Old Chisholm Trail NSDAR Presents Community Service Awards

sherry perkins holding award
Sherry Perkins photo by Karel Anne Tieszen

2021 DAR Community Service Awards

Old Chisholm Trail NSDAR presented two DAR Community Service Awards to outstanding volunteers at their October meeting. Community Service Chair Bobby Hill and Vice Regent Sandra Jo LaVigni presented the awards to the two recipients.

The award recognizes someone whose volunteer efforts have benefited their community. The first recipient, Sherry Perkins, is a retired teacher who actively seeks opportunities to volunteer and give back to her community and her church. Ms. Perkins tackles each project with enthusiasm and determination to do her very best. She served as Co-President of the Duncanville Area Retired School Employees from 2014-2016.

Since 2018, she is Co-Director of the Children’s Book Project. The project began with a drive to collect new Little Golden Books, and after partnering with Barnes & Noble, culminated in the ability to furnish a new Little Golden Book to all first graders in Duncanville and Cedar Hill last year. The children were allowed to take the books home to enjoy. Perkins also helps box up the books, and to deliver them to elementary school campuses.

Ms. Perkins was President of Epsilon Sigma Alpha, Theta Pi Chapter, from 2013-16, assisting with the service organizations fundraising projects. The projects benefitted Tri-Cities Animal Shelter and Bridges Safe House. Monetary donations and food were collected for Duncanville Outreach Ministry to benefit needy families. She was in charge of the Angel program that provides Christmas gifts for children in need, and hosted Valentine parties at Laurenwood nursing home.

Community Volunteer Sherry Perkins

From 2016-18 Perkins served as an Elder for First Christian Church Duncanville, and is currently their Board Chair. She has served as church librarian since 1987, and been a member of the church choir since 1998. Perkins also proofs the weekly church newsletter. As President of the women’s organization of the church, Disciples Women, from 2017-2020, she streamlined the calendar by combining activities and eliminating unnecessary meetings.

Perkins organizes the annual Bazaar fundraiser, the annual Spring banquet, and the Little Red Socks drive for Bryan’s House. She also plans the Elder’s Chili Cookoff to raise funds for church members in need, and heads the Disciples Women’s volunteer program to video book readings for Hastings Elementary. During the pandemic she organized Zoom meeting programs for Disciples Women, planning interesting programs to keep the group connected.

As Steward of the Little Free Library program in Duncanville, Perkins helped erect stations in local parks and an elementary school. She volunteered for Pioneer Bible Translators several years, handling clerical duties for their fundraising activities.

Community Service Award Recipient Katie Cannon

The second DAR Community Service Award presented by Old Chisholm Trail Chapter NSDAR for 2020 was to Katie Cannon, a Red Oak HS senior. A dynamic young woman, Katie has organized several service projects for the community. Volunteers for her “Bags for the Better” drive to collect hygiene kits for homeless men, women and children distributed over 500 kits the past two years. She recruited volunteers from her church and school, including ROHS student council, National Honor Society, and Theatre Department members.

three ladies holding awards
Katie Cannon with LaVigni and Hill photo by Karel Anne Tieszen

Service Projects

Old Chisholm Trail NSDAR also joined the drive to collect gently used handbags or totes filled with hygiene products. All hygiene kits include shampoo, body wash, deodorant, snacks, a tooth brush, toothpaste, and wipes. Kids also receive toys with their items, which are packaged in a backpack. Women receive pads and tampons in handbags; and men receive various items, such as combs, in tote bags. The bags were distributed through First United Methodist Church Grand Prairie, FUMC Wheatland, and the DeSoto food pantry.

Other service projects Katie has organized or volunteered for at First United Methodist Church DeSoto include feeding the homeless at Austin Street Shelter, and cooking Thanksgiving dinners and other holiday meals for those in need. They also organize coat drives, and during the pandemic held virtual Children’s Sunday School.

While the church was unable to hold in-person services during the pandemic, Katie and other FUMC volunteers prepared and handed out prepackaged kits. They contained  curriculum folders, crafts, and other activities for the students. While local families drove through the church parking lot to pick up the kits, the program expanded to include mailing kits to students outside the area.

Katie is the daughter of Scott and Kimberly Cannon of Red Oak. She received the All-Star Cast Freshman of the Year UIL Award, and the Best Novice Performer-Freshman Company award. Katie serves as Community Outreach Director for the ROHS Theatre Department. She’s also finishing her Associates of Science degree from Navarro College. Afterwards she plans to attend the University of North Texas in Denton. She hopes to finish a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism with a focus on public relations and a minor in political science.