Each month The Salvation Army Austin honors our Volunteer of the Month. Check back each month to see who the new honorees are. Click here to learn more about volunteering for The Salvation Army.
January 2017 – Alice Apple
Alice Apple is our January Volunteer of the Month. Alice collected donations for The Austin Shelter for Women and Children in a unique way. She had heard of the shelter and how they helped the women and children staying there so a few days before a party that she was hosting with friends at school, she started to ask people attending to bring just a little something, cash or gift cards to donate to the shelter where the moms and their children were staying. Though she wasn’t expecting much, she was pleased to see a basket full of cash and cards at the end of the party, along with people still donating the following week at school. Alice is a member of National Charity League and hopes to do more for The Salvation Army in the future. Thank you, Alice, for sharing your passion for helping the families who stay in our shelters.
Jamille Ruebsahm, Austin Area Command Development Director; Alice Apple; Stacy Schwarz, Austin Shelter for Women & Children Director
October 2016 – Mary Riordan
Mary Riordan is our October Volunteer of the Month. Mary volunteers at The Salvation Army Area Command office, performing administrative work to support the Development Department with different projects. Coming into the office four hours every Wednesday, Mary provides help with hand-written Thank You cards to our Donors, filing, organizing paperwork, sorting, putting together welcome bags for the children who come into the shelters and other numerous but valuable services in the office. Thank you, Mary, for your help making sure the Area Command office is running smoothly.
September 2016 – John Matthews and Garrett Stork
John Matthews and Garrett Stork from The Salvation Army Taylor Service Unit are our September Volunteers of the Month.
John Matthews (Blue Shirt) and Garrett Stork (Red Shirt), with Taylor Service Unit volunteers.
They were a vital part of the Back to School Supply Drive for Taylor ISD. John and Garrett gave many extra hours and used their personal vehicles to gather school supplies all over town, transporting them to the service unit office to restock the supply room and setting up for the distribution of the supplies for Taylor ISD, working with our partners, H.E.B. and Gatti’s Pizza, to increase the school supply donations this year.
Thank you, John and Garrett, for helping ensure the school children in Taylor had the supplies they needed to start school off right.
August 2016 – Academy Sports + Outdoors
Our Volunteers of the Month for August is the Academy Sports + Outdoors, who held their 7th annual Back to School Give Back event for the children in our shelters just before school started. Academy Sports + Outdoors provided $100 gift cards for the children and their parents that attended so they were able to purchase clothing and shoes for school.
“Back to school is an important time of the year for all kids,” said Matt Gardiner, Regional Marketing Specialist at Academy Sports + Outdoors. “We are thrilled to be able to help these 30 children from The Salvation Army and get them off on the right foot to start the school year.”
Academy Sports + Outdoors hosts this event every year at 100 of their stores and works with different youth programs in the markets that they do business in. This year, they reached out to The Salvation Army because of the kids and families we serve.
Thank you, Academy Sports + Outdoors and Matt Gardiner for making sure our children were ready for the school year.
July 2016 – Rose Peppers
Our Volunteer of the Month for July is Rose Peppers. Rose is a committed volunteer who comes to the Williamson County Service Center three days a week to assist with administrative duties.
Rose greets everyone who visits the Service Center, performs receptionist duties, including screening and referring incoming calls. She schedules appointments, administers client applications and paperwork, and organizes the Service Center office, food pantry and clothing closet. Rose’s attention to detail has allowed the Center’s client advocate to focus on assisting clients more efficiently and being more productive in client services. Rose maintains a positive attitude and is very dependable.
Thank you, Rose, for your help making the Williamson County Service Center proactively help people in need in Williamson County.
June 2016 – Victoria Newby
Victoria Newby is our Volunteers of the Month for June. Victoria started and is currently coordinating The Austin Pillowcase Project, which provides hand-made pillowcases for children at The Salvation Army Austin Emergency Shelters.
Victoria contacted The Salvation Army about an idea that each child in the emergency shelters would have a pillowcase that they could call their own, and take with them when they left the shelter.n The idea began when she was sending her oldest son to camp and decided to make a pillowcase that could withstand the rigors of camp life and be an identifying feature on his camp bed. She found a YouTube video on how to sew it and found some fun fabric that her son would like. Finding how easy it was to sew the pillowcase blossomed into the idea of the Austin Pillowcase Project.
“It’s like those little things that I feel that everybody should be able to have, for a good night’s sleep. You don’t know what’s going to happen the next day, it may be a great day, it might not be. You know if you wake up with a good night’s sleep, your outcome is already much better. You already have a better chance of a positive day.”
