2014 Gift of Time Awards
Barbara is the quintessential definition of giving back to your hometown. As an Ozark native since her teens and with a Bachelors of Science in Chemistry from Missouri State, this nominee has spent her entire life providing education and awareness on a myriad of medical issues for youth. Focusing on this past year, the nominee served as the 89th President of the Missouri State Medical Association Alliance. Under her tutelage and direction, a DVD program called Pills are NOT a Party won a national award. Knowing how impactful this DVD was, she authored and won an $8,000 grant that enabled the distribution of the DVD to all 50 states. As a result of her work, the Greene County Medical Society Alliance honored her by creating a named award for her outstanding contribution to community health issues.
Nominated by the Safe to Sleep organization, Beth has risen above and beyond her peers. For over a year now, she has spent many overnights ensuring safe sleep for homeless women and their belongings. She cheerfully serves in whatever capacity—whether it’s setting up the shelter, welcoming guests, serving food, or dealing with individual problems like ambulance calls.
There are just as many different ways to volunteer, as there are causes to volunteer for. David has taken one of the paths less traveled to give back to the community—the political path. This nominee has positioned himself as a leader in the political arena, giving him an insight into the workings of government, and most importantly, the intricacies of funding issues. He currently serves as the VP of the Board for the Ozarks Area Community Action Corporation, where he advocates for low income families in the area. He has also served as the Chairman for the Metro Credit Union Board.
Karis' “conservative” estimate for volunteer hours for the past three years totals over 800. As a full-time student with a part-time job, this nominee has still found time to detect areas of growth, problem solve, and create solutions for Ambassadors for Children. She has discovered and implemented a new way for the organization to track its clients, among other ideas that have brought about a culture of efficiency and technology.
In organizational culture, we use the term “vision” to abstractly describe plans for the future. David took that abstract term of “vision” and made it literal—by providing free eye exams for the homeless population for the past five years. When the Child Care Aware and Community Partnership organization asked him to be a part of the first Hope Connection event in 2009, he quickly discovered that his unique educational background and skills gave him the ability to serve the homeless community in a powerful way. From that point on, he has not only selflessly given his time, but has brought others along with him by recruiting other optometrists, his own staff, and equipment free of charge. This effort has brought the gift of vision to hundreds of homeless in the area.
In today’s society, we are seeing more and more single women having to support themselves and their children. A demographic that is often overlooked by more typical volunteer efforts, Central Assembly of God, and more specifically this nominee, have gone above and beyond to make sure that single moms in the area are kept running through “Beyond the Walls Oil Change” monthly outreach. Karla literally keeps the outreach going by coordinating the schedule, supplies to serve breakfast, snacks, and drinks for the ladies, and craft ideas for the children while they wait. Since 2008, she has fielded over 1,000 phone calls, but knowing that simply isn’t enough, has kept in contact with the women with follow-up phone conversations throughout the month. She selflessly sacrifices her time, supplies, and even finances to ensure the success of the outreach.
Tara's achievements can simply be summed up by the words of Walt Disney: “If you can dream it, you can do it”. Her social awareness and drive to see the immediate world around her change reveals a maturity and dedication beyond her years, and an earnest desire to make a difference. This desire has led her to launch a Stop Bullying Club at her school, send donations to the Back to School Pack Bus Drive, create cards to send to veterans on Veterans Day, bake and deliver Christmas cookies to ten neighbors, and if those weren’t enough, help prepare dinners for a local foster family of ten.
Springfield is known for its beautiful greenery and exceptional park and gardens. This certified Master Gardner nominee is one of the instrumental figures behind all this. As one of the founders of the Springfield Botanical Gardens, he pioneered Nathanael Greene/Close Memorial Park, Springfield Botanical Gardens, and the Springfield Botanical Center which are all three recognized by Trip Advisor as the #1, #11, and #20 attractions respectively. These are just 3 of over 30 gardens he has provided vision for while serving on the Board of the Friends of the Garden.
Understanding the intrinsic value that we place on homemade items, this nominee has donated over 5,000 hours to Cox Health in a variety of ways. Most recently, she has served as the Sewing Projects Coordinator. She makes sure that the monthly sewing days are organized and the workers are in the right place. Under her leadership, the program last year produced 545 comfort blankets, 450 heart pillows, 1,610 eye pillows, 250 baby caps, 75 Afghans, and 220 caps for cancer patients. She even is the driving force behind the Diaper Bank which collects and distributes diapers to families that need help.
This nominee is the epitome of our Gift of Time award. Since August 26, 1994, this nominee has been an active volunteer at the Willard Care Center. While volunteering, she quickly realized that the residents needed someone who could speak on their behalf and help them voice their concerns when necessary. Despite her own health issues, she has faithfully attended to the needs of the residents by attending resident councils, appearing at special events held for the residents, and attending Ombudsman in-service trainings and conferences to stay current on the issues that affect those she serves.