Volunteering, community spirit earns Heidelberg's family of the year award
December 5, 2008
HEIDELBERG, Germany -- A desire to be an active part of their children's lives led Chief Warrant Officer 2 Arturo Torres and his wife Geanna to pitch in as volunteers, and many other Heidelberg community members' children ended up benefiting.
Last month, the Torres family - including their children Anamecia, 18, Nicolasa, 17, and Josh, 14 - were named Heidelberg's family of the year, part of the garrison's National Military Family Week observance.
"Both Art and Geanna spend most of their time in support of the children at the high school," wrote Heidelberg High School teacher and coach Sharon Brady in their nomination.
According to the nomination, Art, who works at V Corps, is a volunteer coach for cross country and girls soccer, dedicating more than 400 hours mentoring young athletes. He is also president of the Booster Club.
"Geanna is the team mom for almost the entire high school," Brady wrote. During sports seasons, she cooks breakfast every Saturday morning for all the 40-plus athletes on the teams.
She also organizes fundraisers - the cross country team collected more than $7,000 thanks to her - and she helped organize the parents to host the cross country European championships, in which more than 300 runner competed. Last spring, she helped head the efforts of the Senior Parent Association, which organizes and funds activities for graduates.
"If my children were couch potatoes, I would be sitting right next to them, but they are involved in many activities, and I am where my children are," Geanna said.
"I think when you're involved with your kids, you are showing them how important they are to you. Most teenagers don't hear it in your words, but will know from your actions," she said.
Both Torreses feel volunteer work as a family helps parents get to know their children. They get to know who their friends are and whom they associate with.
Brady's nomination highlighted how the parents' volunteering motivated their children to do the same.
Brady said that the children had accumulated more than 200 volunteer hours while making high grades.
"Giving back is better than any gift," Nicolasa said.
"I would think getting involved in sports, even if you're not good, helps you become active in the community," Josh said.
"I firmly believe that all of these children will someday be as valuable an asset to their communities as their parents are to ours," Brady wrote.
Besides the recognition, the Torres family received a voucher for a Rhein River cruise.
The other families who were nominated are: the Perkins family (Peter, Gisella, Jeffrey, Elana and Timothy); the Peters family (Chantae and Marissa); the Steinfort family (Dirk, Allegra, Rowan, Taegen and Layke); the Domko family (Darrin and Kerri); and the Barshinger family (Lana and Keith).