Along with the help of people who like to sew at A Quilter’s Folly and St. John Newmann Catholic Church, The Pillowcase Project is growing under Victoria’s direction and has currently completed 180 pillowcase to deliver to the shelters.
Thank you, Victoria, for making sure that every child that comes to our shelters will have a pillowcase to call their own.
May 2016 – Taylor Service Unit Volunteers
Our Volunteers of the Month for May were the Taylor Service Unit Volunteers. The Taylor Service Unit is operated by a volunteer committee of local citizens to identify and meet the needs in the Taylor community.
The Service Unit is located on West 6th Street and these dedicated volunteers are there every week to provide services to those in greatest need in Taylor. Services provided include helping with utility bills, sending local kids to camp, a back to school drive, and other support. The volunteers are also busy ringing bells at Red Kettles in Taylor during the holiday season to raise funds for the rest of the year.
Thank you, Taylor Service Unit Volunteers, for your dedication to The Salvation Army and your community.
April 2016 – White Construction Company
On April 14 of this year, The Salvation Army and Majic 95.5 Volunteers of the Month, White Construction Company brought their employees to The Salvation Army Adult Rehabilitation Center (ARC) for their annual Employee Volunteer Day.
Employees from all departments of their company participated in making more than fifty (50) blankets for the children living at The Salvation Army Austin emergency shelters. White Construction posted this project on their Facebook page and said, “It warmed our hearts to help make soft blankets that will comfort these children.”
At any given time, The Salvation Army has approximately 100 children staying in our Emergency Shelters. Many times the children arrive with very little personal property. The blankets made by White Construction will be given to the children when they arrive at the shelter along with a “welcome bag”. This blanket and welcome bag will make the children more at ease as they enter the shelter with their families.
White Construction Company is made up of a team of highly respected professionals who thrive in a culture of integrity, diligence, expertise, quality, success and commitment to our community. We are fortunate that owner Neel White serves faithfully as a Salvation Army Austin Advisory Board member, and we appreciate the company’s commitment to community that brought them to The Salvation Army so we are able to Do the Most Good for those in greatest need.
March 2016 – Melissa Garcia
Melissa Garcia may have been volunteering with The Salvation Army for a short time but she has made a huge contribution. As soon as she completed volunteer training and orientation, Melissa began signing up on a regular basis to assist with movie and game nights for the children and game nights for the women living in our emergency shelter. She is always early, ready to help with set up. She brings a smile and kind words for all she comes in contact with. She is eager to put smiles on the faces of the women and children who come.
Melissa is the office manager for FC Home Health Agency in Austin. She loves to read and also enjoys volunteering for the Austin Humane Society where she gives kittens and cats a bit of extra love while they wait on their forever home. We thank you Melissa for sharing your love with us!
February 2016 – Mary Meoli-Johnson
Mary Meoli-Johnson has been volunteering at the Williamson County Service Center for the past two years. She started volunteering with our Williamson County kid’s summer camp. Mary now also helps at the Service Center office helping with many needed tasks such as assisting in audit of client files, organizing the food pantry and clothing closet, scheduling potential and current client appointments and much more.
Mary is also on the Wilco Giving Back 2016 fund-raising volunteer committee and is chair of the decorating committee. Mary is creative and has many great ideas and we are blessed to have her take time out of her day to help us serve those in the most need.
January 2016 – Barn Babes and Dudes
Our January 2016 volunteers of the month are the Barn Babes and Dudes. They have been ringing the bell at our red kettle during the holidays at the Barton Creek Mall theater entrance, for the past three years. They volunteer every Saturday during the holidays. The Barn Babes and Dudes are a group of high school friends that reconnected after retiring. They have a lot of fun working at the kettles together.
We are thankful to this wonderful group for their dedication and help. Seeing a great group of friends use their time to give back to their community is inspiring and heart-warming.
June 2015 – Cindy Wells
Cindy Wells has been volunteering with The Salvation Army for more than four years. She not only serves as part of the all-volunteer Disaster Response Team but has helped ring the bell at Salvation Army Red Kettles and volunteers with our annual Shoe-In.
Cindy was the first person on the scene from an agency other than law enforcement, when the West explosion occurred in April 2013. Cindy, Bruce Peterson, and other Salvation Army volunteers provided food and hydration to the first responders.
During the recent Central Texas floods, she worked in Hays County helping serve thousands of first responders and survivors. One of our staff observed Cindy giving a pair of shoes she had in her car to one of the survivors who had lost everything in the flood, including her shoes. The young woman and everyone around was touched by Cindy’s generous gesture.
After returning from helping in Hays County, Cindy was notified by The Salvation Army that the first responders and survivors in Taylor were in need of food. She personally made 100 sandwiches and delivered them to Taylor to be distributed.
