Archive for Thursday, September 9, 2004

Bits and Pieces

Volunteer award for one represents the work of many

September 9, 2004

Don't you hate it when people get an award and they either brag about it or they fake their real feelings -- you know, false humility?
Somewhere between these two extremes is a balance that can be difficult to find.
Well, I'm here to say that awards are great. They validate a part of you that would not otherwise be complete, but they can also be a landmine for saying what you shouldn't and not saying what you should. They come complete with good news/bad news.
The good news: Having been chosen to receive a community service award in Lawrence given by the Cornerbank of Lawrence to volunteers in Douglas County, I was thrilled to receive such an honor, especially when it was accompanied by a monetary award to a charity of my choice.
I was especially happy to pass that award on to Laura Klotz, the coordinator of the Eudora Ministerial Alliance food pantry. Knowing they are always in need of both food items and gift certificates, it was good to know it would be going to those in need in our community.
The bad news is you have to make a speech and invariably forget to introduce or thank someone -- both of which I did accepting the award. Because of that, I am grateful to have this avenue to thank those who I did not include and to introduce those whom I did not introduce.
First off, I would like to say that there is no volunteer award given without the unselfish support of many others behind the scene. I know, I know, I sound like an Oscar winner, but it is true. Without all of those who either gave us cash or in-kind donations, the Habitat for Humanity home in Eudora would not have been a reality.
Without all of the volunteers who gave their Saturdays for several months to build the home as well as a committee who had great ideas and follow through on raising money, the Habitat home would not have been a reality.
Without a dedicated homeowner such as Karen Williams and her many hours of work she put into that home (beyond what was needed) the home would not have been a reality, and on it goes. Special thanks go to Linda Klinker from Habitat for coming to the ceremony and being there to share in this special honor.
The project would also not have been possible without the support of the city of Eudora and former mayor Fred Stewart.
The same thing can be said about the American Cancer Society relay here in Eudora. Without the involvement of hundreds of community members who not only solicit funds but who also serve on committees and show up to walk through the night, this award given to me would not have been possible. And now that I have stepped down from a leadership role in the Relay, there are those like Eric Strimple and Deb Campbell and their committee who have stepped up to keep the Relay in Eudora.
Also thanks to both Amy Kraeble and Angie Karr from the American Cancer Society in Topeka, both of whom I failed to introduce at the ceremony and who came over to Lawrence especially to be there for me.
What involvement I have had with my church is the same scenario. During my years of teaching religion to children and teens, many parents and others supported me in the church community. It's the kids and the parents whom I remember and the many lessons of kindness and perseverance they taught me that I remember to this day and which deepened my own faith. Now years later, I feel those years were a gift to me and whatever I gave during that time has been returned to me twofold.
So you see, this award is one I accept not only for myself but for the various communities that supported me in these volunteer efforts. Habitat For Humanity, the Eudora Relay for Life and the church. You have heard it said it takes a "village to raise a child." Well, I believe it takes a supportive, caring community such as Eudora to stand behind the volunteer who accepts this award. This one is for all of us.
I include my family in this thank you as well. They have often been involved and supported me in my volunteer efforts, and they often tease me, too, thus keeping me grounded and from taking myself too seriously.Which reminds me of two appropriate stories to end this.
Upon hearing that I was chosen for this award, my husband said, "You know, the goal in life is to make your ego so small that when you die you slip into heaven unnoticed, and now you've blown it because now your head is going to be so big you'll never make it."
And when I asked my grandson Garrett what he thought of being honored in such a way and if he would be embarrassed by such an award he replied, "You know, Gramma, they only do those ceremonies for you when you are dead." My other grandson Gabe piped up from the back seat of the car and said, "Don't worry about it Gramma, we can always get a casket for you to sit in."
And finally, thanks to the staff of The Eudora News which has been most kind and generous by providing extensive coverage of both the Habitat home here in Eudora as well as the Relay for Life.

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