La Crosse, WI (WXOW) --- The Jefferson Awards is the Nobel prize for public service and a prestigious award that honors volunteers in the community.
This month we honor, Tammy Hewuse a mother, mentor and role model for young girls.
Sitting on the floor of her office at Tomah Middle School, Tammy Hewuse shared her philosophy on volunteering. She says it starts at home. Tammy raised 6 kids, 4 of whom are her brothers kids. "They all have learning disabilities so they all get help in the disabilities program and some behavioral issues, some emotional issues. So it was difficult but a job we would absolutely do again."
But here at school there are other special kids in her life. The kids that are called horrible names by their own parents, sometimes their parents don't come home at night or they are getting hit."
When the school is short math tutors, Tammy pitches in but she is primarily a Counselor or mediator for students in conflict. But outside of her duties at home and at school she helps just about anyone who needs it. I had a great experience taking a woman who did not speak English and was pregnant to her doctors appointments in La Crosse. We just smiled at each other.
Tammy does other miscellaneous random acts of kindness. On the day we visited with her she volunteered to clean the front yard of the home of a sick woman whose house lacked curb appeal. Tammy helped clean up so the house could go on the market.
When she learned kids in Tomah wouldn't get gifts over the holidays she organized the spirit of giving Event. And when she heard that kids in other parts of the world wouldn't be getting meals she organized the Tomah Mobilepack community event. 500 volunteers packed 100 thousand meals for children in 62 countries.
Like many Jefferson Award winners before her Tammy says she's figured out the key to happiness. Well sometimes we don't feel very good about ourselves. "So if you're having a low day, a down day, do something for someone else and you'll feel better."
And another thing that makes her feel better is empowering young women. She organized the Sister to Sister Summit, an event that brings young girls and accomplished women together to show them it's ok to dream big.
Tammy's passion is kids. That's why she put together the spirit of giving event when she learned that some kids in her area weren't going to get any presents over the holidays.
Part of her mission is to show people that if you don't have money to give, donate your time. She says it's the quickest way to feeling better.