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Cokie Roberts and Darius Rucker joined the celebration for Make A Difference Day Award Honorees.
Cokie Roberts and Darius Rucker joined the celebration for Make A Difference Day Award Honorees. / Toby Jorrin for USA WEEKEND
Behind the scenes video: MDDay photo shoot: An exclusive video behind the scenes of our Make A Difference Day Awards issue cover shoot, featuring country star Darius Rucker and winner Linda Wieck.


Members of Congress, journalist Cokie Roberts and singer Darius Rucker were on hand to salute USA WEEKEND Magazine's 2011 Make A Difference Day Award Honorees at a luncheon on Capitol Hill in April.

Those receiving honors were chosen from the efforts of millions for their volunteer work on Make A Difference Day 2010. The 10 honorees include a 14-year old Texas Eagle Scout, a Michigan couple in their 70s and two Connecticut sisters ages 8 and 9.

Each of the 10 honorees received a framed award and $10,000 donation to their chosen charity from Newman's Own to continue their good work. Three cities also were recognized with awards and $10,000 donations.

Rucker, who is spokesman for the PGA Tour Charities and whose own charitable efforts include the Hootie & The Blowish Foundation, is a longtime fan of Make A Difference Day.

“For me, it's important to get involved in any cause that I see is a good cause,” Rucker says. “There are so many people who want to do something, but their lives are busy and they think, ‘When can I find time?' This is a day when you can plan to do something — it's an amazing idea.”

Among the honorees: Joanne and Ray Marcil of Rochester Hills, Mich., who were recognized for rallying their community into its 19th annual Make A Difference Day Flea Market. The market raised $13,000 for charity.

“We can't do this alone — we're representing our community,” Joanne Marcil says. “They're the workers. They give their hearts.”

Rucker is inspired that the honorees will keep giving: “They didn't win awards and stop helping. They're still doing it.”

The next Make A Difference Day is Saturday, Oct. 22.

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Make A Difference Day, the largest national day of helping others, is sponsored annually by USA WEEKEND Magazine and its 800 carrier newspapers. Make A Difference Day takes place on the 4th Saturday in October each year.