Keaton L., Ala.
Keaton L., Ala., was named a Fraternal MVP for the week of Dec. 13, 2010. The high school student is a Modern Woodmen youth service club member, has earned the Presidential Volunteer Service Award and was recently nominated for Modern Woodmen’s Outstanding Youth Volunteer Award.
He began volunteering at Hokes Bluff United Methodist Church with his mom. He’s volunteered in church musicals, helped with Sunday School and Vacation Bible School, and served at its spaghetti dinner fundraisers and elementary student lock-ins.
Last year, Keaton served as an assistant basketball coach for kids in kindergarten and first grade. He taught rules and skills, encouraged shy kids and first-timers, and led by example. Keaton has also served meals at the local soup kitchen, participated in Relay for Life and assisted at blood drives. At school, he proudly raises and lowers the American and Alabama flags each day. The flagpole is dedicated in memory of his grandmother, a former teacher. Keaton lives with his parents and brother. He aspires to be a video game designer or computer programmer.
Lisa Godfrey, Hokes Bluff, Ala.
Lisa Godfrey, Hokes Bluff, Ala., was named a Fraternal MVP for the week of Nov. 1, 2010. Godfrey is a youth service club leader and a chapter activities coordinator for two Modern Woodmen chapters.
Her chapters and club have participated in service projects throughout the year. Among other things, activities have included cleanups, beautification projects, tree plantings, Join Hands Day projects and school supply donations.
In addition to regular chapter and club responsibilities to members, she has also served as a Girl Scout leader since 1998 and has been coordinator for all Hokes Bluff Girl Scout troops since 1980. Godfrey is also very active in her church and volunteers with the American Red Cross. She was the recipient of the Lifetime Presidential Volunteer Service Award from President George Bush for contributing more than 4,000 hours of service in her lifetime.
Lara Thorn, Bloomfield, Mo.
Lara Thorn, Bloomfield, Mo., was named a Fraternal MVP for the week of Sept. 6, 2010. Those who know Lara knows she has a true gift for service. The Modern Woodmen member and this year's Modern Woodmen Fraternalist of the Year leads a youth service club and adult chapter in addition to her extensive community involvement.
Lara has a positive attitude and plans creative activities and volunteer projects for her chapter and youth club. In 2009, her youth club collected 808 items for the local food pantry. They celebrated Earth Day by picking up trash at a local park and school and distributing reusable bags to community members. They also donated more than 300 soup labels, box tops and pop tabs to a local school. Chapter members built a bench at the local library and planted a tree at the elementary school. Both groups volunteered on Join Hands Day and Make A Difference Day. Combined, the chapter and club members raised a total of $6,000 to donate to local community causes last year.
In addition to volunteering with Modern Woodmen, Lara serves as part of a variety of other community organizations. Lara and her husband, Tony, have three children, Maggie, Sophie and Will.
Courtney G., Mich.
Courtney G., Mich., was named a Fraternal MVP for the week of May 17, 2010. Last year, the eighth grader logged 1,752 acts of service through Modern Woodmen’s new Serving Others and Acting Responsibly program. The program recognizes and rewards youth club members for volunteering done outside their regular club activities.
Watching her mother lead a Modern Woodmen club inspires Courtney to someday become a club leader herself. She’s especially pleased with the impact her club has made on individuals and organizations in the community, including last year’s Make A Difference Day project for the local humane society. Courtney also participates in Join Hands Day cleanups, helps with camp and club Matching Fund fundraisers and collects donations for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation and Muscular Dystrophy Association.
She participates in volleyball, cheerleading and softball. At church, she volunteers and sings on the praise team. She also finds time to earn spending money by babysitting and delivering the local newspaper. She lives with her parents, brother and two dogs. The honor roll student will enter high school this fall and plans to one day become a veterinarian.
Chantelle Kirsch, White Lake, S.D.
Chantelle Kirsch, White Lake, S.D., was named a Fraternal MVP for the week of Oct. 26, 2009. Chantelle is a youth service club leader, a camp secretary and an assistant for her husband’s teen club. In addition to regular camp and club responsibilities to members, the Kirsches make a special effort to reach out to all youth in their community by holding Easter Egg Hunts, Santa Days and Homecoming Karaoke Nights for teens.
