volteer2019 VOLUNTEER OF THE YEAR | PATRICIA LEE KAHLE

Pat grew up in rural Pennsylvania.  Descended from five generations of farmers who settled in the Susquehanna River Valley in the 1700s, some of her earliest memories are playing at the Farmers’ Market near her mother’s baked goods stand.  Living in a small community, Pat witnessed volunteers helping with church projects, Little League, and the annual Firemen’s Carnival.   As a member of the Methodist Church Ladies Choir, she soon became a volunteer herself working estate auctions and putting on vaudeville programs to raise money for a new church organ. Pat put herself through college by working at Weldon’s Pajama Factory every summer for six years.  She got a degree in Anthropology from Penn State University in 1975, after which she accepted a position at Lycoming County Historical Museum in Williamsport, Pennsylvania.  Here too, she worked with some amazing volunteers who were passionate about preserving our history and culture through education programs for local schools.  Encouraged by these same volunteers to pursue graduate studies, Pat was accepted into the Museum Administration program at the College of William & Mary with the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation, 1980-82.  In January of 1983, Pat became a National Trust for Historic Preservation staff member at Shadows-on-the-Teche, where it was no surprise to find a group of dedicated volunteers who gave their time and talents to preserve the site and present educational programs for the schools.  They welcomed Pat and introduced her to all things New Iberia including the annual Sugar Cane Festival.  Pat especially remembers her first parades:  The Farmer’s Parade on Friday night, The Children’s Parade on Saturday morning; and The Queens Parade on Sunday afternoon.  It was a great introduction to a people and culture that celebrated its history, worked hard, and certainly knew how to have a good time!