Helen Beach helps Ruth Dibble, left, and Brienne Petersen (both 10-year-old students) as a volunteer teacher's aide at McMillan Elementary. She's been a volunteer for seven years.
Helen Beach has spent a lifetime helping children and adults. She has been a key member of her community, helping at both schools and hospitals.Beach taught elementary school for 38 years, retiring in 1977. She then spent seven years as a teacher's aide at Murray's McMillan Elementary, helping children with their reading and math skills.
In 1985, when the teacher's aide program changed, she still decided to stay on as a volunteer. She helps out at McMillan from 9 a.m. until noon, Monday through Thursday. The students look forward to her assistance and she is a teacher's dream assistant.
"You can't find a better volunteer," Beck Sheffield, principal at McMillan, said of Beach. "And no one has been doing it longer. She just cares about the kids and loves them . . . she's always helping kids who need an extra push."
In addition, Beach spends an extensive amount of time as a volunteer at local hospitals. In 1985 she started working as a volunteer at both Cottonwood and Holy Cross hospitals. She goes to each hospital one afternoon per week and has logged more than 1,000 volunteer hours.
Here are some other recent nominations from readers concerning Wasatch Front residents who make a difference in their communities by doing volunteer work or other service:
- Christine Baldaras:
Baldaras started a group called "SHARE Parents of Utah," designed to be a support group for parents who have lost a newborn baby through stillbirth, miscarriage or sudden infant death syndrome. This all-volunteer group is also assisted by Stephanie Wilke and Laurel Osbourne.
- Kay Fankhauser:
Fankhauser provides hours of endless service to her West Valley City neighborhood. She volunteers every Thursday at an elementary school, organizes meals and baby sitting for other volunteers and simply helps all those in need. One neighbor describes Fankhauser as an "exemplary woman."
- Lola Walker:
Walker, 83, is continually helping and transporting other senior citizens in the neighborhood. For her age, she's extremely active, seems to compliment everyone she meets and sends many greeting cards to neighbors and friends.
One neighbor said that "she is a very unusual, healthy woman." She is also active in her church, teaching many lessons and volunteering much of her time there.
- Marie Putscher:
Putscher, West Valley City, donates a lot of her time to the 4-H program by teaching classes. She also offers free nursery school classes to various groups. All this is in addition to a lot of church service work.
According to one of her neighbors, she exhibits the true meaning of charity and caring for others.
- Benjamin H. Brown:
Brown, 83, can fix just about anything for the 15 or more widows in his Salt Lake neighborhood. One neighbor calls him the angel of their street.
He fixes everything from leaking water taps to automotive problems. He also does grocery shopping for some of the elderly and is involved with collecting neighborhood newspapers for recycling. Brown is also a wonderful gardener, has his own orchard and everyone around benefits from what he grows.
- Lyle Peterson:
Peterson, Bountiful, is frequently going about his neighborhood doing good deeds. He comforts the sick and lifts the spirits of the depressed.
- Kim Hefner:
Hefner, an eighth-grader at Salt Lake's Hillside Junior High School, spent last year's summer vacation helping the elderly at St. Joseph's Villa. She assisted the nuns there with volunteer service and was dependable and always on time.
She also assists other elderly people in her neighborhood by visiting their homes and helping them with whatever they need, from grocery shopping to household tasks. Kim is an unusual volunteer, since few teenagers spend what could be their leisure time with such dedicated service.
- Don Petty:
Petty donates his time, talents and money to those less fortunate. Every week he collects baked goods and delivers them to the Salvation Army, the Alano Club (meeting place for Alcoholics Anonymous), St. Vincent de Paul Center and other places with a need. He receives no allowances for his gas or time.
One neighbor reports seeing Petty lend his car to a man in need. Another time he was reported to have let a homeless man stay in one of his rentals free until the man could find a job.
He frequently plays guitar at senior citizen functions, rest homes and hospitals. He is quick to lend a hand to a single parent who needs help moving, a widow who needs a ride to church or a listening ear to a troubled teenager.
- Harry Kooyman:
Kooyman's a man for all seasons to elderly neighbors in his Salt Lake City neighborhood. He shovels snow, trims trees or does whatever tasks the season requires for widows in his area.
- Elizabeth Minson:
Minson regularly serves hot meals for ill and elderly in her Salt Lake neighborhood. She also visits ill neighbors in local hospitals and is a real joy to all who know her.
- Lynn Nebeker:
Nebeker is an adoptive and foster mother for the state. She only takes in handicapped children and this service is an immeasurable plus to the community.