Hughes & Coleman Hometown Hero: Jim and Sharon Whitman
BOWLING GREEN, Ky. (WBKO) - Jim and Sharon Whitman are a husband-and-wife duo that spends multiple hours a day each week volunteering at Rich Pond Elementary. Their positive impact is felt by the students, faculty, and staff.
Their selflessness embodies community spirit and earns them the admiration of everyone who knows them.
“They go above and beyond assisting in the cafeteria each day helping the children open food, clean up messes, and building positive relationships with the kids,” said Principal Derick Marr.
They also help the teachers and staff with tasks around the school. Especially when they are short-staffed.
“Mr. Whitman stayed 8 hours to help clean and make sure everything got done in the school,” Marr said.
It was through their church, Rich Pond Baptist, that they were connected with the school. Initially set to only work a couple of weeks, the Whitmans fell in love with the work and decided to continue helping.
“We came the first day of school and said you know there’s a need here to help all the little kids,” Sharon said, “So we ended up coming every day because we really enjoy it.”
Jim, a retired MEDEVAC pilot, and Sharon, a retired Registered Nurse have a strong desire to serve. They say that they are no heroes but have worked with many of whom they consider to be heroes.
“Now we get the opportunity to work with other heroes,” Jim said. “The teachers here that teach these kids and care for them so well.”
They do their best to interact with all the children and give them the attention that they feel is vital for their health and well-being.
“It’s such a big group and you try to interact with them all and we try to listen and make them feel important,” Sharon said.
“A lot of kids just want to be listened to and we try to make time even in this busy environment to listen to them because it’s really important,” Jim said.
Their goal is to make the children feel special by creating a safe and supportive environment. They emphasize the importance of open communication and assuring everyone that their help is always available.
“Our bookfair is coming up and they have asked if they can help donate money to kids who might not be able to afford a book,” Marr said.
Principal Marr says that Jim and Sharon’s contributions every day make a positive impact on the community and that they are very blessed to have the Whitmans at their school every day.
The Whitmans say that they are just as fulfilled with their service to the community. They also encourage other retirees to call their local schools and offer whatever help they can.
“We want to do this as long as our health will allow and as long as they put up with us,” Jim said.
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