The Richardson Real Heroes organization recently honored seven volunteers, representing five organizations, whose unselfish and unheralded volunteerism contributes to making Richardson a better place to live.
The honorees and the organizations for which they volunteer:
- Christie Abbott & Jerry Moore, CARE Corps at Richardson East Church of Christ
- Ruth Ann Aldridge, NETWORK of Community Ministries
- Beth Chisum, Methodist Richardson Medical Center
- Diane Hodges, Richardson Adult Literacy Center
- Walter & Kay King, Friends of the Richardson Library
The heroes were celebrated April 6 at the eighth annual Richardson Real Heroes awards ceremony at the Richardson Civic Center. Dr. Jeannie Stone, superintendent of the Richardson Independent School District, was keynote speaker. Dr. Stone told the crowd of more than 200 people that volunteerism was a key to a successful school district and a trait that sets Richardson apart as a community.
Richardson Real Heroes was founded by The Richardson Coalition with the motto of “Honoring Silent Generosity.” Nominees are sought from the public and non-profit organizations operating in Richardson. The Real Heroes committee chose the honorees from among that list. Real Heroes operates with the premise that volunteers in leadership positions usually receive public recognition, but those operating in the background are doing tremendous work without accolades.
The 2017 honorees:
Christie Abbott – Christie Abbott performs a key leadership role at the Richardson East Church of Christ in the CARE Corps Helping Agency, a food pantry and coordinator of services for those in need. Volunteering 12-15 hours a week, she assures the food pantry runs effectively. She is part of a team that picks up food donations and helps prepare it for distribution. She is the primary contact at the front desk when the pantry is open three days a week. Serving about 1,200 families per year with food, financial assistance, and counseling as required, Christie is one of the main faces of the CARE Corps ministry. Having had times in her own life when she felt the same needs as those she serves, she is driven to give back.
Jerry Moore – Jerry is a long-time Richardson resident and 20-year member of the Richardson East Church of Christ. After retirement, Jerry joined the CARE Corps Helping Agency by volunteering at least 10 hours per week, coordinating activities and making sure there is plenty of food on the shelves in the pantry. As primary contact with the North Texas Food Bank, Jerry places all food orders and reports back on the food distribution to maintain compliance. He also coordinates with area grocery stores who donate food and supplies. Jerry organizes and schedules eight to 10 pickups from grocery stores each week, often making the pickups himself. He helps lead a team that sorts the food and produce, checking for quality and quantity for distribution. When there is excess, Jerry delivers the perishable goods to other food pantries to avoid waste.
Ruth Ann Aldridge - Ruth Ann Aldridge grew up in a family that encourages and practices the spirit of volunteerism. Besides her varied work at the Network of Community Ministries, she has been a Crime Watch Captain and has served on the Crime Patrol for her neighborhood. In the past five years, Ruth Ann has served Network of Community Ministries as an Emergency Services Coordinator, worked in the food pantry, packed dental kits, answered phones at the receptionist desk, filled food orders and helped with “Toyland Express”. When Network decided to open the Richardson/North Dallas Clothing Center, Ruth Ann agreed to take charge. As her nominator said, Ruth Ann is a silent servant who goes above and beyond to make a difference in our community.
Beth Chisum - Beth was raised in Richardson and graduated from Richardson High School. After retirement from Fina Oil as a consultant she sought places to volunteer and found a home at Methodist Richardson Medical Center. In less than two years, she has accumulated 858 hours of volunteer time. Beth is a Day Chair for her morning shift, scheduling her volunteers and keeping up with birthdays, anniversaries, special events and important life moments. Beth is also a “Holiday Elf,” which means she volunteers at the hospital during the holidays when everyone else takes off.
Diane Hodges – Diane is effectively the office manager at the Richardson Adult Literacy Center. In four years, Diane has volunteered over 850 hours. Diane’s efforts range from data entry, to tracking student attendance and progress to tracking finances and working on special projects. Without her, RALC would be forced to hire an office manager, spending funds that are now used to teach students English. She also helps coordinate citizenship classes at RALC. Her nominator says Diane has a friendly, helpful attitude that radiates to all that work with her.
Walter & Kay King - Walter and Kay have chaired the semi-annual Friends of the Library book sale for the past 4 1/2 years, raising over $25,000 per year. Weekly they lead a team of volunteers who categorize and box donations delivered to the library. Walter also transports donations from residents requesting pickups. In the month prior to the sales, Walter and Kay recruit, train and supervise over 50 volunteers who work the 3-day sales. Walter and Kay are active in First United Methodist Church of Richardson, and Walter has served on the Richardson YMCA board for many years.
More facts about the Richardson Real Heroes Program and award recipients can be found at www.richardsonrealheroes.com. For more information on this story, contact Tom Brooks, publicity chair of Richardson Real Heroes, at firstname.lastname@example.org.