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Pam Andrews is 'Volunteer of the Year'

Her love of the Hastings community and the support the community has given her family have been the major reasons Pam Andrews has been so involved in volunteerism for many years.

On Tuesday, Jan. 19, Andrews will be recognized at the Hastings Area Chamber of Commerce Volunteer of the Year. It is recognition she does not seek.

"It is truly an honor," Andrews said. "But I just want to continue to do my work unnoticed.

Hastings Family Service Executive Director Chris Koop says the recognition being given to Andrews is deserved. Andrews has been a long-time Hastings Family Service volunteer - Meals on Wheels driver, Clothes Closet volunteer, board of directors (she is the president of the board).

"Pam has such a heart - whatever she does, she is so loved and welcoming," Koop said. "She is such a great addition to the board. She adds to the spirit of board; she is so inviting and welcoming."

Andrews has been, and continues to be, supportive of the agency, Koop said.

"She always wants to do what is best for the programs, wants to serve in any way," she said.

Pam and her husband, Dick, moved to Hastings 32 years ago. She began her volunteer activities in the School District when their three children started school.

"I participated in some of their activities in the classroom," she said, "And then I became active at the church (United Methodist Church)."

For many years, Andrews was very active with the Mission Mexico program, a mission program for the community's youth. Every other year, a mission trip is taken to Juarez, Mexico.

"I went on the trip four times," Andrews said. "It is such a great program."

She remains active at her church, in the Young Life program, and often helps with the Wednesday night dinners for youth at the church.

As she drove for the Meals on Wheels program, Andrews learned more about Hastings Family Service's programs and services. She volunteered with the holiday assistance program, coordinated the gift tree program at her church, and then began volunteering in the Clothes Closet.

She has been on the agency's board since 2003, and previously served as secretary before being elected its president. She is proud to be part of Hastings Family Service and what it represents in the community.

"My favorite part of Hastings Family Service, in addition to the incredible job they do in providing emergency services, is how they provide such a positive affect," she said. "That's for the donors, the staff, the volunteers, the joy it creates - they do such a job!

Andrews praised the volunteers and what they bring to the programs. She also praised the community.

"There is no other program like this, and the community's support is like nothing else," she said.

She plans to continue her volunteer time at the agency - usually an afternoon each week when she is not working in the counseling office at the Hastings High School.

She referred back again to the sense of community in Hastings.

"We care about each other, and we are family," she said. She enjoys being part of that larger family.