2005 Volunteer Family of the Year 

 

Sgt. John Kerr, his wife Linda and children Katie and Brendan of Tobyhanna Army Depot, Pa., have been selected as the 2005 AUSA Rubbermaid-Irwin Volunteer Family of the Year.

The Kerrs will be recognized at the Opening Ceremony of AUSA’s Annual Meeting and Exposition, Monday, Oct. 3, and throughout the three-day professional development forum. The meeting will take place at the Washington Convention Center.

The Kerr’s have touched and influenced many lives through their volunteer efforts. Tobyhanna is a small military installation, but this family’s volunteer contributions have had a major impact on the lives of the many military and civilian families in that community.

Sgt. John Kerr has been a Pennsylvania National Guardsman for 17 years and was honorably discharged as a Captain in 1998. He enlisted in the Army Reserve in 2002 and has been serving as a Reservist since that time.

He does volunteer work with several organizations both on and off the installation to include the Boy Scouts, where he has acquired the rank of Eagle Scout. He has also been a Cub Scout leader and assistant scout master.

Sgt. Kerr coaches both soccer and basketball; works with America’s Promise and does grounds keeping and other maintenance for his church. He has a reputation for always offering a helping hand when someone is in need.

Linda Kerr is the youth services director at Tobyhanna. She is also the school liaison officer and through her volunteer efforts with Army Community Service, she has created a youth volunteer program for the installation’s young people. This program has completed numerous projects for Tobyhanna and the surrounding civilian community since its inception.

Linda also has spent many hours working on food drives for the local food pantry, stuffing Christmas stocking and preparing packages for deployed soldiers. She was involved in fund raising for the victims of the Tsunami disaster. In her spare time, Linda volunteers for her church Bingo programs, serves on the church council and is the recording secretary for the parish council. She has dedicated numerous hours volunteering for the Boys and Girl Scouts, America’s Promise and Operation Santa Claus.

Linda Kerr has been recognized by her installation and community with various awards including the Commanders Award for Civilian Service and the Volunteer of the Month Award.

Daughter Katie is 16 and a junior at Pocono Mountain West High School -- and has followed her parent’s example. She is a teen mentor, tutors other kids, and is an alter girl and lector at her church. She also provides babysitting services for families during church services. She is an active youth volunteer with ACS and is the president of the Smart Girls Club at her school. Katie has received the Silver Presidential Service Award and is working toward the gold award.

Brendan Kerr is 13 years old and an eighth grade student at Pocono Mountain Middle School. He has attained the rank of Life Scout and is working toward his Eagle Scout Badge in the Boy Scouts. Brendan is also an alter boy with his church, volunteers at the local food pantry stocking shelves and assisting clients. He helps to prepare baskets for the holiday food basket programs, distributes toys for Operation Santa Claus and donates hours setting up major events as an ACS youth volunteer. Brendan has been awarded the Gold Presidential Service Award.

In addition to their expense paid trip to Washington for the Association’s Annual Meeting, the AUSA Rubbermaid-Irwin Volunteer Family of the Year receives a cash donation -- also courtesy of Rubbermaid and a large gift basket filled with Rubbermaid, AUSA and GEICO products.

Rubbermaid-Irwin also provides products to be distributed to attendees of the Military Family Forums. The Army Well-being Family Liaison Office presents the family with a framed print of “Noble Calling,” a print by artist Richard Thompson honoring the sacrifices made by military families while supporting their loved ones serving in the United States armed forces.

Two additional families were selected by the AUSA National Awards Committee as runners-up.

They are Sgt. and Mrs. Barry Malone, and their five children from Fort Lewis, Wash., and Master Sgt. and Mrs. Wade Huffman, Vicenza, Italy, and their two children. Their accomplishments will be addressed in a later article.

The Kerr, Malone and Huffman families are wonderful examples of the volunteer spirit of our Army families and it is an honor for AUSA to recognize them for their service.