THE JEFFERSON AWARDS: Our March winner donates his time to help people living with mental illness

FOX 47 is partnering with The Jefferson Awards to recognize people in our community that are making a difference.
Our first winner is Kevin Andrews, a volunteer that is committed to helping people with mental illness.

Andrews is a Warmline volunteer and answers about 50 calls a month.
Warmline is a non-crisis peer support line for people living with mental illness.
A lot of the calls Warmline receives are from people who want to talk about relationship issues or loneliness.
Anyone can call the number (507-287-7161), and volunteers like Kevin are there to listen.

"It’s something that’s needed and apparently I’m a very soothing person so something I have a knack for I guess," Andrews said. "You always have to give back some how."

Warmline is run by the National Alliance on Mental Illness of Southeast Minnesota (NAMI).
Courtney Lawson, the NAMI Executive Director, says Kevin consistently makes Warmline a priority and is a good listener.

"I think he listens in a very compassionate, non judgmental way," Lawson said. "He understands. He is able to validate what callers are saying just to make them feel heard, and sometimes we don’t always feel heard."

Andrews has been a Warmline volunteer for over ten years.

He answers calls at least once a week for four hours.
The Warmline Coordinator says he was very apologetic about the one day he’s ever missed…and that was for his wedding!  

"You have to be in all the way," Andrews said. "They need somebody that’s dependable and that is interested in this"

All of the Warmline volunteers are also recovering from a mental illness.
Andrews says he’s overcome some very unhappy times and that answering Warmline calls helps him too.

"To me I always feel better if I’m doing something for somebody else," he said. "That’s always been my nature."

Before Warmline, Andrews was a Crisis Hotline volunteer in California…
and an emergency room volunteer.
He says he enjoys giving back.

"You know kind of pay my rent so to speak is the way I put it," Andrews said. "You know we’re all here benefiting from each other and just kind of a way of paying back."

To nominate someone for a Jefferson Award click here.



Top Stories

Mason City
Albert Lea
A bright and pleasant start to the week

A bright and pleasant start to the week

We have some bright, pleasant weather in our area to kick off the work week today with the prospect of

Connect with My FOX 47
Top Stories

Film lovers from around the world gather in Pepin

The 11th annual Flyway Film Festival wrapped up on Sunday, following a successful weekend of movie lovers and independent films.

House fire breaks out in Rochester, no injuries reported

Three residents and their pets are safe after a home caught fire at a northwest Rochester home Sunday afternoon, fire

Iowa gas stations participating in “Pink at the Pump” fundraiser

ST. ANSGAR, Iowa (FOX 47) – Simply filling up your gas tank this month can help in the fight against

New program in Minnesota to help adult learners return to college

AUSTIN, Minn. (FOX 47) –  Minnesotans who started but did not finish their higher education will soon be able to

New Miss Winona to focus on LGBTQ Youth Homelessness

WINONA, Minn. (FOX 47) –  The newly crowned Miss Winona plans to focus her year on helping the LGBTQ Community.

Scroll to top
Skip to content