Praising Top Volunteers

KISD Volunteer Awards
By: Todd Martin
They tutor students, update bulletin boards, organize supplies, help clean up and keep order and they do it all out of the goodness of their hearts.
The Killeen Independent School District honored its top volunteers of the year, praising those who continually give their time and their heart to invest in children’s lives and all those who serve them.
During a luncheon Monday at the Killeen Civic and Conference Center, volunteer coordinators from each school sat at tables with invited volunteers and learned which schools, individuals, soldiers, businesses and military units logged the most hours.
Among schools, Shoemaker High School logged the most at 12,271 hours. The highest elementary total was 4,526 hours at Saegert Elementary. Patterson volunteers logged the most among middle schools at 2,292 and the top special campus was Pathways at 418.

The unit of the year in the Fort Hood Adopt-A-School program was Darnall Army Medical Center, with 683 hours, compiled at its partner school, Saegert Elementary School.
Individual awards included top civilian Brockley Moore with 623 hours, top military volunteer Spc. Shanda Steward with 46 hours and top seniors Charlene Bartling and Ernestine Ploeger with identical 445-hour totals. A Helping Hands Award went to Richard Beagle, a longtime volunteer currently serving at the Teacher Media Center.
In addition, the district honored nominated business partners for contributing consistently in the schools. Those awards went to Hallmark Lanes, Subway Restaurants (Killeen), Lakeshore Learning, Grabbagreen, Academy Sports and Outdoors, Killeen Evening Lions Club, Erik Reynolds (voice overs), Barnes and Nobles Market Heights, A+ Federal Credit Union and Legacy Martial Arts Harker Heights.
This year’s Stellar Award for hours of service continued over multiple years went to Penney Turner, who logged 1,500 hours of volunteer service this year at Mountain View Elementary School.
Like most of the honored volunteers, Turner was less inclined to talk about her award than to get back to school to serve teachers and students.
The retired veteran of 20 years in the Army began volunteering at Mountain View when her son was in kindergarten. Now, he’s 19 years old. “I just kept on going,” she said.
What began as a volunteer effort to help out in the cafeteria expanded to running the school’s science lab, tutoring students, really doing whatever teachers ask her to do, something she’s done consistently for 14 years.

For the first time, the top senior citizen award ended in a tie. The pair are sisters who volunteer together Fowler Elementary School. School counselor Susan King recruited them a couple of years ago, they are her mother and her aunt.
“They are amazing,” King said of her hard-working family members. “Everything they do helps kids and staff.” Leading into the holidays, the pair of sister volunteers wrapped more than 900 gifts for family members at the school.
Symbolizing the work volunteers give to KISD, Brenda Smith, the district’s coordinator for volunteers, presented an oversized check written out for $1,671,369, the estimated equivalent of their work according to the Points of Light Foundation.
During the window of July 1 through March 31, a total of 9,881 volunteers logged 71,579 hours of service.
Pointing out it’s the hearts of volunteers and not the recorded hours that make the biggest difference in people’s lives, Smith noted the theme of National Volunteers Month “Every Moment Matters.”
From the least amount of time to the most, she said, all the time and effort is appreciated and valuable.