City of Columbia volunteers recognized for extraordinary efforts!
Kudos recognizes the efforts of some of the many volunteers who improve the City of Columbia. Visit this page to read about our volunteers of the month! Read about past recipients:
Although Fred and Jenean Thompson love their volunteer work, they wish they didn't have to do it. The Thompsons have logged more than 500 hours in the past five years with the Park Patrol program, which uses volunteers to monitor local trails and parks.
"It'd be great if we didn't have the Park Patrol," Fred said. "We believe everyone should have the freedom to go out on the trail and not be afraid to use it. It's a shame that people would have to be careful." The Thompsons call the program a "necessity."
"The Thompsons have been instrumental in making the Park Patrol program the success it is today," said Debra Hardin, Program Assistant for the Office of Volunteer Services.
"They care about the well-being of our community and well deserve this recognition."
Article written by Megan Clark
While the MU Athletic Department is best known for its work on the playing field, it also performs other work within the community. Each month, student and staff volunteers pick up litter on Ninth Street through the city's Adopt-a-Spot program. "I think it's important that the Athletic Department give as much to the community as we can," said Amy Stuck, who coordinates the department’s volunteer efforts. "So many people in Columbia and mid-Missouri support our program, so we like to give back in any way possible." The department has volunteered 123.5 hours since they started working a year ago. Through their efforts, they have saved the city $741 in manpower and have collected 79 bags of litter. "This group of people truly has a lot on their plate," said supervisor Christine Gardener of the Public Works department. "They are full-time students who also put a lot of effort into their athletic sport, yet they consistently find time to do volunteer service."
Article written by Megan Clark
Orinda Prell is October's Volunteer of the Month. For nearly three years Prell has been a member of the Columbia Festival of the Arts steering committee, serving as the Festival volunteers co-chair since 2000.
As co-chair, Prell is responsible for recruiting the 50 to 60 volunteers needed each year during the two-day event. During the past two festivals, she has supervised more than 125 volunteers who in turn have donated more than 250 hours.
"Orinda has capably and efficiently managed this key component so necessary to make the festival run smoothly," said Marie Hunter, Office of Cultural Affairs. "In this vital position Orinda has made it possible for the Office of Cultural Affairs to offer a high quality, well-run Festival of the Arts that serves more than 10,000 residents and visitors to Columbia each year."
The City of Columbia thanks Orinda for her service.
Article written by volunteer Megan Clark
George Frissell and Mark Janda are working to foster a better appreciation for diversity. Both are members of the Community Study Circles Action Team and sponsor the program at Hickman High School where they've already led dialogues for faculty and staff. In the fall, they plan to include students.
"It gives students an opportunity to discuss issues concerning diversity," Frissell said. "It gives them the chance to share their experiences."
By giving students a place to discuss their differences, the study circles program aims to encourage greater respect for others while reducing cultural barriers.
"When you stop and think about it, many of us don't know people in other walks of life in town," Janda said. "I think these dialogues are going to help us form a tighter-knit community."
Thanks to George and Mark for their service.
Article written by volunteer Megan Clark
Greg Willingham, August 2002 Volunteer, devotes much time to city volunteer projects. For years Willingham has volunteered at Oakland Park at their disc golf facility and now volunteers at Indian Hills disc golf course. Willingham helps with Columbia Disc Golf Club, clean ups at Indian Hills Park, and helped design the new 18 hole course at the park.
Willingham's spent much of his own vacation time at the Columbia Disc Golf Club to assemble and install baskets and signs for the new course, which helped meet an earlier completion date. Columbia hosted a national disc golf tournament, which brought 200 players to Columbia on May 11 and 12, some of whom are top-ranked world players. The City of Columbia thanks Greg Willingham for his volunteer efforts.
Written by volunteer Lindsey Fleming.
Chris Reddy, a Columbia Police Department Cadet, is July's Volunteer of the Month. Chris, a junior at Rock Bridge High School, has been a cadet for three years, assisting with traffic control at parade and special functions. Chris is also an intern with the Department and assists the Investigative Unit with tasks, freeing up detectives for other duties.
"The most enjoyable part of being a Cadet is assisting people in the community," said Chris. "From helping someone find parking, to helping someone find their lost child at an event, nothing makes me happier than assisting people at a time of need." Chris likes to travel and collect law enforcement patches from throughout the United States. His collection has grown to over 1,200 patches. The City of Columbia thanks Chris for his service as a Columbia Police Department Cadet.
Our June Volunteer of the Month, Kevin Suedmeyer, donates hundreds of hours to Columbia. As a qualified Reserve Community Service Aide (CSA) he responds to accidents, provides security at high school athletic events, community parades, and other Columbia Police Department activities. Suedmeyer, a car-qualified CSA, has volunteered more than 25 hours monthly as a reserve in support for the Reserve Unit, since June 2000. Recently Suedmeyer attended the Basic Police Academy at the Law Enforcement Training Institute, which he completed in April. In addition to his reserve position, Suedmeyer has been a Park Patroller, a city volunteer program developed to help keep the community trail system safe and maintained, since 2000. The City of Columbia, the Columbia Police Department, and the community join together to thank Suedmeyer for his dedication.
