As she has done for years, Reta Stark keeps on giving — the Salvation Army is her choice for a $500 donation in her name as the Norwalk Reflector’s 2008 Citizen of the Year.
“My husband does a lot with the Salvation Army. He serves on the advisory board and we believe in what they do,” Stark, 72, said. She said since both she and her Jim, who started Stark’s Sanitary Service, are retired, they often volunteer together.
“I never could have gotten this award without his help,” she said.
When told she was one of eight people nominated as Citizen of the Year, Stark said she volunteered eveb before she retired as a teacher and librarian because everyone has a responsibility to help their community.
“I enjoy helping other people. I believe in the projects and I think people should continue to give to their community,” Stark said.
Another benefit of volunteering is it keeps Stark and her husband active and makes their retirement more interesting.
Her list of volunteerism is a long one, including Project Leadership of Huron County, First Book of Huron County, Firelands College Development Board, the city of Norwalk, Norwalk City Schools and the American Heart Association Heart Walk for Huron County. That short list doesn’t include many other individual contributions she’s made over the years, such as starting the academic recognition program at Norwalk Middle School years ago.
Stark’s family is very proud of the honor she has earned. She said her husband bought several copies of the paper announcing the award and mailed them out to friends and family.
She called her son in California and told him to check out the Reflector on-line. She said he laughed when he finally came across the article featuring his mother and congratulated her.
A grandson from Connecticut called to ask her how it felt to be named Citizen of the Year.
“It has been a lot of fun,” Stark said, and it gave her another chance to contribute to the causes she believes are important.