San Marcos Mercury | Local News from San Marcos and Hays County, Texas
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December 5th, 2008
National Junior Honor Society makes donations

During stressful or traumatic situations, few things can comfort a child like a cuddly stuffed animal. The San Marcos/Hays County EMS and Blanco City Police Department will have 431 ways to help the children they serve thanks to a donation from the San Marcos Academy’s National Junior Honor Society. The Academy NJHS began its Rescue Buddies project early in the fall, giving students, staff, parents and alumni the opportunity to donate stuffed animals or a cash equivalent. In November, the Middle School challenged the High School to see which group could donate the largest percentage of animals. The Middle School won that challenge, but all benefited as a final tally of 431 rescue buddies and $667 was collected.

Members of the NJHS voted to distribute 350 of the rescue buddies to the Hays County Emergency Medical Services Department and another 81 to the Blanco City Police Department, where SMA alumnus Carl Bragg serves as an assistant chief. Both departments will take the animals on emergency calls to give them to young children, or even elderly victims, in crisis situations.

This was the third year the NJHS has sponsored the Rescue Buddies effort, and according to co-sponsor Keri Rhodes, it was the best yet. “We not only had a great response from students, but when the kids did their booths at Homecoming and on Parent Weekend, the alumni and parents were very supportive as well,” Mrs. Rhodes said. “We are just so impressed with how thoughtful the kids are. People think NJHS is an organization that recognizes students who get good grades, but it’s so much more than that. We have tried to help these kids learn that blessings come and blessings should be returned.”

During the collection period for the Rescue Buddies, the NJHS had a chance to put some of the animals to special use. They presented four of their fellow students with their own rescue buddy when a little TLC was needed. “One of our students was injured in a football game, and we presented him with a rescue buddy during a chapel service,” Mrs. Rhodes explained. “Another student had an emergency appendectomy and a third suffered a twisted ankle, so we presented them with a stuffed animal as well. Recently our own NJHS treasurer had surgery, so we took her a rescue buddy to show our love and support for her. The entire project has made our members feel good about what they have accomplished through service.”

Because they had such a high volume response on their project, the NJHS chose to use the money they collected for two other worthy causes. A $250 donation will be presented to the Academy’s JROTC unit for their Toys for Tots Christmas program. Another $250 will benefit the Hays County Food Bank. The remaining funds will also be retained to purchase items for the Hays County Food Bank in the spring when the NJHS holds their annual can food drive.

Members of the Academy NJHS include Shane Boyer, president; Justyn Hinson, vice president; Tiara Hansen, secretary; Kayla Kimrey, treasurer; JiHee Yoon, historian; and members-at-large Kayla Chandler, Rebecca Cox, Desmond Jackson, Youjin Lee, Adam Rollins, Michelle Ruiz, Tony Tran, Rusti Wade and Larry Yoon. Mrs. Rhodes and her husband, Tom Rhodes, are co-sponsors of the group.

by Shelley Henry
San Marcos Baptist Academy

With a few of the animals they collected through their Rescue Buddies service project, San Marcos Academy students Rebecca Cox, Kayla Chandler, Rusti Wade and Justyn Hinson man the National Junior Honor Society’s booth at the school’s fall Parent Day. The NJHS eventually collected over 431 stuffed animals and $667 in cash for their project. (Photo by Don Anders)

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