Random Acts of Kindness Award Recipients
Mackenzie Rupard, Ward 3
Nominated by Kristin Webb, presented on Jan. 28, 2021
Pictured above, from left to right: Ward 3 Alderman Melissa Reimer, Mackenzie with parents Mike and Lynn Rupard, and Ward 3 Alderman Terri Violet.
Mackenzie was recognized for being an amazing young person who has helped so many people through her acts of kindness. Mackenzie organized over 130 Blessing bags to provide essential items for homeless people. She worked to collect supplies, assemble each bag, and even help distribute the bags to people in need. She also sought and received donations of sports equipment to St. Louis Youth Sports Outreach by visiting yard sales and working with a local business. Mackenzie, you are a truly remarkable person who by the age of 10 already has helped so many people and become an inspirational role model. Thank you for being a positive force in our community!
Beverly & John Galla, Ward 3
Nominated by Maribeth Huddleston, presented on Jan. 28, 2021
Pictured above, l-r: Ward 3 Alderman Terri Violet, Beverly and John Galla, Maribeth Huddleston, and Ward 3 Alderman Melissa Reimer.
Beverly and John were recognized for their dedicated assistance to their neighbor, Maribeth, with essential needs such as medications, shopping, transportation, laundry, meal preparation, home maintenance, bringing in the mail, and taking the garbage to the curb, plus extra help with things like gardening, all while being upbeat and encouraging during difficult times. We also appreciate all of Beverly’s help delivering Meals on Wheels for area seniors. Maribeth told us: “I’m so blessed for all of the ways Beverly and John have made my life better.” We also feel blessed to have special people like Beverly and John in our community. Thank you for all of your amazing Acts of Kindness!
Walter Castulik, Ward 1
Nominated by Karen Sullivan, presented on Oct. 22, 2020
Pictured above, from left to right: Ward 1 Alderman Joyce
Townsend, Karen Sullivan, Walter Castulik, and Ward 1 Alderman Rocky
Walter was recognized for for being the neighbor who is always willing to help. Walter, when people really need someone to step up, you are there. Helping someone remove a fallen tree or an unwanted tree. Lending tools and jumping in to help. Taking a neighbor and her sick dog to the vet for emergency care. Dog sitting when someone’s sitter arrangements fell through. Comforting a neighbor daily while they are in hospice care. You’ve done all of this and more. Walter, your spirit of caring, compassion, and willingness to help is a benefit to your neighborhood and our community.
Dr. Lynn Vitale, Ward 3
Nominated by Maisie Todd, presented on Oct. 22, 2020
Pictured above, from left to right: Ward 3 Alderman Melissa Reimer, Maisie Todd, Dr. Lynn Vitale, and Ward 3 Alderman Terri Violet.
Dr. Lynn Vitale was recognized for creating and maintaining a “Blessing Box” in St. Peters along Jungermann Road. The box is filled with non-perishable items and personal care items by people who are able to give. These essential items are available for other people when they are in need. Dr. Lynn, we appreciate your initiative and commitment to offer this service to our community. You found a way to help others spread acts of kindness year-round. Thank you for making a difference in other people’s lives.
Justin Kreder and Michael Lawless of Fort Zumwalt High, Ward 1
Nominated by Maggie Steitz, presented on Jan. 23, 2020
Pictured above, from left to right: Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Townsend, Michael's parents Jim and Karen Lawless, Michael and Justin, Justin's parents Tina and Barry Kreder, and Ward 1 Alderman Rocky Reitmeyer.
Justin and Michael were recognized for going above and beyond to support their high school’s food pantry. Because some students don’t always have food at home on the weekends, Fort Zumwalt South High School in St. Peters hosts a food pantry through the help of special needs students. Justin and Michael went above and beyond to support this effort by both paying for canned goods and transporting them with their own vehicle to the pantry. Thank you, Justin and Michael, for these generous acts of kindness that made a difference in the lives of other students!
Richard Mueller, Ward 2
Nominated by Sandy Hennen, presented on Oct. 24, 2019
Pictured: Richard Mueller is holding the Random Acts of Kindness Award, with his neighbors to the left and Ward 2 Alderman Judy Bateman and Ward 2 Alderman Jerry Hollingsworth on the right.
Richard Mueller was nominated for always being there for his neighbors, whether it’s watching someone’s home while they’re away, taking someone in need to the hospital or grocery store, helping a friend with home maintenance, assisting with trash carts when needed, and much more. Richard is always there for people when they need a helping hand. Thank you, Richard, for all of the wonderful deeds you perform that make help make our community a better place to live!
Doug Williams, Ward 3
Nominated by Dolores Ray, presented on July 25, 2019
Pictured: Doug Williams is holding the Random Acts of Kindness Award. Family members and neighbors are on the left in this photo. Ward 3 Alderman Terri Violet and Ward 3 Alderman Melissa Reimer are on the right.
