Tom Brooks
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Richardson Real Heroes has chosen seven volunteers from five organizations to recognize this year for their unselfish and unheralded work to improve the lives of Richardson residents. The volunteers will be recognized at 7 p.m. April 6 with a ceremony and reception at the Richardson Civic Center

The honorees and the organizations for which they volunteer:

  • Christie Abbott & Jerry Moore, CARE Corps at Richardson East Church of Christ
  • Walter & Kay King, Friends of the Richardson Library
  • Beth Chisum, Methodist Richardson Medical Center
  • Ruth Ann Aldridge, NETWORK of Community Ministries
  • Diane Hodges, Richardson Adult Literacy Center


This group was chosen from nominations made by residents and nonprofit organizations of all types serving the community. There was an increase in the number of nominations this year and all of the nominees were worthy of being recognized. The Real Heroes committee chose this group for their extraordinary and longstanding service, with little public recognition, said Barbara Berthold, chair of the Real Heroes committee.

“We had a difficult time choosing one volunteer over another,” Berthold said. “They all make a significant contribution to the community and I wish we could recognize each and every one.”

Friends and coworkers of the Real Heroes are encouraged to leave personal comments and anecdotes about the Real Heroes here. Selections from the comments will be used for a keepsake memory book compiled for each Real Hero.

The 2017 Richardson Real Heroes

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 coordinates 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The April 6 event honoring the Real Heroes will have video highlights of each Real Hero and a program honoring volunteerism in the community. The keynote speaker will be Dr. Jeannie Stone, superintendent of the Richardson Independent School District.

The event is open to the public and we invite you to join us in honoring the 2017 Richardson Real Heroes. Please RSVP by April 4 at More information about the Richardson Real Heroes Program can be found at


For more information on this story, contact Tom Brooks, publicity chair of Richardson Real Heroes, at or phone 214-415-2551

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