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Tom Brooks
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Richardson Real Heroes (l-r) Stuart Rampy, J.J. Pearce Robotics lead mentor; Dick Caplinger, Volunteers in Police Service; and Penny Carter, Network of Community Ministries.

Three volunteers were recently honored as Richardson Real Heroes for their inspiring, unselfish, and unheralded efforts, which make Richardson a better place to live and work

The honorees and the organizations for which they volunteer:

  • Dick Caplinger, Volunteers in Police Service
  • Penny Carter, NETWORK of Community Ministries
  • Stuart Rampy, J.J. Pearce High School Robotics Club

 

The heroes were celebrated April 11 at the 10th annual Richardson Real Heroes awards ceremony at the Richardson Civic Center. Bruce MacPherson, Managing Director of the Eisemann Center for the Performing Arts, was the keynote speaker. MacPherson touted the importance of the large volunteer pool the Eisemann Center uses for the hundreds of events hosted there annually.  

“We continue to find outstanding volunteers every year who inspire us with their commitment, and yet they seek no recognition for themselves,” said Laurie Garvie, chair of the Richardson Real Heroes committee. “We had a repeat attendee to the ceremony ask how we continue to find such outstanding volunteers. The truth is, it is hard for our committee to select from the exceptional nominees for this recognition.”

Richardson Real Heroes was founded by The Richardson Coalition with the motto of “Honoring Silent Generosity.” Richardson Real Heroes seeks to honor those who quietly serve while providing tremendous services without receiving public recognition. Nominees are sought from the public and the non-profit organizations serving Richardson. The Real Heroes committee chose the honorees from a large pool of nominees.

 

The 2019 Richardson Real Heroes:

Dick CaplingerDick stands out in a group of extremely committed volunteers helping Richardson Police. Since joining Richardson Volunteers in Police Service (VIPS), he has averaged more than 1,100 volunteer hours annually. In 2016, he set a record for the most hours volunteered by VIPS in one year – 1,377 hours. In 2017, he beat his own record with 1,433 hours. He volunteers as a uniformed Field Operations Volunteer (FOV) three full days each week, installing key lockboxes for the elderly and homebound, performing house checks for residents on vacation, assisting officers with auto accidents, clearing abandoned vehicles and supporting the police. He was born in Dallas, raised in Bellaire, and has lived in Richardson since 1989. After earning a degree in Business Administration from Sam Houston State University, he spent four years in the U.S. Army as a helicopter pilot with the 1st Air Cavalry. After that, he worked in insurance until retiring in 2010 to allow for more time with family, hunting and volunteering.

Penny Carter - Penny has volunteered at the Network of Community Ministries for four years, donating 4,020 hours to help the senior population in Richardson. Most of Network’s volunteers commit to working three hours a week, but Penny regularly commits to six hours a day, four days a week, with most of her effort devoted to the Seniors Net Program. Seniors Net volunteers work to provide basic needs, such as food and clothing. Penny once owned a Montessori school and credits that experience with preparing her for work with our senior population. Like the children in her school, seniors seek kindness and respect in life’s interactions. She also credits the staff and coordinators at Network for their patience in helping her learn the ropes. She believes she receives as much from the clients as they receive from Network. “Each day is a new and different experience,” Penny says, “and seeing, listening to, and helping Network’s senior clients is a joy and a privilege.”

 

Stuart Rampy - Stuart has volunteered more than 500 hours annually since 2008 as a mentor for the J.J. Pearce High School Robotics Club, sharing his knowledge of programming, electronics, design, fundraising, and leadership with more than 100 students.  His efforts inspired many of them to excel in high school, furthering their education in STEM fields in college, and beyond. As lead mentor for the club, he established and leads a nonprofit that raises funds to support the club. The Pearce team has advanced to the FIRST Robotics Competition World Championship four times. To reach more students, Stuart recently started an initiative to bring competition robotics to the Pearce feeder schools. In its first year, North Junior High is fielding two teams in the FIRST Tech Challenge program, with plans to expand to Parkhill Junior High in the 2019-2020 school year. Stuart never asks for recognition. His reward is seeing the students he works with succeed. His passion is to help the robotics club succeed and reflect well on the City of Richardson, Pearce High School, and the Richardson Independent School District.

More facts about the Richardson Real Heroes Program and the award recipients can be found at www.richardsonrealheroes.com.  Follow us on Facebook @RichardsonRealHeroes and sign up for our newsletter by sending your email to richardsonrealhero@gmail.com. Nominations for the 2020 Richardson Real Heroes will open in November 2019.

 

For more information on this story, contact Tom Brooks, publicity chair of Richardson Real Heroes, at tom@tommywrites.com.