Debra Craig is regional Volunteer of the Year

Posted March 30, 2021 at 1:22 pm

Debbid Craig.psd

Debra Craig, a Clinton County retired educator who spent nearly two decades teaching local students, has been selected as the Volunteer of the Year for the Middle Cumberland Retired Teachers Association.

Craig was first selected as the Volunteer of the Year for the Clinton County Retired Teachers Association, and her nomination was then sent on to the MCRTA level, where she was selected as the regional winner from nominees from Adair, Casey, McCreary, Pulaski, Russell and Wayne counties.

As the MCRTA Volunteer of the Year, Craig will next be considered as a nominee for the award on the state level of the Kentucky Retired Teachers Association, vying with nominees from across Kentucky for the Frank R. Hatfield Award.

That award is presented annually by the by KRTA to a retired teacher who helps their community by volunteering. Frank R. Hatfield was a former Superintendent of Bullitt County and former KRTA President. He was known for his volunteerism.

Craig taught for 19 1/2 years in the Clinton County school system before taking a medical disability retirement in 2002 after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis.

During her teaching career here, she taught homebound, eighth grade English and social studies and high school history and sociology.

She has volunteered for over 320 hours in Clinton County, noting that “my volunteer work is wherever I am needed.”

Refusing to let her MS slow her down, in 2020 she worked independently and through her Five Springs United Methodist Church affiliation doing pandemic outreach, sending cards of encouragement, making phone calls to check on shut-ins, and delivering supplies, as well as volunteering as a reader for Read Across America at Albany Elementary School.

Her involvement with the Clinton County Retired Teachers Association includes serving as that organization’s treasurer.

Two organizations that she focuses much of her volunteer time on have been Operation Hometown Christmas and The Salvation Army.

In addition to being involved in the organization itself, her Operation Hometown Christmas work included adopting a need family to insure they enjoyed a good Christmas by buying and delivering food and gifts during the holiday season.

She has volunteered with the Salvation Army for many years, most recently serving as the volunteer coordinator, organizing and scheduling the bell ringers that work in the area during the Christmas holiday season.

She also worked as a bell ringer herself, as well as dropping off and picking up the bell ringing stands at the businesses where donations are collected during the Christmas season.

Craig noted that during the 2020 season, with the COVID-19 restrictions in place, one of the biggest obstacles involved securing permission from 22 local businesses to allow Salvation Army volunteers to work as bell ringers.

Those COVID-19 restrictions, combined with a lack of volunteers this past season, made the task especially difficult.

Craig says she enjoys her volunteer duties, giving back to her community, and urges others from the area to consider spending time as a local volunteer.

“I believe everyone can volunteer and contribute to their community in some way, great or small,” Craig said recently. “There are no limitations on having a charitable spirit and a servant’s heart.”

In notifying the Clinton County News of Craig’s MCRTA Volunteer of the Year status, Clinton County Retired Teachers Association President Connie Armstrong noted that it was a tremendous honor, both for Craig as well as for the local organization that Craig works so hard to support.

Craig will be recognized in June during a meeting of the MCRTA. The state Volunteer of the Year will be announced in late April.