Patch looks back with a list of 11 people who made a difference by helping others or volunteering in O’Fallon this past year.
- Carol was one of the first volunteers featured on O'Fallon Patch. She's been volunteering for over a decade. Whether she's behind the scenes in O'Fallon's Volunteer Services office making copies of programs for an upcoming event, or dressing up as Mrs. Claus for the city's annual tree lighting—Carol can always be found volunteering in the community and 2011 was no exception!
- Dr. James Fetsch makes yearly mission trips to provide affordable dental care to those in need in other countries.
- Dr. Fetsch also spearheaded an effort with Deer Creek Dental and , bringing nearly 100 volunteers together to host their first on in January 2011. The clinic provided free dental care, meals and clothes to 250 people in need, from all around the St. Louis region.
- In January 2011, a year after and earthquake devastated Haiti, Jim Keagy, of O'Fallon, said the country's struggle was far from over. Keagy is the president of the St. Louis Chapter of Edge Outreach, a non-profit organization based in Louisville, KY, that promotes hygiene and helps Third World countries install water purification systems. At the beginning of 2011, he organized a group of volunteers who installed water purification systems in Haiti.
- The Davis kids participate in several volunteer opportunities throughout the O'Fallon community.
- Alexis Jaegers, of O'Fallon Volunteer Services, nominated Rebekah and Andrew as O'Fallon Patch Whiz Kids in February. She said: "They are great with children, respectful towards adults and easily and naturally assume leadership roles. Volunteer positions, lead or otherwise, are often created because of the skill, talent and heart offered by Rebekah and/or Andrew. Whether they are engaging children in activities, cleaning creeks, planting flowers, assisting in the City’s greenhouse, making tissue-paper flowers, working on small projects or stenciling storm drains, Rebekah and Andrew are having fun and making sure that others are too.
- Sgt. Steven. M. Landsness of the received several honors in 2011, for his bravery that saved a woman's life in October 2010.
- While off-duty, Landsness was walking a trail in Florissant, when he heard a woman screaming for help as she struggled against the Missouri River current. While others stood by, Landsness jumped into the water, swam 75 feet and pulled the woman onto shore, saving her life.
- Maddie started her own charity called Warm a Heart, which collects blankets for people in need. In 2011, she also teamed up with her cheerleading squad to host Cheer UP!, a high school cheerleading competition designed to raise awareness surrounding the issues of bullying and teen suicide. Although the event was cancelled when only six squads signed up, Maddie and her squad still managed to raise $2,500 in corporate/individual sponsorships to support their cause.
- The Fort Zumwalt West eighth graders were nominated twice as O'Fallon Patch Whiz Kids. On the 10th anniversary of 9/11, the Junior Jaguar Cheer Squad honored O'Fallon first responders by delivering cookies and chili to thank them for their service to our community.
- The squad gave back this holiday season and picked out clothing and a fun item to purchase and deliver to the St Charles Crisis Center on Monday, Dec. 12.
- Around the 10th anniversary of 9/11, O'Fallon Patch talked with Randy Sanders. After witnessing the heroic acts of local bystanders and emergency service workers on 9/11, Randy decided to join the Urban Search and Rescue Missouri Task force. Members respond to man-made and national disasters nationwide when local emergency response has exhausted their resources.
- Since joining the task force, Sanders has aided victims of disasters including Hurricane Katrina and in 2011, the .
- Isabella hosted a food drive for Operation Food Search this year. At Isabella's 10th birthday party in October, she asked her friends to make a donation rather than bring birthday gifts.
- Lindsey Peters, 11, of O'Fallon, is the founder of a nonprofit charity called Sharing Smiles. Throughout the past few years, Lindsey has collected hundreds of hats, socks and toys that were then donated to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. This past year, Lindsey and her team of volunteers have made hundreds of small, stuffed bears used to brighten the days of children at the hospital. Because of her efforts, she is also one of 200 recipients of the $1,000Cares Regional Scholarship for Impactful Community Efforts.
- O'Fallon Patch followed the progress of Brendan's Playground throughout 2011. The women behind the all-inclusive playgrounds popping up in metro St. Louis are Natalie Blakemore and Victoria Schmitt Babb. They work together to raise money, design the playgrounds and spread a message of understanding differences through the universal language of play.
- Today the organization has built in three parks, including in Lake Saint Louis, in Clayton and in O’Fallon. Unlimited Play's next project is scheduled to be complete in spring 2012 in Jaycee Park in St. Charles.
- In November 2011, The Huffington Post chose Natalie Blakemore and Victoria Schmitt Babb as its "Greatest Person of the Day"—an honor recognizing people who confront issues in their community with creativity and passion.
Editor's Note: If you know someone doing something great in the community and would like to share their story, we'd love to hear from you! Email firstname.lastname@example.org. or call 314-210-4987.