Story from:

Dennis Dietrich, Deschutes County

I was a SMART volunteer for several years at Bear Creek Elementary School in Bend. One year I had a student that was in need of some special care. We’ll call him Eric. Eric had a way of getting into trouble and not being particularly studious, so his teacher nominated him for the SMART program. I worked with Eric the entire term, reading with him weekly at my lunch break from work. Eric noticeably improved that term, and his teacher thanked me at the end of the term. But the best thanks I got was several months later, in Fred Meyer’s music department. I heard a voice say “Mr. Dennis?” I looked around and saw no one. Then I felt something tapping my leg, and I looked down. There was Eric. “Mr. Dennis, it is good to see you. Thanks for all the time you spent with me.” You can’t beat moments like that in your life. I will never forget Eric, and I am sure he is an aerospace engineer somewhere today!

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