There are lots of things we like about our Volunteer of the Year winner, but the top two are that she loves helping and she loves people.
Aly first began helping the Kenadi Jean Weis Foundation, upon her return to the Black Hills, when we hosted a booth on Main Street for Downtown Friday Nights. I knew she couldn’t refuse when I asked her, once I threw in that there was live entertainment, because she loves music! Not only did she assist with weekly set up and tear down but, stood out in front of our table handing out brochures promoting our organization. We are still, however, looking for that elusive dance partner.
In addition to assisting at several basketball games leading up to Kenadi’s BHSU ‘Hot Pink Out’ Basketball Night, Aly worked the Raffle Sales table the night of our game in February 2016 and the Silent Auction table on game night January 2017.
She stood outside in the freezing cold and helped me serve our Victory Chili for the tailgate party at BHSU; baked lemon bars to deliver to Queen City Motors as a thank you for letting us use their truck and trailer for our winning Swarm Day float; encouraged fatbike raffle sales to the Our Saviors Lutheran Church congregation after the second service; and devoted a Sunday afternoon to numbering Frisbees for the Basketball Night Free Throw competition- even though I forgot to pick her up for lunch beforehand and she got her car stuck in the snow when she left.
She spent the day at Kenadi’s Karnival & Silent Auction Fundraiser in the food booth shouting, ‘Cheeseburger Cheeseburger, No Coke, Pepsi!’- the famous line from a Saturday Night Live skit- and manned the Popcorn Bar for our Movie in the Park night.
Personally she has supported our BHSU t-shirt quilt and fatbike raffle sales; recruited other volunteers; helped choose colors for our molded bucket swing seats at the Spearfish City and Brady Park; was my bell ringer photographer for Kenadi’s Christmas Stocking- Random Acts of Kindness; created artistic signage for Basketball Night; and is a constant cheerleader for our foundation.
Not only is Aly a beautiful friend, but she is truly love in motion!
This award is entirely fitting for Howard as his hands are always helping by tying balloon animals, swords, flowers, and princess crowns for all of our event attendees. Popular with the kids, the line is oftentimes very long for his crowd-pleasing creations, with no breaks in sight- nor dollars in hand. We are very grateful to have Howard share his art of balloon twisting with our foundation at both Kenadi’s Karnival & Silent Auction Fundraiser and our BHSU ‘Hot Pink Out’ Basketball Night.
Here’s to Howard who is always a hit and truly believes in all work and no pay!
KC is known as Kenadi’s “Papa.” He lives in South Dakota with his family. He is our quiet yet determined volunteer – give him a task and it will get done! Innovative, full of ideas “outside the box,” and full of useless/useful information. Always giving us a different angle with the most giving heart, especially for children with special needs. He misses dancing in the rain with his princess.
Jamey is Kenadi’s daddy. He lives in South Dakota with his two cats that he received on Father’s Day from Kenadi, Foxy and Brick. He works as an electrician for Spearfish Electric and Heating. He has years of experience modifying equipment and coming up with creative solutions. He misses everything about his sweet Kenadi Jean and especially the feeling of her rubbing her nose against his shoulder when he held her.
Chris is known as Kenadi’s Uncle Topher. He is the owner/ operator of Jewel Window Washing in Rapid City and can also be found sharing his musical talents by strumming his guitar, singing, or playing the piano at any of the KJW Foundation events. He is our calm, unwavering volunteer who is willing to lend a hand no matter the circumstance. What he misses most about Kenadi is her belly laugh and what he had to do in order to get one out of her!
Matt is Kenadi’s Uncle Maka. He lives in Spearfish with his wife and two children, Brevin and Teyvin. He graduated from Black Hills State University with a double major in Education and Business. He is currently a geometry teacher at Spearfish High School and enjoys coaching basketball, watching football, and spending time with his family. He misses his eye conversations with Kenadi, her flirty side smile, and beautiful eyelashes that they both share.
Amber is Kenadi’s Auntie Amber. She lives in Spearfish with all three of her boys. She went to school in Rapid City and is a cosmetologist. She enjoys her time baking, being active in the beautiful Black Hills, and cheering on the Denver Broncos. She misses Kenadi’s loving smile and sparkling eyes and misses being her favorite hair stylist. She continues to advocate for other special needs children including her son who has Tourette’s Syndrome.
Although for most of Kenadi’s formative years Uncle Cha was away attending school to become a Sound Engineer he had a special relationship with her. When in her presence, he would patiently sit next to her, oftentimes holding her hand, as she snuck glances at him and eventually offered him an omniscient smile. Kenadi could always make Chase laugh with her quiet antics and playful grin. Their unspoken love for each other evident. Chase admired Kenadi’s strength and determination, and despite her many challenges considered her the family’s real prodigy, a rare and shining star. He believes that there are no true endings, only everlasting beginnings and remains eternally grateful that Kenadi is a part of all that. He hopes to one day soon write a song and dedicate it to her.
Kannan is Kenadi’s little sister. Kannan has the best big sister and they were able to spend the first year of Kannan’s life together – lying in the grass, having picnics, watching morning cartoons, and sharing meals together. They both share the love of swimming, popsicles, reading books, and mommy’s hugs. Kannan continues to learn about her sister through stories, videos, pictures, and memories – “Sissy!”
Kirby is Kenadi’s little brother, hand-picked for Earth by his sister in Heaven. He shares some of her famous traits including his bright eyes, infectious smile and tugging at his shirtfront when frustrated.
Kohen is all of God’s grace in one sweet little face and Kenadi’s youngest brother. He loves warm baths, puppy dog kisses, peanut butter waffles and tender hugs- just like she did. Sisters and brothers are the truest, purest forms of love, family and friendship, knowing when to hold you and when to challenge you, but always being a part of you.
Kenadi’s cousins continue to make waves in her honor wherever they go. They have currently attended nearly every meeting including local playground representative presentations. They all possess a little Kenadi in them that we get the privilege of seeing on a daily basis. From their compassionate nature and loving hearts to Bubble Guppies and Jack Johnson music as well as the occassional fit and pouty lip … Kenadi lives on through these kiddos. They look forward to growing up in a world where children of all abilities play, learn, and love side-by-side.
Our newest Junior Volunteer made her way earthside! Eva Sofia Weis was born on October 30, 2017 weighing 7 lbs. 2 oz. and measuring 18.5 inches long. Kenadi is sure to be dancing with the angels at the arrival of her baby sister! Proud parents, Jamey and Heidi, are overjoyed at their newest addition.