Some Oklahoma teachers and students hit hard by the spring tornados will soon get some much needed supplies to help them start the school year. It's all thanks to a Texoma mom who headed up a donation drive reaching across the entire Lone Star state.
Newschannel 6 anchor Lindsey Forst learned more about Kathleen Duncan and why she is this month's Community Service Champion nominee.
Earlier this year, tornados devastated a number of Oklahoma communities.
In the days following the storms, Duncan reached out to her childrens' 4H club manager, Jean Hall, to see if the group could start a school supply drive for our neighbors to the north.
"Our 4H group is made up of homeschoolers and many of us school year-round and have school supplies laying around. So, I thought why don't we all gather our school supplies and donate come August to these families who lost everything," Duncan said.
"That's what 4H is all about. It's trying to develop good citizens, trying to develop good leadership and community service and that's what Kathleen was role modeling for them and it made the kids want to join," Jean Hall said.
Within a matter of hours, Duncan had taken the idea a step further in an effort to make it a county-wide initiative. She didn't stop there. By the end of the day, they had gotten the county extension officer, Maranda Revel, involved and taken it to the 4H state board.
"I was beaming from ear when they approved it. It's not often that it happens but when something like this grows that quickly to that size and that it cam from my 4H families they are epitomizing what 4H is and the service learning that we try to instill in everyone," Revel said.
They set up a truck and collected the items at the 4H state round up in College Station. More than 3,000 people attended the June event.
"I saw kids working side-by-side with her in the heat loading boxes sorting through stuff in a trailer. That probably isn't the best way to spend your summer, but they were out there with a smile and I know that in part at least it was because of her example," Hall said.
"Definitely a passion when you see people and can help them," Jordan Hall said.
From pens and paper to chalk and crayons, more than 3,500 items were donated. In part, because Duncan found a way to open up the drive to all of Wichita County. She got a number of businesses to sign on as drop-off locations.
"I saw not only what she was doing for the people of Oklahoma, but our community, letting them get involved and our kids and club helping them to learn. When you see a need, you step forward and help. You don't sit around and wait for someone else to rescue you. She is a hero," Hall said.
Duncan's response to being nominated as our Newschannel 6 Community Service Champion.
"It was a neat honor, but realize, no one person can do this by themselves," Duncan said.
The Wichita County 4H group will be delivering the donations in the coming days. They will take them to an Oklahoma 4H chapter. That group will then distribute the items to the communities that need them the most. So, what started as a Texoma mom's idea to help our neighbors, ended up becoming a community service project spanning across state lines.
If you know an outstanding person in our community, tell us about them. Each month, we select one person as our Community Service Champion nominee. We're going to honor them all in October at a banquet and we'll announce our champion of the year. Whether they go over and above with their volunteer service, or inspire those around them in other ways, we want to hear their stories. Click here for the application.