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CFCC celebrates volunteerism at Kaiser dinner

July 05, 2017
Eleven people were honored at the inaugural Doris June Snider Kaiser Volunteer of the Year awards dinner hosted by the Community Foundation of Crawford County Thursday in the Clover Room at the Crawford County 4-H Community Park near Marengo.

The reception, which is sponsored in part by the Doris June Snider Kaiser Endowment Fund, saw 74 in attendance.

An emotional Jim Kaiser accepts the Community Foundation of Crawford County's Lifetime Volunteer Award at the event named for his late wife. Below, CFCC Executive Director Christine Harbeson reads Sondra Jellison's bio while Jellison is awarded her plaque in the background.

In 2012, following the passing of his wife of 60-plus years, Jim Kaiser, of Eckerty, established the Doris June Snider Kaiser Fund as a way to honor her memory along with all of her volunteer work in the community, including leadership roles at the Crawford County Historical and Genealogical Society, Eastern Star Chapter 246 (French Lick), Crawford County Homemakers Club, 4-H through the Cooperative Extension (Illinois), Crawford County Farm Bureau, Crawford County Park Board and Crawford County Extension Service.

"Her volunteer efforts were extensive and the Community Foundation of Crawford County is humbled to be a part of such a legacy," CCFC Executive Director Christine Harbeson said. "Mrs. Kaiser, we thank you for all that you did while you walked this earth."

Each honored volunteer received a red cedar plaque made by log cabin builder and chainsaw wood artist Paul Moon, each with an individually burned initial logo of "DJSK" onto the wood.

To begin the program, Harbeson explained that each narrative the audience would hear would not be equal in size, but that each would speak to the heart of the reasoning behind the reception.

"Volunteering makes a significant impact on our community and our world," she said. "Each of you deserves so much more than we can give you tonight, but we know that's not why you do what you do. We know you value to the very core of your being the generous works you perform."

Following is a short bio of each honoree, the organization each belongs to and by whom they were nominated.

Community Foundation of Crawford County's Lifetime Volunteer Award - Clarence James (Jim) Kaiser

Submitted by: CCFC board of directors and staff

"The Community Foundation is both humbled and challenged by Jim Kaiser; and we are all encouraged by his actions. Jim Kaiser is a man of faith, integrity, perseverance, gentleness, kindness, patience, humility, self-control, compassion, charity and much more.

Jim helped to establish our foundation nearly 20 years ago and has served continuously with the foundation since that time. We compiled a conservative list of two full sheets, single spaced, of various volunteer and leadership roles Jim has filled. He has done everything from being a local committee volunteer or board chairman to serving internationally as an advisor or in a humanitarian role on topics such as forage and land conservation.

There's a lot more that we could say about Jim, but we cannot express the wealth of humanity encapsulated in this man. God knew exactly, as He always does, what He was doing when He made Jim for our community. We, the Community Foundation, and our entire region will forever be indebted to him."

Bernice Clark

Submitted by: Marsha Wells

Organization: French Lick Chapter 249

"Bernice has been a member of French Lick Chapter No. 249 for more than 60 years. As an active member she has held many offices and currently serves as the chapter's secretary. It takes many volunteer hours to accomplish the responsibilities required as the chapter's secretary, all of which Bernice does because of her love of the Order."

Kayla Clunie

Submitted by: Korrie Kozuhowski

Organization: Boys and Girls Clubs of Harrison-Crawford Counties

"In addition to being a full-time college student and working at a plant nursery, Kayla chooses to dedicate much of her limited free time mentoring the youth of the Boys and Girls Club in Leavenworth. Several times a week, Kayla comes to the BGC to plan STEM activities and help students with homework. Kayla reminds staff and students alike to set goals and expect much of ourselves. We are honored to have her in our program."

Betty Cook

Submitted by: Gail Peitzmeier

Organization: Purdue Extension Crawford County

"(Betty's) interest in 4-H started during her youth and she became a tenured member of the organization. Over the years, she has volunteered for 4-H in many ways, including as a parent and club leader, serving on the 4-H Council, and working in the Extension office. Each summer during the fair, she works with exhibits and assists judges, helps with livestock show and auction, provides assistance with the elephant ear stand, the Cattleman's steak stand, the Farm Bureau booth, the Extension booth and hall security."

Norman and Ruthie Fetz

Submitted by: Wilma Benz

Organization: Pilot Knob United Methodist Church

"The church wishes to recognize Norman and Ruthie for their volunteerism and dedication to the community and to our church. They have been volunteering at the CCUM Food Pantry for several years. Additionally, they dedicate their time to ensuring that our church is clean and in good repair. They have also taken on the task of keeping the Pilot Knob Cemetery well maintained. They embody what servant leaders should be."

Sondra Jellison

Submitted by: Cathy Devers

Organization: Wickliffe Homemakers

"Sondra began attending the Wickliffe Homemakers with her mother about 67 years ago. She regularly volunteers to prepare and deliver food for necessary 4-H activities, including cooking for workers and participants at the county fair. She also prepares food for both elementary and high school activities. Through church, she prepares food for funerals and delivers food for the sick. When the school, church, club or 4-H call with a need, Sondra is ready and willing to help."

Doug Phillips

Submitted by: Jeff Howell

Organization: Crawford County Sheriff's Department

"In October of 2012, Doug was sworn in as a reserve officer for the CCSD. He has volunteered numerous hours of service, is never too busy to lend a helping hand and is a pleasure to work with. He presents himself in a professional manner, performing duties assigned by the sheriff. Doug is a great asset to the department and the county, and we are honored to have him."

Carol Tomlinson

Submitted by: William Piper

Organization: Crawford County Historical and Genealogical Society

"Carol has been instrumental in obtaining grants from the Historical and Genealogical Society. Her work helped us receive three grants already, the last of which totals $324,000. She has also helped the society in obtaining a permanent home location by acquiring a building in English. This building is to be used by the public for research purposes, as well as for social events."

Gary Tower

Submitted by: Laura Zipp

Organization: Crawford County United Ministries

"Gary Tower works nine hours each week at the CCUM food pantry, stocking, unloading trucks and distributing food to the families. In addition to this, he helps distribute commodities to the elderly housing each month. He is very kind, hard working and humble."

Louise Wright

Submitted by: Holly Epple

Organization: Eckerty Christian Church

"Louise is a committed volunteer to Crawford County. She has spent countless hours volunteering her time, talent and treasures to many non-profit organizations and individuals who are in need. Louise currently volunteers at Eckerty Christian Church, VFW Post 6160, Old Eckerty Days and the community Halloween party. She also enjoys collecting donations for benefits being held for those who are sick, lost their residence due to fire or tornado, etc. On numerous occasions she has transported elderly patients to various hospitals for treatments and visits."

Laura Zipp

Submitted by: Esther Collins Chanley

Organization: Crawford Consolidated Methodist Church

"Laura is a woman who selflessly and generously donates much of her time to assist those less financially fortunate in our county, who require assistance with food or utility assistance. She is the director of Crawford County Untied Ministries which includes director of the Leavenworth food pantry, organizes and coordinates Salvation Army bell ringing, began and continues the spring volunteer recognition dinner, prepares Dare to Care and other food orders. This is only a partial list of her volunteerism. She has earned our respect and gratitude."

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