DCF: Volunteers Have “Hearts Of Gold”

Posted On November 22, 2011


Press release from the Dearborn Community Foundation





Dearborn Community Foundation “Heart of

Gold” award recipients from left to right,

back row: Paula Bruner, Deron Denton, Pat

Theele and Thelma Stutz. Front row: Anne

Iannopollo. provided

(Lawrenceburg, Ind.) – The Dearborn Community Foundation, Inc. (DCF) recently honored five community volunteers as 2011 recipients of the “Heart of Gold Award.”




The Heart of Gold recipients were recognized for touching the hearts of others through their volunteerism and other acts of kindness. “These honorees deserve this recognition for making a difference in our community in their own unique ways,” said Fred McCarter, Executive Director of the Dearborn Community Foundation. “They are all role models for how all of us can make a difference in our community.”




Each of the five Heart of Gold honorees, nominated by others in the community and then chosen as Heart of Gold recipients by a Foundation committee, were given the privilege to serve on the “Heart of Gold Committee” to award a total of $2,500 in proactive grants to charitable organizations that serve Dearborn County residents.




In recent years, Heart of Gold recipients have been recognized for helping senior citizens or disadvantaged persons, working to improve the quality of education, expanding recreational or cultural opportunities, working with children, protecting the environment, promoting public safety and other acts of kindness.




This year’s honorees are: Paula Bruner, Pat Theele, Anne Iannopollo, Deron Denton, and Thelma Stutz.




Heart of Gold Honorees’ Stories:




Paula Bruner, Hidden Valley Lake: She has been involved with South has been a main organizer for the organization. Paula’s calm and thorough approach to implementing new ideas and her organizational skills were used on everything from the annual Run-n-Gun to scoring the scholarship applications and many are still in place today, said Debbie Busching and Christi Frazier of SDDFS, who nominated Bruner. Last summer Paula’s daughter, Katie, lost her battle with an eating disorder that she had battled for years, both in high school and college. Paula was determined to keep Katie’s memory a positive one and started the Katie Bruner Memorial Scholarship for a graduating senior at SDHS. The scholarship is for a student that best represents Katie’s character.. While the scholarship was a wonderful gesture, Paula did not stop with just that. She wanted to do something to create awareness of eating disorders in our area. She started the Dearborn County Chapter of National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA), established an endowment with the Dearborn Community Foundation and organized a fundraising walk all in a few short months with help from two of Katie’s best friends. The NEDA Walk was held on September 3, and Paula’s goal was $2,500. As always, Paula put her heart into organizing and promoting the event and over $6,000 was raised.




Pat Theele, Aurora: He is a First Elder at his church and has helped several folks in some way or another. He is superintendent at a large construction company and he has used his skills for the good of other people. First, he remodeled the church, said Paula Walston, who along with her husband, Billy, nominated Theele. “My husband is disabled, so our friend Pat put a roof on our trailer and helped us remodel it and would not take any funds for it,” said Paula Walston. Theele put a deck and a roof on the mobile home of a an elderly widow. He told her to give the money for his time to the church. He also helped another elderly couple, at no charge, fix two rooms in their house. “Pat is liked by everyone and goes above and beyond at helping other people. I know he has helped others also. My husband lost his best friend this year and Pat has also taken on the job of being my husband’s best friend,” said Paula Walston.




Anne Iannopollo, Lawrenceburg: “Miss Anne,” as she is known to both staff and students at Lawrenceburg Primary School,  has been volunteering daily for the past four years in Amy Fuller’s classroom. “This dedicated young woman has become an important part of the students’ daily routine,” said Fuller, who nominated Iannapollo.  Miss Anne works one on one with each child and reads stories to the class. Everybody looks forward to listening to her read with an expressive voice. The stories are simply captivating! In the past four years, Miss Anne has helped over 95 students grow academically in our classroom. She has gone above and beyond by developing check sheets and star wall charts that track each student’s progress and growth. Students look forward to their time with her and work hard to earn each star from Miss Anne. She cheers for them when they succeed and encourages them to keep trying as they work towards their goals. “As the classroom teacher, I appreciate Miss Anne’s help each day,” said Fuller. “She is an extra pair of hands that allows me to teach more while she takes care of daily clerical chores.  She prepares papers and staples booklets that are needed in classroom.” All these little things add up to more academic time in our classroom. The effort Miss Anne makes to be with us each day is commendable. She depends on the Catch-A-Ride bus for transportation to and from school. She pays for the bus ride out of her own pocket. At times, she must fight the elements to get to class at Lawrenceburg Primary. Still, she rarely misses a day! The joke around school is that Miss Anne is paid in kindergarten snacks, juice boxes, color pages, notes of appreciation and love from our kindergarten class.




Deron Denton, Lawrenceburg: He has been the president of the Lawrenceburg Youth Football organization for eight years and has coached for 10 years. This has taken so much of his free time and energy but he never complained because he cared too much about making a difference. There were times when kids would not have transportation and Deron would go out of his way to pick them up after work and get them to practice or games. He has even bought cleats out of his own pocket for those kids who couldn’t afford them. Eventually, he started a shoe exchange type program and had people donate used cleats for those who needed them. Deron never stops inspiring the kids to succeed in whatever they do and he does not let them quit without a fight. He and the principal at Central Elementary school developed a tracking system to keep kids trying as hard in school as they are on the playing field. Most recently, Deron became the chairman of the Southeastern Indiana Youth Football Organization. He serves on the Lawrenceburg Youth Grant Committee, the Community Athletic Park Board, and he coached girls softball and girls softball all-stars, as well as serving as Vice President for Dearborn County Softball. Putting so much time and passion into his volunteerism has not come without sacrifice. He has had to sacrifice time away from his family and opportunities to make more money. This has never concerned Deron. He has been able to juggle all this and still help with homework, do the laundry or dishes, make his daughters’ games, help take her to practice, help his son work on his truck and make everyone in the household feel loved and proud.




Thelma Stutz, Logan Township: In 1984, Thelma Stutz retired as the Principal’s Secretary at East Central High School. She had a long career at Sunman-Dearborn Schools, beginning as an “all-school” secretary at North Dearborn High School, which included being the financial bookkeeper for the school. She was the first to arrive at school and the last to leave each day. In addition to doing her job at the school, Thelma was just as active away from her work as a volunteer, said Jim Helms, who nominated her. She helped the band, worked at fundraisers, cooked at dinners, sold concessions, took tickets and simply attended practically every school event, whether a play, sporting event or something else. Whenever there was a death within the school community, the high school band always had Thelma pick up a large ham. She would bake it and see that it got delivered to the grieving family. She also often made items for bake sales, fudge and numerous foods for everything. In the early 1970s, the entire school community rallied together to nominate Thelma Stutz to The Cincinnati Enquirer as Woman of the Year. She was indeed recognized as a Woman of the Year for her efforts in the community and at school. Thelma has a continuous devotion as a volunteer for the Dearborn Hills United Methodist Church. She heads up a weekly luncheon meeting and activities for a group called the Bright Beginnings. Great food is organized to be catered weekly by Thelma. She arranges entertainment weekly.




Dearborn Community Foundation – http://www.dearborncf.org/