Published 5/30/2013 by Qinetiq North Alabama in their Corporate Communications Monthly CEO Message
Kerri Bishop Reece is Software Test Engineer for Defense Solutions in Huntsville, AL. She launched an annual Penny Drive in 2007 to help families in need, which continues to this day.
Her story as the “Penny Lady” is a very good one, but Kerri is much more than “pennies”. In her own words, let’s get to know Kerri Bishop Reece.
“I like to keep my life simple,” said Kerri. “Passing time with a good book or doing research on whatever topic draws me in. I am too focused for my own good really. I love to read and write, but more importantly, I love to learn. There are so many things that pique my interest and my desire is to truly master them all. I’m incredibly driven, but I force myself to focus on just a few interests. I like to paint the world around me for the good, seek sunshine through the rain and work daily to make a difference—if only through my words.
“Happiness for me is being a wife, a mother, a grandmother, a sister, an aunt and a friend while entertaining myself as a volunteer, a public speaker, a radio talk show host, a software test engineer and a health and fitness enthusiast.
“I have a degree in Marketing from Gadsden State Community College and am currently attending Columbia University to complete a degree in Business Administration. I’d like to study law after that.”
Kerri has for several years done a Penny Drive. This year-long drive raises money for a needy person or family. For example, in 2012 the Penny Drive collected $1,654.18. The money is given anonymously. Kerri provided the following report for her 2012 Penny Drive:
Kudos to YOU for contributing to the Annual Penny Drive this year!!! YOU are amazing!! We have collected $1654.18 in pennies!! This is absolutely incredible!! One penny at a time we are helping people and in a big way!!
This year’s recipient is a gentleman named Jeff, here in Huntsville, who has been sick for some time, suffering from liver disease and hepatopulmonary syndrome due to the advancement of the disease.
His health has gotten so bad; he is no longer able to work, leaving his wife to care for him, with an income that only affords them medical insurance.
Jeff is set up for a liver transplant (the only cure); but before that can be done, he needs to have oral surgery due to an abscess in his mouth. The doctors are concerned that the abscess will be a source of infection and say it needs to be removed before the transplant can be done. Without dental insurance, the extraction alone will cost $1,300 and Jeff will need to be hospitalized for this surgery due to a problem with his blood not clotting properly. The pennies that YOU collected will pay for Jeff to have this surgery. It will also pay for a few other expenses, like the medications needed, transportation, etc. preparing him to receive a liver transplant.
I do not know Jeff personally and have never met him but what I have learned is that Jeff is a kind, caring man who has spent his entire life helping others. He has given every free moment, donating his time, serving and assisting those with needs, using money out of his own pocket, sparing no expense along the way, in an effort to put a smile on the face of someone less fortunate than himself. I praise you all for coming together to help Jeff in his time of need. It is truly an honor to be a part of this magnanimous penny drive family.
Thanks to Kerri for her commitment to helping people in the community.