Although she is a busy mother to seven sons, Chantelle finds time to volunteer in many community activities. She is active in local Little League and Music Boosters, and coordinates the local spelling bee and school incentive program. She also teaches Sunday school, coordinates Bible School and is a Catholic Youth Organization leader.
Maria Edelen, Cedar Rapids, Iowa
Maria Edelen, Cedar Rapids, Iowa, was named a Fraternal MVP for the week of Aug. 24, 2009. In 2008, the Modern Woodmen Youth Service Club leader faced several unexpected fraternal opportunities following a deadly tornado in a Parkersburg, Iowa, and record flooding in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Within a week of the tornado, Maria's youth club held a clothing drive to help the residents of the town of 1,600.
The flooding hit two weeks later, affecting an area of more than 10-square miles. Damage was estimated at more than $5.7 billion. Maria spearheaded a special disaster relief event held by one of her husband’s three Modern Woodmen adult camps. The total raised – more than $3,100 – helped 26 families. She also helped board up flood-damaged buildings, served a meal at a mission during the flood, and collected money and clothing for flood victims. Maria's club provided refreshments to patrolling Iowa National Guard troops and donated school supplies to a child whose family was affected by the flood.
In addition to disaster-related activities, Maria's club partnered with several camps on Join Hands Day to purchase and donate items to a women and children’s shelter. She also organized a concession-stand fundraiser for a local softball/baseball booster club. With money matched from Modern Woodmen, the event raised $5,000 toward team equipment.
Maria is active at the national, state and local levels of the Grange, a fraternal organization serving rural families and communities. As Lecturer/Program Director of the Iowa State Grange, she is responsible for programs, contests and community service activities. At the local level, she serves at fundraising events.
She and her husband, Gene, have two daughters, Emma and Rachel.
Glenda Bruins, Sterling, Ill.
Glenda Bruins, Sterling, Ill., was named a Fraternal MVP for the week of July 27, 2009. Glenda Bruins gives a great deal of her time and talent to local Modern Woodmen activities, including serving as the camp secretary of three camps and one youth service club. She has been a camp secretary for 13 years and a Modern Woodmen member since 1989.
Glenda has been volunteering for more than four decades. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and stroke-related health issues (both stemming from volunteer flood-cleanup efforts) have not slowed her community service.
Glenda is a Special Olympics coach and also donates her time and talents to two local agencies that serve people facing mental and physical challenges. She supervises offenders who perform court-ordered community service hours and secures work sites for them. She’s president of Whiteside County Crime Stoppers program, and she writes grants to help local organizations. She was also instrumental in the organization of the local food bank to serve 60 local food pantries.
Glenda retired in 1993 from full-time employment in social services. She and her husband, Ron, have two children and two grandchildren.
Richard F. Olenoski, Twin Lakes, Wis.
Richard F. Olenoski, Twin Lakes, Wis., was named a Fraternal MVP for the week of Feb. 9, 2009. Richard has been an active member of Camp 369 since becoming a member three years ago. He's participated in projects including replacing a roof, building a swing set, constructing a picnic area and planting trees.
Preserving and protecting the community lakes is one of Richard's special interests. He pulls weeds and cleans up Pell Lake Park each month. He maintains the grounds and repairs buildings along the lake. He also shares his love of fishing with local youths at various fishing derbies throughout the year.
As a recent Modern Woodmen Hometown Hero Award winner, Richard received a $100 award voucher to donate to a local charitable organization. He chose Shriners Hospitals, in honor of his 18-year-old granddaughter, who had been treated there. Richard matched the $100 donation himself. Moved by his generosity, his family and other members donated another $550.
Richard retired from Peoples Energy after 41 years of service. He and his wife Darlene have five children and five grandchildren.
Marian Crow, Richmond, Va.