When asked why she likes to volunteer with The Salvation Army, she recalled an event in the 1970’s when a friend was working on a bridge, was struck by a car and fell into rapid waters. As family, friends and law enforcement gathered to search for her friend’s body, she vividly remembered The Salvation Army canteen being present to serve those involved in the search area. Because of this memory she decided to become a disaster response volunteer.
Thank you Cindy for all you do! The Salvation Army is blessed to have you with us. May God bless you always.
May 2015 – Bob Cole
The Salvation Army Austin is honored to name Bob Cole our Volunteer of the Month for May 2015. Bob Cole is a local legend and is known to Austinites as the host of the weekday KOKE FM morning show and as the voice of the University of Texas Longhorn Band and the stadium announcer with Bill Little at the Longhorn home football games.
Bob Cole is also known for his commitment to community service with the Salvation Army. Bob has been involved with the Salvation Army for many years and is passionate about sharing his love for the Army with others. Bob dedicates his time to the Salvation Army in many ways, from inviting Salvation Army staff and officers for on-air interviews to leading KOKE FM in presenting the inaugural Rock the Red Kettle Concert which included singer/songwriter Cory Morrow. For the last two years, Bob has emceed the Salvation Army’s Doing the Most Good Luncheon fundraiser, delighting the crowd with his humor and passion for those in greatest need in our community. His contribution helped us make these events a great success in raising donations to support our local emergency shelters and families in need.
Along with a big personality, Bob Cole has a big heart. He is generous and has compassion for those in need. The Salvation Army Austin is blessed to have such a dedicated and inspiring friend involved in our mission: Doing The Most Good.
April 2015 – Paige Scheumack
Meet Paige Scheumack, our April Volunteer of the Month. Paige has been volunteering to provide birthday parties for children living at the Austin Shelter for Women and Children for seven years now. She started as a volunteer with The Birthday Wagon group and when the health of the group leader did not allow her to continue in the role, Paige stepped up and took on this really special project. At the monthly birthday parties, all children with birthdays in that month receive gifts. The parties include games, face painting and cupcakes for all. Birthday parties are important for all children, but they are especially important for children experiencing the trauma of homelessness.
When you ask Paige why she does this she says “I think we all need help sometimes, and it is our duty as a society to do something to help our community”.
Paige is always overwhelmed by the gratitude of the children. She says they are thankful for everything they receive. She recalls a discussion with a mom at Christmas. The mom shared with her that she and her children had escaped an abusive situation and left with only the clothes on their backs. The mom was grateful that The Birthday Wagon group provided a Christmas party with gifts for all the children.
In her free time Paige loves to spend time with her boyfriend and her dog. She enjoys cooking and going to see live music. Thank you Paige for all you do!
March 2015 – Mary Goucher
Mary Goucher is a volunteer with a heart of gold. Mary volunteered many hours at the Christmas Cheer Warehouse from October through December 2014, cheerfully answering the phone, greeting visitors, distributing Angel Tree gifts to deserving families and being helpful to everyone who walked in the door. To meet Mary is to be welcomed by her and to know that you are someone special.
Mary is a former employee of The Salvation Army in Austin and continues to serve graciously as a volunteer in order to Do the Most Good for our community. Mary was honored recently at the Entercom Studios in West Austin where she was given tickets to a Broadway Across America show as a special appreciation for her devoted volunteer efforts to The Salvation Army.
Cheers to Mary for being our honored Volunteer of the Month for March, 2015!
January 2015 – Sue Hill & Susan Curlee
Sue Hill & Susan Curlee are friends who believe in giving back to their community. They recently served on The Salvation Army Ladies Bruncheon committee helping plan a beautiful event for women in the Austin area. More than 60% of The Salvation Army’s clients in shelter are women and children, and the Ladies Bruncheon highlighted this reality. Sue and Susan continue to raise awareness of this growing need in our community. As they learned more about our programs their interest in volunteering with us grew.
Each Monday after they complete their Meals on Wheels delivery, they stop by our downtown shelter to begin the task of sorting clothing for the clothing closet. Since taking this task on, they have completely reorganized the closet – making it much easier for our clients. They interact with our staff and clients to provide a pleasant experience while they visit the closet. We appreciate how these ladies have set out to Do The Most Good!
Previous Volunteer of the Month Posts
December 2014 – Ben Kazda
July 2014 – Jill Harrison
June 2014 – Sharon Morrison
May 2014 -St. David’s Episcopal Church Bedtime Story Brigade
April 2014 – Randy O’Dell
March 2014 – Johnnie & Gary Kovar
January 2014 – Ben Rivera