ABILENE – Early Friday afternoon, AISD superintendent Dr. David Young and members of the district’s administrative staff made their rounds to three campuses to recognize this quarter’s IMPACT Award winners.

Those recognized Friday were Elaine Herwick (nurse at Taylor Elementary School), Amber West (library associate at Bowie Elementary School), and George Orosco (lead custodian at Abilene High School). All three will be recognized again at the regular meeting of the AISD Board of Trustees on Monday, Feb. 10.

The IMPACT Award was introduced at Convocation last August with the intent to honor one professional employee, one para-professional employee and one auxiliary employee every quarter for those who have gone above and beyond what’s expected of them in their job to make an impact on both their campus / workplace and in the community.

Here’s a brief synopsis of each of Friday’s three honorees as told by the employees’ colleague(s) who nominated them:

Elaine Herwick, nurse, Taylor Elementary School

“Elaine works tirelessly to offer proper care for all of our students and staff at Taylor as our school nurse.  But Elaine goes above and beyond when it comes to our neediest students.  She works closely with our PTO to get student lunch balances paid off, she helps with the weekend food bags- packing and organizing.  She helps to make sure our students have jackets and clothing through our homeless liaison. When special services or food are donated to Taylor- Elaine helps identify the families at Taylor that would benefit most from the donations.  In her spare time, she works with the Girl Scouts of America as sponsor/troop leader and teaches them valuable lessons about helping your community.  Elaine is amazing!”

Amber West, library associate, Bowie Elementary School

“Mrs. West is our associate and it should be known that she does a lot more than what her job title describes. This is Mrs West’s first year in the district, but you would never know because of how she connects with students, runs our library program, and engages with the Abilene community. Mrs. West recently put on our Storybook Celebration Day for Bowie Elementary. Students dressed in their favorite storybook character and Mrs. West reached out to community leaders to come read to Bobcat students, such Abilene ISD’s superintendent, local college professors, policemen, Dyess Airmen, local high school and college students, as well as the Mayor of Abilene. Bowie also hosted our Annual Storybook Celebration parade, and students loved it! Mrs. West did a phenomenal job with Bowie’s Storybook Celebration Day! Not only does Mrs West shelve books, teach library classes, and help children find just the right book, she volunteers to mentor students who need a positive and uplifting role-model in their life. When she does this, she offers to let these students come to the library to read, draw or color, and decompress from stress at home or school. Mrs. West often provides a listening ear and gives real-life advice to students who may not receive it at home. Students love to visit Mrs West, because they feel that she genuinely cares about and wants the best for them. Mrs West is an example of a true leader because not only does she hold herself to a high standard (she’s in school to be a librarian!), but she holds our students to a high standard and assists them in reaching their full potential. Abilene ISD should celebrate Mrs. West and what she brings to the students, parents, and employees of Bowie Elementary. Amber is a busy Mom with 4 kids ages 5-16 and her oldest son is a junior at Cooper and is playing on the basketball team. She spends her off time running children from ballet to soccer to basketball games. Amber’s husband, Tremaine West, is a sergeant in the United States Air Force and is a dedicated dad who takes turns helping carry kids all over town. Amber stays active with the Dyess wives – online mostly – and is a great proponent of AISD on their Facebook page. Based on her busy mom lifestyle her community involvement revolves around her kids. She is also finishing up her degree in history with a minor in International studies.  She is classified as a senior and lacks 6 hours to finish. I don’t know how she does all that she does.”

George Orosco, lead custodian, Abilene High School

“A retired firefighter, he is always such a positive element on campus.  Smiling, friendly and happy to take on any issue even though some of them are things that most people would cringe at.  (overflowing toilets, etc.). One thing that I have witnessed him do with his janitorial staff is to constantly build them up. He tells them what a good job they are doing and when something is not done right he is quick to positively redirect and teach them the proper way to do it.  I’ve even seen him have little ‘pump up’ meetings with his crew as they line up to clock out, telling them what a great week it has been and how much he appreciates their hard work.  His wife battled cancer at one point the last several years (she made a full recovery) and he continued to keep that positive attitude and just keep on keeping on.”