DOBSON — Surry County Schools honored 19 people this week as its 2015-16 volunteers of the year.
Dr. Travis Reeves, school superintendent, named one winner from each of the 19 campuses in the district before naming the overall volunteer of the year at a ceremony in the viticulture building of Surry Community College.
The top award went to Deborah Money, a 60-year-old Mountain Park Elementary volunteer.
“Mrs. Money has a positive attitude and a smile on her face each day,” Reeves told the crowd. “After she has finished her morning bus route, she spends many hours volunteering at Mountain Park Elementary School in the office and helping in classrooms.”
Money said she has only been volunteering at the school for two years, but has been driving a school bus for 29 years.
“She assists in many ways,” said Reeves. “She covers lunch duty, walks students to class, makes copies of newsletters and distributes to classroom teachers to send home to students. She answers the telephone, gives tardy slips and calls students from the classroom if they are leaving early.”
The school district has a backpack program where donations are used to buy school supplies and other needed items for children.
Reeves said Money has spent many hours shopping for supplies to use in the backpacks.
“She donates beautifully decorated cakes to events such as the Fall Carnival, bingo event and Beginner’s Day,” he added.
Money said she’s helped in the cafeteria, run errands and filled in for people who are absent.
“I help out wherever I’m needed,” she said. “I love the people. I love the kids. The kids are like my kids.”
The 1974 graduate of Surry Central lived in the Mountain Park community for many years before moving to the Traphill area in recent years. Her three daughters — Joani Cheek, Wendy Spicer and Kristy Money — all graduated from Surry Central, too.
Money said she had no idea she was going to be picked, but Dr. Reeves had given a head’s up to her daughters so that they could make plans to attend.
“I want to thank the whole staff at Mountain Park. I love each and every one of them,” she said, adding that she plans on volunteering as long as her health allows or until principal Donna Bledsoe runs her off.
“I couldn’t be more proud to recognize our volunteers of the year,” Reeves said after this week’s ceremony.
“We look at this as a community school district,” he said. The people who volunteer take pride in the local schools in their communities. For most of them, the school is in the place where they live and where their own children have gone to school.
“You give your heart and soul to what you know and love,” he said. Reeves said he is glad to honor them — a small token compared to the volunteers do every day, taking time away from their own families to help.
List of Winners
Cedar Ridge — In her first year since retiring as a school employee, Liza Southern has accrued more than 100 volunteer hours since Nov. 10. Central Middle — In the past two years, James Atkins has donated more than 150 hours of time to activities like selling concession, supervising dances and helping with athletic field maintenance.
Copeland — Tanya Smith has volunteered for five years. Just this past year alone, she has logged 258 hours. She also is PTO president.
Dobson — Danny McCraw is a mentor to a fifth-grader, spending many hours a month with the child. He also teaches first-graders about beekeeping every year.
East Surry — Lora Thompson has logged more than 50 hours with the school band, chaperoning activities and assisting with competitions.
Flat Rock — Aislinn Caudle is a member of the PTO board and has worked hard on the fresh fruit and vegetable grant, preparing fresh produce three times a week. She has logged right at 100 hours this year.
Franklin — Susan Burcham and Mary Lynn Goins have volunteered an hour every week for the past two years, maintaining the school backpack program.
Gentry — Amanda Casstevens has given more than 50 hours this year and has been volunteering for five years. She also serves as secretary of the booster club.
Meadowview — Kathryn Freed has given thousands of hours over the past six years, including 300 this year alone. For two years she has been president of the booster club.
North Surry — Becky Hodges has volunteered for four years, working this year as chair of the booster concessions committee.
Pilot Mountain Elementary — Sherri Hedrick has volunteered for three years, assisting in classrooms as well as planning events and fundraisers.
Pilot Mountain Middle — Tim Bodford, an athletic trainer at East Surry, has helped at the middle school for four years in a variety of ways.
Rockford — Miguel Flores was hired as a part-time daycare assistant, but began volunteering many more hours wherever he could be of help.
Shoals — Former East Surry baseball standout Weston Payne is a first-year volunteer and full-time SCC student. He has given 144 hours to second- and third-graders at his former school.
Surry Central — Kim Layne has helped with high school concessions for four years, including scheduling other volunteers. She has worked long hours with an annual barbecue fundraiser.
Surry Early College — Fred and Tina Goettel have helped for seven years, with most of that time at the Early College. They have organized bingo and other fundraisers.
Westfield — Sandra Boles has donated many hours each week for the past six years and has racked up 324 this year alone.
White Plains — Stephanie Noonkester has helped the PTO for six years and is currently the backpack program coordinator.
Reach Jeff at 415-4692.