OPS awards food service coordinator for dedication to helping others

March 1, 2019 | 3:06 am

Updated March 1, 2019 | 7:30 am

Photo courtesy of Owensboro Public Schools

The Owensboro Public Schools Board of Education awarded OPS employee Deanna Sanders with the Tom Maddox Outstanding Achievement Award at a board meeting on Thursday. Sanders, who’s held her role as OPS’s food service program coordinator for 11 years, was unaware she’d won any sort of award until her name was announced.

Sanders, openly surprised by the announcement of her win, accepted her plaque from the OPS board. Standing in the hallway afterward, surrounded by colleagues and friends, Sanders wiped tears from her face as she discussed her passion for helping others.

“I thought I was here to talk about the summer feeding program,” Sanders said with a laugh.

OPS chief operating officer Lisa McCarty said the Tom Maddox award is given to an outstanding OPS employee who’s made significant contributions to OPS. McCarty told a crowded room that she was honored to recognize Sanders as the award recipient.

“Deanna is a food service program coordinator, and has been working in school nutrition since 2008,” McCarty said. “Since that time, the program has expanded from offering breakfast, lunch and after-school snacks. We now provide a summer meal program and dinner meals.”

OPS school nutrition director Kaitlyn Blankendaal said Sanders has been the driving force behind the expansion of the summer feeding program, providing over 60,000 meals each summer to children at 40 different sites across Owensboro and Daviess County for the last three years.

Sanders also helped coordinate the Holiday Hygiene Helper’s Drive over the past year. The drive accepted hygiene products such as soap, shampoo and other hygienic items to donate to children at OPS.

“She’s been involved in planning activities at central office for the last few years, and she’s always willingly accepted jobs with Goodfellows and central office holiday parties,” Blankendaal said.

McCarty said having a dedicated, selflessly-motivated employee like Sanders was an invaluable benefit to the rest of the staff at central office and OPS.

“It’s amazing [to be recognized],” Sanders said. “I mean, you do your job every day. You don’t think anything about it — it’s your job, and you do it. I love my job. I wouldn’t do anything else. It’s pretty awesome to know it matters.”

March 1, 2019 | 3:06 am

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