Released: Jan. 20, 2000
Tammy Deiter honored at Centre College
DANVILLE, KY -- Tammy Deiter, a Centre College junior from Centerville, Tenn., has been named the college's January Volunteer of the Month for organizing a campus event to raise funds and awareness of homeless Kentucky veterans.
The students held a vigil for the homeless in early December, sleeping outside on the college lawn in cardboard boxes. Each participating student sought donations from members of the college community, and the group raised about $400 with the event.
Deiter organized the event in her capacity as vice president of the Centre chapter of Alpha Phi Omega, a national service fraternity. She had first learned about the plight of the homeless when she volunteered to help in a Louisville homeless shelter last year, and the predicament of homeless veterans made a deep impression on her.
"Every case of homelessness is sad," says Deiter, "but it seems especially sad for veterans. These are people who risked their lives for their country, and now they have almost nothing."
Deiter says her contact with homeless people has convinced her that homelessness is often "one step away" for many Americans. "At the shelter in Louisville, I realized that many different types of people become homeless. There's not just one homeless 'type.'"
A former Beta Club member at Hickman County (Tenn.) High School, Deiter says she began volunteering partly because she saw such need all around her and partly because other volunteers are interesting people. "I've gotten very involved in Red Cross," she says, "taking classes to become certified for emergency work in shelter operations and damage assessment. I like the idea that I could be useful during an emergency, and it's been fun to meet some of the charismatic people who teach the Red Cross classes."
Deiter says that veteran Red Cross workers also have incredible stories to share from their experiences dealing with disasters overseas or at home.
Deiter is majoring in anthropology and, although she is not yet certain about her career plans, she has considered professional work with a service organization like the Red Cross. For now, she will continue giving her time to charitable causes on the Centre campus and in the surrounding community. In addition to the her recent work on the homeless project, Deiter also directed a Christmas angel tree on campus for the local Salvation Army. She recruited students and employees to become "angels" for local children who otherwise might not have received much for Christmas.
Deiter is a 1997 graduate of Hickman County. Her parents are Carol Deiter of Centerville and Dean Deiter of Lyles.
Centre sponsors a volunteer award program to show appreciation to the many students who provide service to the local community. Each year, around 60 percent of Centre students become community volunteers. The college encourages voluntary service by planning a community service day each year for all first-year students. Ann Young serves the campus as director of volunteer service.
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