s impact on the ToolBank and the many communities it serves.

Didn’t get a chance to watch the 2021 ToolBank National Awards live…no problem! Check out our YouTube Channel to watch the recorded live stream.

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