Friday, November 18, 2011

Valley student is star volunteer

Kelly Collins wins governorís award

Express Staff Writer

Kelly Collins, right, was honored with the 2011 Brightest Star Student Volunteer Award. Here, she poses with First Lady Lori Otter in Boise.

Wood River High School student Kelly Collins has been selected as a winner of this year's Governor's Brightest Star Student Volunteer Award.

The statewide award is given to students who are outstanding volunteers, nominated by members of the community. According to nominator Cindy Jesinger, Collins was chosen because of her outstanding service during Wagon Days and the more than 100 hours she has spent volunteering throughout the community, as well as her personal strength.

"While finding herself, helping others became a way of life [for Collins]," Jesinger wrote in her nomination form.

Collins created her own charity, Kelly's Cookies, as a way to reach out to U.S. troops overseas. A helicopter pilot who knew Collins was stationed in Iraq, and told her that some of his comrades didn't receive care packages from home.


Collins immediately "adopted" the unit and began babysitting to earn the money for ingredients to bake hundreds of cookies. She sent these cookies to the unit on a regular basis, and continued sending cookies to other units when "her" troops returned home.

Jesinger said she is particularly impressed by the obstacles that Collins struggled through while still helping her community. Through personal turmoil and disappointment, Jesinger said, Collins volunteers for "the worst jobs" and is always the first to lend a hand.

"In managing a truckload of disappointment, Kelly stumbled, but never fell," Jesinger wrote. "Kelly's attitude inspires others."

Collins was honored by Gov. Butch Otter and First Lady Lori Otter in a ceremony in Boise on Nov. 10, along with Tamarack Sports of Hailey, a fellow nominee in the Business category. The Sawtooth Mountain Mamas of Stanley were also nominated in the Organization category.

Katherine Wutz:

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