When Randy Anderson began volunteering for Milaca Elementary School in 1997, he had no idea he would end up logging more than 1,500 hours helping students learn to read and complete mathematical equations.
“I should have asked for pay,” Anderson joked last week as he was honored for his efforts by Superintendent Jerry Hansen, American Legion representative Larry Pelton and Elementary Principal Steve Voshell.
The long hours Anderson has clocked at the schools are kept for records for his involvement in the Milaca American Legion and Sons of American Legion community service branches. But simultaneously helping three community partners wasn’t the only reason Anderson offered his time and love of literature.
“I went to school here, so it brings back memories,” he said. “Besides the nostalgia, there’s a lot of good people who work here and I enjoy their company.”
As a security police officer for the U.S. Airforce who served in Vietnam, Anderson said his sense of duty to his fellow citizens was instilled during his military service.
When he retired from the Duluth area U.S. Postal Service in 1997 and returned to his hometown of Milaca, Anderson put that urge to serve to work at the schools.
“I’m also just finishing up my bachelor’s degree, and this shows that I’m still working,” he said.
With a major in humanities, a minor in English and a desire to join the Peace Corps to continue his literacy advocacy, Anderson said volunteering at the school made all kinds of sense.
“Literature is more than OK,” he said. “I’m looking forward to my Shakespeare class.”