Spirit of America nominee: Jim Watkins

Tuesday, July 3, 2012
Jim Watkins (ADAM VOGLER)

Nominated by United Way of Southeast Missouri

Jim Watkins devoted 30 years to making our community better, serving our youth as an educator and public school administrator. His effect on our community was felt and recognized as Jim served in leadership roles through the Missouri State Teachers Association and received honors such as the Outstanding School Administrator Award through the CTA/MSTA in 1985 and the Southeast Missouri Principals Association Award in 1998.

Following retirement, Jim continued to serve his community through various roles. He served as the community development coordinator for the Community Caring Council, the community coordinator of the 21st Century Community Learning Center, the program coordinator for the United Way's Success by 6 early childhood initiative, is a health and safety instructor for the American Red Cross and is a training coordinator for the CERT Alliance, helping to equip people in our community be prepared for disasters.Jim served in the U.S. Army in Fort Or, Calif., reaching a rank of Sgt. E-5.

Jim is married to Mary Watkins, who currently works in the library at Blanchard Elementary School in Cape Girardeau. He enjoys photography, fishing, reading, traveling and enjoying his granddaughter.

Throughout his life, Jim has gone above and beyond to fulfill his duties and an educator and as a citizen of our community. Jim has served in roles that many others won't. He understands the importance of being involved in community and uses all of his resources to strengthen the community.

Jim used his experience and passion for education after his retirement to write and administer a state grant that offered after-school programming in our public schools in an effort to help our students be successful.

His most recent passion is emergency preparedness, understanding the importance of being prepared to withstand an emergency. As more and more communities, including ours, face disasters -- from floods to tornadoes -- Jim's service becomes more and more important.

Community involvement

* Member of Head Start Policy Council

* Safe Kids Coalition

* Project Impact

* Children and Youth Committee of the Community Caring Council

* First Call for Help Advisory Board

* Community Emergency Response Team

* Southeast Missouri State University's Coalition for Campus and Community Changes

* Transition Team for the Community Caring Council

* Cape Girardeau Masons

* Cape Girardeau Area Chamber of Commerce

* Board member of Missouri Accreditation

* Board member of Child Care Resource & Referral Network

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