Marian Crow, Richmond, Va., was named a Fraternal MVP for the week of Nov. 17, 2008. Marian was also recognized as Modern Woodmen’s 2008 Fraternalist of the Year. Marian established a new Modern Woodmen youth service club in Richmond in 2007 and became the leader. As the youth service club leader, Marian coordinated monthly activities that were service-oriented, educational and fun.
Activities have included making thank you notes and collecting items for military men and women, visiting and hosting an ice cream social at a local nursing home and collecting canned goods for the Central Virginia Food Bank. The club also participated in two local parades, had a family outing at a local dinner theatre and took an educational tour of the Richmond Canal system.
In addition to her role as club leader, Marian is a volunteer for other organizations. She created a team that raised $500 for the Richmond Virginia Asthma Walk to support the American Lung Association. She participates in the Gold Wing Road Riders Association, the Powhatan Relay for Life and coordinated a motorcycle poker run to raise money for the American Cancer Society.
Marian is an administrative assistant at the United Network for Organ Sharing.
Abby O., S.D.
Abby, a 13-year-old student from South Dakota, was honored as a Fraternal MVP for the week of Sept. 1, 2008. Abby is an active volunteer in her local Modern Woodmen camp.
She has planted trees, painted ballpark bleachers, delivered turkeys and hams to the needy, and assisted with meal preparation and serving at events. She was also a guest speaker at a monthly meeting, where she spoke about lung cancer.
In addition to her Modern Woodmen volunteer opportunities, she also supports Relay for Life. She raised more than $1,100 and was the top individual participating in the local Relay for Life chapter. Abby donated her hair to the American Cancer Society’s “Locks of Love” program, which uses the hair to make wigs and hair pieces for those who lose their hair during chemotherapy treatments for cancer. Donating her own hair inspired others around her to do the same. She was inspired and driven to help others with cancer because she lost her aunt to cancer.
Abby is also an active member of the Girl Scouts, swim team, chorus and her church.
Stephen J. Powell, Vincennes, Ind.
Stephen J. Powell, Vincennes, Ind., was named a Fraternal MVP for the week of Feb. 4, 2008. The NFCA also invited Stephen to share his fraternal story with his senators and representatives during a trip to Washington, D.C. A lifelong member of Modern Woodmen, he has made volunteering a priority despite health problems that forced him into retirement 10 years ago. “People helping people,” Steve says. “It doesn’t get any better than that!”
Steve has been the coordinator for the Self Help and Resource Exchange food program since its inception in March 2001. He is also the county coordinator of the Commodity Supplemental Food Program for Seniors and works with the Disabled American Veterans chapter to drive veterans to their appointments at VA hospitals.
He volunteers at the Indiana Military Museum, sits on the advisory councils for Generations United and RSVP and was appointed to the Vincennes City Board of Zoning Appeals by the mayor two years ago. He ushers at the Red Skelton Performing Arts Center and raises funds for Harbor House, a local shelter for victims of domestic violence.
Steve served nearly five years in the Army, worked for the Social Security Administration and retired from the U.S. Postal Service in 1998.
Jess Taylor, Topeka, Kan.
Retired Modern Woodmen District Representative and former Agency Manager Jess Taylor, a 57-year Modern Woodmen member from Topeka, Kan., was honored as a Fraternal MVP for the week of Nov. 26, 2007. The NFCA also invited Jess to share his fraternal story with his senators and representatives during a trip to Washington, D.C.
Jess was recognized as a Modern Woodmen Hometown Hero last year. A former Modern Woodmen Youth Service Club leader, Jess has helped start 12 clubs and continues to sponsor two. Jess has also been actively involved in Modern Woodmen Camp 536. His volunteer efforts with camps and clubs include planting trees at local parks, cleaning parks and zoos for Join Hands Day, and collecting food donations for the annual Thanksgiving dinner in Topeka.
In addition to camp and club activities, Jess is a commercial artist who uses his talent to enrich his community. In addition to raising money for schools, churches and non-profits by selling caricatures, Jess also volunteers at the Topeka Performing Arts Center. He teaches art classes and illustrates the award-winning Military Officers Association of America newsletter. Jess is a former Kansas National Guardsman and colonel in the U.S. Army Reserve.