Doug Williams was nominated for going out of his way to help elderly neighbors with snow removal and other maintenance needs. Without hesitation, Doug steps in to make sure these seniors have a clear driveway and front walk after a snow storm. He does this without being asked, a testament to his character and kindness. Thank you, Doug, for the good deeds you perform that make a world of difference for your neighbors!
Laura & Marc Barmeier, Ward 2
Nominated by Barbara Fresenburg, presented on July 25, 2019
Pictured: Laure and Marc Barmeier with Alderman Judy Bateman and Alderman Jerry Hollingsworth
Laura and Marc Barmeier were nominated for going out of their way to help neighbors in need. Their Random Acts of Kindness include shoveling snow from a senior’s driveway, cutting the grass for someone recovering from surgery and getting medicine or groceries for a senior in need. Laura and Marc are described as an “Angel Family” by one neighbor—a shining example of the type of people whose kindness makes our community a better place to live!
Nancy Hartbeck, Ward 1
Nominated by Sue Schoonover, presented on April 25, 2019
Pictured: Nancy Hartbeck and her husband, Jerry, with Ward 1 Alderman Rocky Reitmeyer and Ward 1 Alderman Joyce Townsend
Nancy Hartbeck was nominated for her willingness to go the extra mile for her neighbors in need. Nancy takes the time to help others, whether it’s bringing a trash cart to the curb, taking a neighbor to the hospital or performing a special deed to comfort a grieving neighbor. Nancy, it’s these type of thoughtful and kind deeds that brighten people’s lives and make our community a better place to live!
Amanda McBride, Ward 2
Nominated by her son, Ethan McBride, presented on Jan. 17, 2019
Pictured: Amanda McBride with Ward 2 Alderman Judy Bateman
Amanda McBride was nominated for helping an elderly neighbor who has been unable to keep up with yard work due to health issues. Whether it’s raking leaves, mowing the grass or other tasks, Amanda's Random Acts of Kindness have made a big difference for her neighbor and the appearance of her neighborhood. Thoughtful people like Amanda help make our community a better place to live!
Jessica Cooke of Yuppy Puppy Pet Spa, Ward 1
Nominated by Cindy Disko, presented on Jan. 17, 2019
Jessica Cooke is pictured above with her award along with friends and family, including Ward 2 Alderman Rocky Reitmeyer and Ward 2 Alderman Dave Thomas. Pictured below is the entire group that accompanied Jessica, including Yuppy Puppy Pet Spa staff.
Jessica Cooke was nominated for donating the time and efforts of her business, Yuppy Puppy Pet Spa, to serve dogs in need of a home. Jessica closed two business locations last August, including one in St. Peters on Salt Lick Road, to spend a day grooming and pampering 40 dogs from St. Charles Pet Adoption Center. Her actions and the actions of her staff helped find homes for 20 dogs that day, plus she welcomed four dogs to stay at her business until they were adopted. Her Random Acts of Kindness made a big difference in the lives of these animals and for our community!
Caleb & Katherine Thomas, Ward 1
Nominated by Michael Thomas, presented on Oct. 25, 2018
Pictured from left to right: Alderman Dave Thomas, Caleb and Katherine's mom and dad, award recipients Caleb and Katherine Thomas, and Alderman Rocky Reitmeyer
Brother and sister Caleb and Katherine Thomas, St. Peters residents from Ward 1, were nominated for a Random Acts Of Kindness Award for selling lemonade to raise funds for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention in memory of their brother, Joshua. They raised $689 to help fund the “More Than Sad” program in six high schools, which will help teens recognize the signs of depression and encourage students who are struggling to seek help.
Patrick Davis, Ward 2
Nominated by Mary Diane Valentine, presented on July 26, 2018
Pictured from left to right: Alderman Judy Bateman, Mary Diane Valentine, award recipient Patrick Davis and Alderman Jerry Hollingsworth
Ward 2 resident Patrick Davis was nominated by his neighbor, Mary Diane Valentine, for a Random Acts of Kindness award for being a wonderful neighbor who is always cheerful and willing to lend a hand. Whether it's a kind word, a smile and a wave, or helpful deeds such as taking out or bringing in a busy neighbor's trash cart from the curb, Patrick's random acts of kindness help make the community a better place to live. As Mary Diane said, "Who wouldn't want someone like him living across the street? I am blessed to call him neighbor."