May honoree, Claudine Staats, volunteers with the Parks & Recreation ceramic craft class at Parkade Plaza. She keeps attendance records, handles payments and helps with instruction of the classes. She has volunteered for the OAK (Older American Klub) for thirteen years previous to the Parkade classes. For greater than two years, Claudine has glazed hundreds of ceramic pieces with plans to continue for a long time to come. "It is something that grows on you," say Claudine. Lois Burd, Recreation Staff leader, says "Without people like Claudine, these classes might not be able to continue." The class provides a place for fun and companionship, and Claudine's friendly face is one of the many reasons the ceramic class participants keep coming back. We congratulate Claudine on her continuing work at Parkade.
Bill Pauls, a long-term Columbia volunteer, gives freely of his time and gets back more than he gives. "I derive a great deal of personal satisfaction and sense of pride from volunteering," says Pauls, "whether I am picking up trash, being the eyes and ears on the city trails as a Park Patroller, or on the streets in the COP program, I am making a positive difference in our city and it feels good." Pauls was in the first group of volunteers to be trained in the Park Patrol program, and has been active for more than five years. The Bear Creek Trail provided easy access for Pauls, who has put in substantial hours since it's opening. As president of his neighborhood association, Pauls has gotten to know almost all his neighbors. "The Neighborhood Watch program has given me a chance to meet my neighbors. These folks are my friends and we look out for each other," says Pauls. Columbia has a variety of services and volunteer opportunities to offer, and Pauls message is "Come on, volunteering is fun, and there can never be too many volunteers." The City of Columbia extends a hearty thanks to Bill for his dedication and enthusiasm. For volunteer opportunities contact us at volunteer@GoColumbiaMO.com or visit our web site.
Nine-year-old Volunteer of the Month, Skippy Weston, was born a volunteer. She has been volunteering for the Public Works department for the last seven years. The Weston family were among the first Adopt A Spot litter control groups to sign up. Skippy recently obtained her own Adopt A Spot area near the Peachtree recycling drop-off. In addition, her Girl Scout troop has adopted a spot. The Scout troop has also worked, and rode, on the Public Works Holiday Parade float every year since 1999, distributing candy along with information about worm composting. Skippy is active as well in school as she brings recycling information to share and helps spread the word about the Blue Bag program to other students and teachers. A long time Earth Day volunteer, and a member of the City of Columbia's Cleanup Columbia steering committee keeps her busy, along with the Fall Recyclebration, the Downtown Twilight Festivals, her many adopted spots and, of course, schoolwork! "I like to help the community be a better place," says Skippy. She sure does that, and with great enthusiasm and heart. The City of Columbia says thanks to Skippy for all she does for our city.
Frank Edwards, our February Volunteer of the Month, is a Columbia Police Department Citizen on Patrol (COP) volunteer. It is by no means his only volunteer effort. He also volunteers at the Veterans Hospital where he keeps records, delivers X-rays and other chores. Edwards keeps watch for domestic disturbances and theft on his assigned beat. His assistance has helped to improve the public and police relationship and helps to promote a better community. Frank, and his wife Ester, made the move from Minnesota to Columbia in 1963. He is retired Navy and from the construction trade. The Edwards have not only given their time to the community but have also fostered over 45 children since moving to Columbia, as well as raising their adopted son, George. Edwards was among the first to join the COP and persuaded Ester to join in later. They patrol together as well as participating in ride-alongs with officers. He has originated some ideas that have been useful to the program. "I like this chance for community involvement," Frank says.
Columbia likes this chance to thank him as a volunteer. Thank you Frank!
Article written by Randy Williamson, volunteer
Juanita and Ed Bishop, both retired from MU, now spend their days playing music - and lots of it! They are members of the City of Columbia Parks & Recreation Department's OAK Jammers, OAK Rhythm Band, Columbia Eagles and Juanita belongs to the OAK Choir. They average playing 18 times monthly for retired and disabled people at care facilities, veterans' homes, hospitals, schools and retirement home throughout Missouri. Often the P&R musical groups are the only outside contact some institutionalized folks have and that makes their visit very special. The Columbia Eagles play an average of four times monthly, the OAK Rhythm three times, and the Jammers play every Monday morning during a coffee social. Thanks to Ed and Juanita for more than seven years of volunteer service with the City of Columbia. You have made a great difference as music is a universal language that touched everyone.
For more information on volunteer opportunities, call 874-7499 or write to volunteer@GoColumbiaMo.com.