Carole Raynor offered the words above from Kahlil Gibran's "The Prophet" to help characterize the kind of person the late Rev. Al Bunch was and the kind of people the Saline County Mental Health Association (SMHA) chooses to bestow its annual Al Bunch Humanitarian Award upon each year.
The recipients this year were Herb and Ruth Scherer, of Slater, who were honored at the organization's annual banquet Tuesday, May 13, in Marshall.
On the framed certificate they received are the words, "For continuous leadership and service to the community and your loving compassion for your fellow man."
The Rev. Pam Sebastian introduced the Scherers and cited their many contributions to the community. Among the most visible is their contributions to Habitat for Humanity.
Herb Scherer is the volunteer supervisor of construction, directing the work of other volunteers as the organization builds new houses for families who might not otherwise be able to afford their own homes.
Scherer is currently directing the construction work on two Habitat for Humanity houses in Slater.
"Herbie just kind of turns up in places and everybody's the better for it," Sebastian said. "He finds a job for everybody and makes everybody feel welcome, even the 'use this end of the hammer' kind of thing."
Ruth Scherer, along with her sister, Kathy Borgman, organizes the annual nativity festival that helps raise money for Habitat for Humanity.
Ruth is a cook at Orearville school. She also has been actively involved with Thrivent for Lutherans for some years, according to Juanita Blumhorst.
"She recently coordinated a 'Join Hands Day' project involving youths and adults preparing and sending care packages to the troops," Blumhorst said. "And we participated in the big fundraiser for the tornado victims at the Hardeman school over a year ago which she organized."
"There are some people who just quietly do the right thing every day," Sebastian said, noting that the Scherers exemplified the type. "We're very, very grateful for all you do. I know because Al Bunch was my best friend that he would be, too."
The couple have been married nearly 49 years, Sebastian said.
The Scherers were surprised at the banquet, not only to receive the award, but to find their three children, one daughter-in-law and one grandchild in attendance, too.
"I was really surprised," Ruth said. "There are a lot of people who are just as deserving. We just enjoy what we do."
"It's a great honor," Herb said.
He added that the second Habitat house in Slater is being sanded in preparation for painting. He said siding was being installed, too.
And he welcomes more help from volunteers who can spare some time Saturday mornings to pitch in.
In other business at the dinner meeting, SCMHA President Jacci Grossenburg awarded the organization's three $300 grants.
The recipients were Hardeman R-10 School, represented by Shirley Brown; Northwest Elementary School, represented by Janine Machholz; and Alexander Elementary School in Slater, represented by Bethany Harris.
Each school representative said the money will be used to purchase materials that will help improve the mental health of students and staff.
Drew Hawkins, who last week received a master's degree from Missouri Valley College, reported about how a grant received last year by Butterfield Youth Services had been used.
Hawkins said material was purchased to help educate students and staff about various kinds of bullying. He said the ideas from the material are being incorporated into the BYS curriculum.
Contact Eric Crump at email@example.com