Carter Lewis, Ward 3
Nominated by Katrina Hurter and Dianne Baniak, presented on April 26, 2018
Pictured from left to right: Alderman Terri Violet, Grandmother Anna, father Doug Lewis, sister Kayla Lewis, mother Carolie Lewis, award recipient Carter Lewis, Katrina Hurter and Alderman Michael Shea
Carter Lewis, age 7, of Ward 3 was nominated by Katrina Hurter and Dianne Baniak for a Random Acts of Kindness award for his efforts to help a local animal shelter by setting up a lemonade stand along Spencer Road in his neighborhood on a very hot summer day in July 2017. Carter’s family dog passed away in May 2017, so he decided to sell lemonade to raise money for Five Acres Animal Shelter. In addition to the $70 he raised, Carter and his family also donated over 250 pounds of dry dog food left over from the family dog to Five Acres. These random acts of kindness were thoughtful ways to make a difference and honor the memory of their beloved family pet.
Debi Needham, Ward 3
Nominated by Sue Schoonover, presented on Jan. 25, 2018
Pictured from left to right: Alderman Michael Shea, Sue Schoonover, John Needham, Debi Needham and Alderman Terri Violet
Ward 3 resident Debi Needham was nominated by her friend Sue Schoonover for the countless acts of kindness she performs to help people in the community, and specifically for her extra efforts to help their mutual friend who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease. Debi helped their friend with gardening when she still lived at home, she often has her over for dinner and brings her to lunch with their friends. As Sue said, “Debi treats everyone with kindness.”
Carol Connell, Ward 1
Nominated by Chris Connell, presented on Oct. 26, 2017
Pictured from left to right: Alderman Dave Thomas, Carolyn Swanson, Carol Connell, Chris Connell, Alderman Rocky Reitmeyer
Ward 1 resident Carol Connell was nominated for helping neighbors and strangers on a regular basis, and in particular for helping her elderly neighbor, Carolyn Swanson, after she had lost her husband. Carol would help her around the house regularly and even helped her brother move to a nursing home. Carolyn calls Carol her "guardian angel."
Dan Fresenburg, Ward 1
Nominated by Barbara Fresenburg, presented on Oct. 26, 2017
Pictured from left to right: Alderman Dave Thomas, Barbara Fresenburg, Dan Fresenburg, Alderman Rocky Reitmeyer
Dan Fresenburg, an owner of a business in Ward 1, was nominated for assisting a woman at a gas station. Dan was putting gas in his own vehicle and he saw a woman with three kids in her back seat and only $5 cash in her hands. He guessed by her facial expression that it was probably all she had to pay for gas, so he decided to fill her gas tank, paid the bill and did not ask for anything in return. She was very thankful for his generosity.
Michael Illy, Ward 2
Nominated by Marlene Olendorff and the residents of St. Peters Manor Nursing Home, presented on Aug. 10, 2017
Picture on the left: Michael Illy, Alderman Judy Bateman, Alderman Jerry Hollingsworth. Picture on the right: St. Peters Manor resident Loretta Mundwiller and Michael Illy
Ward 2 resident Michael Illy was nominated by Marlene Olendorff and the residents of St. Peters Manor Nursing Home for "unselfishly" donating his time there. Michael Illy’s mother used to be a resident of the nursing home before she passed away several years ago, but Michael hasn’t stopped visiting the residents on a weekly basis to play cards, read stories or just chat with them.
"He never expects thanks or praise but we all feel he is so deserving of this award," Marlene wrote. One of the residents, Loretta Mundwiller (pictured on the right) who is 104 years young, says, “Mike’s visits are a ray of sunshine to the people there.”
Ed Kempf, Ward 3
Nominated by neighbor Nancy Hult, presented on Aug. 10, 2017
Pictured from left to right: Alderman Terri Violet, Nancy Hult, Ed Kempf, Alderman Michael Shea
Ward 3 resident Ed Kempf was nominated by his neighbor Nancy Hult for always helping her out around the house whenever she needed it. When a tree limb fell in her yard, Ed cut it up and hauled it away for her. When Nancy had a hip replacement, he mowed and trimmed her yard and took her garbage bins to the street and back for weeks. When she travels, Ed collects her mail. “Ed is a wonderful neighbor - always cheerful and always ready to help,” Nancy wrote.
Connor Bequette, Ward 3
Nominated by Stacy Castro, presented on Aug. 10, 2017
Pictured from left to right: Kendra Castro, Stacy Castro with daughter Victoria, Alderman Terri Violet, Connor Bequette, Alderman Michael Shea
Ward 3 resident Connor Bequette was nominated by Stacy Castro for saving her six-month old daughter from a horrible accident. Stacy had only turned her back for a second when her stroller, with her baby Victoria inside, started rolling full force down a hill. Connor came running from his house and caught the stroller seconds before it smashed into the side of a truck.
"He didn't know me or my family, but his quick reaction to help saved my daughter and my family from what surely would have been the worst moment of my life," Stacy said. "I nominate Connor for not only his random act of kindness, but for his courage and bravery to help someone in need.”
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