THE JEFFERSON AWARDS: Our July winner donates her time to impact the lives of children and adults

Every month Fox47 features someone in our community who is making a difference and honors them with a Jefferson Award. 

Our July winner is Rita Howe. She is a stand out volunteer at Good Earth Village in Spring Valley donating her time to impact the lives of the campers and staff.  

"She has so much heart for good earth village and it’s mission," said Good Earth Village Office Manager, Vanessa Tesch.

Howe has been a volunteer for Good Earth Village for about 4 years, but her passion to do good started long before that. 

"I remember a moment in my childhood where I was in the hospital," said Howe. "I remember a moment where an acquaintance of my parents came in. She popped in the door and she had a little stuffed lion. I didn’t really know her but it had such an impact on me that someone else was doing something for me so I think that really formed my initial wanting to do thing for other people."

Howe started out doing administrative work for Good Earth Village, but now she does much more.

"I sort of developed into a jack of all trades," said Howe. "Which is typical of camp retreat work."

What isn’t typical is Howe’s work ethic. 

"A lot of days she would be the last one to leave," said Tesch. "After a lot of the staff had gone home she would be the last one in the office getting everything done and making sure everything is ready for the next day."

Rita’s children attended camp here for years, but after they were grown she felt a pull to come back. 

"I kind of found myself here," said Howe. "It brought together all my talents and my life experiences and for the first time in my life I felt a calling, that this is where I needed to be and with the staff here I just kind of felt like I was building relationships and like all non-profits it seems like they are not appreciated as much as the value they add to the organization. I feel that I can help support them."

The staff appreciates the support Howe gives them. 

"She is such a kind warmhearted woman," said Tesch. "She’d do anything for you and would give you the shirt off her back and spend 24 hours a day if you needed her by your side. She’s willing to do anything."

That willingness is what makes Rita stand out. 

"She deserves this award over and over again but she would be the last to admit it," said Tesch. "She’s that kind of a person." 

A big thank you to Rita for all she’s doing for our community.

f you know someone who’s also making a difference, you can nominate them for a Jefferson Award by clicking here



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