Jefferson Awards: Lisa Lynch

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- There are people in our community who give countless hours to make a positive difference in lives and never ask for anything in return.

The Jefferson Awards is an opportunity to thank them for their service.

Tonight, KOLR10's Melanie Chapman features a Navy veteran, and mother of six, who has volunteered hundreds of hours at area schools to help children and teachers.

Lisa Lynch has been a regular face at Boyd Elementary School the past 11 years.  She doesn't get a paycheck - doesn't want one.

Friends call Lynch one of a kind, who has a love for children and passion for giving to others.

In the last quarter alone at Boyd Elementary School, she has volunteered nearly 450 hours. "I love kids and I can make a difference and if I can make a difference to a kid, I'm good," Lynch says.  "Kids are the most awesome things we can ask for, they are the greatest gift that we can ever ask for."

Lynch, 62, is a disabled Navy veteran. She served 13 years and during that time married her husband Gene, also a Navy veteran.
Together they had five children while on active duty. They later adopted two more children to complete their family.

A happy family, but there have been hardships along the way. After 32 years of marriage, Gene passed away. He lost a battle with cancer.

Soon, more tragedy would come to the family. Two years after losing her husband she lost her youngest born. "He was born with some major birth defects but he taught me, there is nothing you can't do," says Lynch.

Charlie was born with many disabilities including spinabifida. Lynch says he's a miracle from birth - doctors didn't expect him to live. He passed away at age 26.
"I've been very blessed to have him, I'm very blessed to have all these children and I've been very blessed to have a teacher that wants help in her classroom and put up with me," Lynch laughs.

Lynch has been a volunteer in Margie DeWilde's 5th grade classroom nearly a decade. Lynch is there daily, even on weekends to help out.

"Honestly, I'm a better teacher because she's here and the students get so much more help and they can turn their work around so much faster so they can fix their mistakes and the whole classroom is a better place," DeWilde says.

Ms. Lisa has touched the lives of thousands of children over the years. She even maintains a relationship with many of them. Some of them even call her, "Grandma Lisa." 
"Yeah, she's like a third grandma to me." Naveah Smith and her classmates couldn't speak highly enough of Ms. Lisa. They look forward to school everyday.

"She's like very helpful. She helps you with your work and your math and makes it where you can understand better, Naveah says.
Carlos Aguila  is also very fond of Lynch.  "She is really fun. She loves to crack jokes and makes people laugh in her classroom and you know she helps us do our work."

Doing service work is in Ms. Lisa's heart, she says so are the children she helps. "They are like my own kids. They are very, very awesome and they mean a whole lot to me," Lynch says.

A veteran, a mother and grandmother who served her country and continues to serve her community.  Lisa Lynch also holds bookfairs for four schools twice a year, totalling more than 80 fairs.

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