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Unsung Heroes: Jason Anderson, Jerry Young and Robert Asperger[Part_1]

http://ozarkspub.vo.llnwd.net/o37/KSMU/audio/mp3/unsunghero_3125.mp3

7:30AM: Dr. J. Anderson is principal of Campbell Elementary School in Springfield where staff members say he leads with enthusiasm, kindness and a sense of humor. This segment also profiles Jerry Young, president of the Board of Directors for the Springfield Association for the Blind. He has spent countless hours serving the blind community in Springfield. 4:30PM: Robert Asperger is a lawyer who has dedicated his time and energy into developing a strong cub scout pack at Eugene Field Elementary School in Springfield.

Dr. J. Anderson has been principal at Campbell Elementary School in Springfield for two years.

In that time, he's made quite an impression on the students and staff. Three staff members nominated Anderson for KSMU's Unsung Heroes series, citing his hands on work with the students, his kindness toward the staff and his sense of humor.

Anderson says he takes a very specific approach to his job.

In 2007, more than 88 percent of the students at Campbell Elementary were in the free or reduced lunch program, a key poverty indicator.

Regardless of that, Anderson says he wants to create an environment where students learn in the classroom and learn from their mistakes.

And he says for some students, learning is a struggle. He says seeing those students make progress is especially rewarding.

It's not just the students on whom Anderson has made an impression. It's the teachers as well. In her nomination letter, a Campbell math teacher noted that Anderson had even fixed breakfast for the teachers. Anderson says it's the least he can do.

Another characteristic cited by those who nominated Anderson was his willingness to perform a range of tasks including mopping up spills in the cafeteria. Anderson says any good principal should be willing to jump in and do what's necessary.

Anderson says he appreciates the nomination but gives credit for any of the school's successes to his staff.

Dr. J. Anderson, principal of Campbell Elementary School in Springfield, one of the Unsung Heroes we're highlighting as part of our Sense of Community Series.

As our Sense of Community series continues and we focus on Unsung Heroes, we turn now to Jerry Young. He was nominated for his service to the blind community of Springfield. He's currently president of the Board of Directors for the Springfield Association for the Blind, a group that's facing some financial and legal difficulties. He started out as a volunteer with the association after he retired from his position as a library director in Minnesota.

Young says his interest in helping the blind community came about because of his involvement with Lions Club International.

From there, Young's involvement with the blind only grew. Soon, he and his wife were also making lunch for the weekly gatherings of blind individuals. And from there, he got involved on the Board of Directors. He says he hopes that by this summer, he'll be able to announce either the continuation of the association or the creation of a new group. Young says he wants to revive social opportunities for the blind.

Young says that social interaction is very important to leading a healthy life.

But the Springfield Association for the Blind hasn't been exclusively about social gatherings. Even the luncheons usually included a guest speaker from the broader community. The organization offered training for reading Braille, aimed at people who are classified as "recently blind."

Though neither Jerry nor anyone in his family is impacted by blindness, he says he feels strongly about advocating for these individuals. He says there are many other unsung heroes who are also involved with the blind community.

Jerry Young says when he retired and came back to Springfield in 1999, he knew he didn't want to just while away his days on the golf course. He says he felt he needed to give back.

Jerry Young, one of the Unsung Heroes we're recognizing as part of our Sense of Community series.