Karen Watson, child nutrition manager at Sylacauga High School, is being heralded a hero by the local school system, the national School Nutrition Association (SNA), and the School Nutrition Foundation (SNF), the philanthropic arm of the SNA. She is being honored by the national SNA and SNF as a School Nutrition Hero for volunteer work she performs in the community.
Watson uses the skills she acquired training for her CNP position to provide nutritional guidance for clients of Cheaha Regional Mental Health. Also, for over 10 years, Watson has been a secretary for the Coosa Valley Rescue Squad and volunteers to provide meal service and care for the adults with disabilities through the Mental Health Center.
Watson has been involved in several search and rescue emergencies. After hurricane Katrina, she was sent to Mississippi to assist with the cleanup.
Sylacauga City Schools Child Nutrition Director, Kelley Wasserman, nominated Watson for the award. Notes Wasserman, “Between the rescue squad and Cheaha Mental Health, Karen’s volunteer work has opened my eyes to needs in this community I did not realize were there. She does it without thinking; she does it on her own time, and she is a hero.”
“Karen is so very deserving of this great honor. She leads by example and always puts the needs of others first. Her willingness to serve others has made her such a valuable member of Sylacauga ESP,” says UniServ Director Charmelle Lewis.
SHS Principal, Matt Hubbard says Watson is “invaluable.” Hubbard also noted that he likes to visit the CNP ladies for a pick-me-up because they are always happy and having a good time.
Watson received a voicemail congratulating her and initially thought the call was a mistake. After playing the voicemail for her director and seeing her reaction, Watson says she knew it must be real.
She loves every aspect of her job, “except maybe the paperwork. I love being with the children. I never thought it was about me,” she said. She thanks her supervisor for thinking enough of her to nominate her for this honor.
The SNA/SNF’s leadership developed the School Nutrition Hero award to recognize the extraordinary efforts of ordinary members. One of five recipients from across the country to receive this award, Watson will be inducted into the charter class of Heroes at the School Nutrition Association’s Legislative Action Conference on March 3, 2014, in Washington, D.C. She is very excited about her trip and plans to go early to sight see.
Watson says it makes her feel good to help those who are in need.