2013 Gift of Time Awards
Sharon knows how to make math meaningful for those who struggle academically. More learners who are preparing for the high school equivalency test struggle with math more than with any other subject. As a volunteer at Ozarks Technical Community College-Adult Education and Literacy, she not only makes math meaningful, but also changes lives in the process. She volunteered over 300 hours this past year, coming on Mondays until there were no more people to help and then again on Tuesday afternoons. Additionally, she scheduled separate appointments with students who were unable to come at those times. This nominee inspires others; lives her faith and helps people achieve goals they might not have without her. She helps change lives!
Most of the time, they will not. Being a spouse and parent to family members with disabilities for forty years, our nominee knows all too well the many challenges and obstacles that many disabled individuals face daily. This nominee’s energy and life’s work for over twenty years has been focused on making a difference for others in all her volunteer work. Someone may have a disability, but she would say, we all have “abilities” and something to give to others.
Our nominee’s passion is to recognize the individual’s potential and to assist him/her by providing resource and advocacy so that they may achieve an appropriate level of independence, self-advocacy and full significance for living. Resource and advocacy includes development and training in areas of safety, health care, and budgeting. Also, locating services and filing applications and follow-up reports for benefits and community assistance, appropriate housing and in-home assistance and community integration. Our nominee is so very special because she is able to do this in a very gentle, humble and empowering way often in the middle of a crisis situation.
Our nominee was instrumental in creating and establishing Enabled, Inc., that provides support, education and social opportunities for people with disabilities.
When our nominee accepted this position, the challenges were very evident, and many demanded immediate action. With extraordinary skill in strategic planning, a charismatic personality, passion for the Ozarks, and a commitment to Audubon, he quickly identified the chapter’s strengths, discerned the club’s potential, and empowered individuals to implement a strategic action plan expanding the chapter’s sphere of influence. Because of his empowering leadership style, GOAS capacity grew from a small bird-related club to a progressive, conservation leader in the Missouri Ozarks in two short years.
The media consults him on important environmental issues in the Ozarks. Our nominee provides a voice of reason and intellect, providing the community with insight to guide decisions regarding natural resources.
Developmental Center of the Ozarks (DCO) has benefited from numerous fundraising events our nominee established for more than a decade. When he was chair of the Boys and Girls Club Steak & Burger event, they changed the name of the event to “Steak & Steak”, changing the focus and more than doubling the funds raised. He helped found the Easter Sunrise Service at Hammons Field and a literacy effort in the Springfield Public Schools with the Springfield Cardinals.
But, one could argue that his greatest gift to our community is his mentoring. He is frequently asked to speak to classes, employees, associations and individuals. He has a wealth of knowledge that he willingly shares with people in a variety of areas including marketing, business and personal image.
He once quoted, “I have been given much in life, and I was raised to always give back. Helping great causes with my time, talent, money and effort also teaches our children that what goes around comes around.” What a profound blessing his philosophy has been for our community.
Raechel has been one of the most responsible teens that have come through the Boys & Girls Club program. She was a leader while in the teen program and now she is a leader as games room staff. She has been a huge positive role model for the members at Henderson. She has the unique perspective as a staff since she was a Club member, and she has an incredible relationship with the Club members because of this.
Our nominee was the leader of the Graffiti Project that was done in cooperation with the City of Springfield. She has donated many hours to Convoy of Hope and at the Club’s Adopt-A-Street. It is very important for our nominee to give back because so many people have helped her in the past.
Our Nominees’ past experience makes her very special. Through her mother’s death and her father’s incarceration to her own disease diagnosis in 2010 with Multiple Scleroses, she has not only overcome her many obstacles but absolutely surged forward in her life. She is a wonderful person to be around and is a joy to have in each of the children’s lives here at Henderson.
Colene has a gift of making others feel useful, wanted, and motivated to live life to the fullest by lifting their spirits with her smile and enthusiasm.
She plays a vital role in the delivery of “quality of life” programs for our nursing home residents and more importantly, is a dedicated advocate for the elderly throughout the community. Several days a week, she volunteers at Christian Health & Rehab East assisting with special events including events photographer, serving refreshments, set up and clean up. Instrumental in making the residents feel special and valuable, she visits, reads, and prays with residents needing individual attention.
