NICEVILLE, Fla. — Pat Smales, a long-time Okaloosa County School District volunteer, has been named the Senior Volunteer of the Year for the 2022-2023 school year.
According to the OCSD, Mrs. Smales has spent many hours processing library books for several school libraries in Okaloosa County. She was trained by media specialist Patty Davis when her children were students at Plew Elementary School, and she has spent hours upon hours learning how to do her work professionally and correctly.
“This is not the work of a “regular” or “run of the mill” volunteer,” said Tammy Matz, principal of Plew.
“She even takes her volunteer work home. We call that homework in the education world.”
Mrs. Smales is credited with single-handedly saving schools hundreds, if not thousands of dollars, by quietly processing library books. She catalogs, labels, researches, covers, shelves, and delivers books to multiple schools.
She also willingly drives long distances to give her time generously to school media centers, teachers, students, and families that attend OCSD schools.
“Mrs. Smales is a retired United States Air Force veteran and has continued to serve this school district without anyone truly knowing the depths of her volunteer service,” said the OCSD.
Mrs. Smales is a mother to seven children, grandmother to three, substitute teacher, circulation desk volunteer, reader, encourager, and community volunteer.
“Her impact on the students and families in our school district is immeasurable,” said the OCSD.
“She is the dream of every school district and exactly the kind of volunteer we need more of in our communities. Willing to give abundantly of her time and talents for the betterment of others, especially our children.”