At its meeting on March 14, the Board recognized Bob and Linda Gray, a “dynamic duo” of volunteers at Joseph Weller Elementary School, who will receive a Crystal Bowl Award during the Junior League of San Jose’s 48th annual volunteer recognition luncheon on April 28 in Santa Clara. They will be honored as one of 10 volunteers at the luncheon, for their service at Weller in addition to in the community at St. Elizabeth Catholic Church in Milpitas and the library.
Kindergarten teacher Kindergarten teacher Susan Von Tersch nominated Bob and Linda. Susan alongside kindergarten teacher Kristi Hirano shared why the Grays have been wonderful volunteers since Linda began volunteering eight years ago.
“Mrs. Gray has not only been a grandmother to the children, but she has been a loving mother, she has been a teacher, she has helped, we’ve calculated, over 500 kindergarteners get ready for first grade,” Susan said. “She loves them, she is a joy. She gives them laughter, silliness. She has a loving heart and listening ears to those kinders who will say, ‘Mrs. Gray, a long time ago when I was four’, and she will listen with a beautiful, loving smile. She is present with them, and that’s a great volunteer, just being present… She has wiped many noses, she has tied many shoes, she has dried many tears, she has received many hugs.”
Mrs. Gray began volunteering at the school because she lived in the neighborhood, but her grandson lived in Nevada so she wanted to be around children who were her grandson’s age, and she also wanted to give back to her community.
About four years ago, when Mr. Gray was thinking about retiring, his wife asked how the teachers felt about him joining her volunteer efforts at Weller. The following year, Bob joined the kinder community and fit right in, Kristi said.
“He’s been retired for about three years now, after being an engineer. Now he’s with children,” Susan said. “Mr. Gray has a quiet, calming personality which is really perfect for those wiggly kinders. Mr. Gray has also brought a lot of his engineering experience and his expertise to all of our SEAL units. It’s so wonderful to see all the children being so engaged with Mr. Gray as he built a weather station for them and, just last week, showed them the garden that he built.”
Kristi concluded: “I think one of the most remarkable things about both of them is they are willing to dedicate so much time and energy to the children and the school where they don’t have any children attending, so I think that says a lot about them individually.”