She has a passion to show others that seniors are productive members of society and should never be pushed aside or forgotten and that residents living in our nursing home are people first with lots to offer.
For the past five years, she has volunteered with her husband at McGregor Elementary School, as an RSVP Reading Buddy working with two second graders. She has used her background as a reading specialist to develop-curriculum that would supplement the classroom teacher’s curriculum. When receiving any recognition for her countless volunteer efforts she is quick to give credit to others.
His contribution to The Friends of the Springfield-Greene County Library District happens only because of his love for the library community. Among a cadre of notable leaders, our nominee stands out as one of the most dedicated man who makes things happen. He sees something to be done and he does it. His primary contribution has been loading, hauling and carrying thousands of boxes of books throughout a twenty year period. He arrives early every Tuesday morning, rain or shine, fifty weeks per year, loads a pick-up full of books, delivers them to the Midtown Branch; then carries the boxes of sorted books to an eighteen-wheel trailer. He is also the “go to” man for special pick up requests at the homes of those who cannot deliver their books to a branch library. In 2012 Bob drove his pickup over 1,700 miles, and paid for the gas. He also recruits other men to help with the tremendous task of moving hundreds of books every year.
Our nominee has contributed to the community through his church, serving as an Elder of the First and Calvary Presbyterian Church for several terms and chairing the Christian Education Committee and the Buildings and grounds Committee.
The Crosslines Toystore has been an annual activity for many years. Our nominee assists with set-up the week before opening and during the event as well. He also picks up and delivers food to the Food Pantry as needed.
Sue has been a volunteer victim advocate in Springfield since 2008. As a volunteer our nominee provides much needed support and assistance for victims of violent and sexual crimes and their families in Southwest Missouri through a 24-hour crisis hotline. Helping people in crisis in this way, she assists them by telephone, at crime scenes, in hospitals, at law enforcement agencies, and with emergency applications for orders of protection, as well as attending required trainings and meeting. She provides comfort, crisis intervention, and options for the victim’s safety. Many of the individuals, who have called for help, are truly experiencing their darkest hour, and she has been a blessing to countless people over the years.
This nominee has been a recipient of the President’s Volunteer Service Award given by the President of the United States for her work with crime victims and their families through The Victim Center. To date, she has provided over 1500 hours of service working with crime victims. She is truly an amazing person by any standards.
William St. Gemme
William has been the Commander of J. Wilbur Adams VFW Post 3404 since October 2011. During his tenure, Post 3404 has made a 100% turn-around from a Post that was languishing to one that has become a viable and active Post to many Veterans in the community, the neighborhood, and to the members of the Post and Ladies Auxiliary.
This nominee serves as the Post Veterans Service Officer. He filed the necessary disability referral forms to the Veterans Administration for over 140 Veterans. He provides this service at Victory Mission on Tuesdays, and the Greater Farmers Market of the Ozarks, and at several Gun Shows. He will be the District 14 Veterans Service Officer starting in July.
He organized the First Veterans Fair at 3404, which was attended by 14 Service Providers and 35-40 Veterans seeking various assistance. This Post has received ALL-STATE recognition from the State VFW Department for the first time in 18 years. He was also informed that Post 3404 and the Ladies Auxiliary had been awarded the National Outstanding Community Service Post Award.
Working daily October, November and December with Share Your Christmas would easily be enough volunteer hours for most of us, but this nominee gives her time with middle-school children in the summer and her church’s resource room and condolence meals throughout the year.
She combs through applications, and helps choose the deserving families to be featured in the Springfield News-Leader’s Share Your Christmas articles which begins on Thanksgiving Day.
During the summer, she escorts King’s Way United Methodist Church’s middle-school children on their summer mission trip to help the needy and underprivileged. She is literally chief cook and bottle washer. Her days begin with 6:30 a.m. breakfast and end around 8:30 p.m.
At King’s Way, she is responsible for the Resource Room. This is the well-equipped room of craft and study aids for King’s Way pre-school and Sunday school teachers. She keeps a running inventory of the supplies and makes special purchases at the request of the teachers.
She also plans 15-20 condolence meals each year at King’s Way. She coordinates groups bringing the meals or prepares and serves the meals herself. She plans and leads the preparation of snacks for around 500 children at Vacation Bible School. She is every organization’s dream member. She rarely says no.