Column: Carmel Chamber recognizes locals

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She was speechless. Literally. So stunned when her name was called as the winner of the super-secret honor, a planned and pre-written acceptance speech were the last thing she was going to pull out of her pocket. As the humble, selfless community servant, a simple thank you would have to do. And so Rhonda Kile acknowledged the crowd with a slight wave of her hand and clutching the award, returned to her seat clearly moved by what had just happened.

She had just experienced her engraved name publicly revealed on the Carmel Chamber of Commerce’s Most Valuable Volunteer Award. The MV2 Award recognizes a Chamber member who demonstrates outstanding volunteer contributions while still holding a full time job.

“I was so surprised by the award I was given, I could not think of a thing to say. It really caught me off guard,” she said after the ceremony.

She went on to express her feelings to me, once the shock began to subside. “Not only is volunteering the right thing to do, but more than that, giving has always been in my nature,” she said. “It is in my DNA you might say. My grandparents were immigrants; my parents are first generation Americans who lived through the great depression. No matter how little they had they were always willing to share with others. With fundraising projects, I take that idea one step further asking other people to join me in sharing.”

Rhonda Kile does a lot of asking and people respond generously to her requests. Rhonda’s sheer volume of volunteer projects is not only impressive, but most people comment on her organization skills and spirited dedication to each project. She spreads her talent around.

For those in need, Rhonda demonstrates her success at organizing multiple food drives resulting in as much as 6,000 pounds of food in one year.  For pets, she assists various sheltie rescue groups. She is a key member of Pets Healing Vets, a unique program matching returning veterans with supporting four-legged counselors. She is a four-year Cancer survivor and an active team member in the annual Race for the Cure. To motivate her team she has donned a pink tattoo, convinced her team to dye their hair pink and some to even shave their heads. She raised $15,000.

Friend Jean Hura was at the luncheon and simply said what the crowd was thinking, “She has a very giving heart.”

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