A Copperas Cove man has been named a Hero for Children by the Texas State Board of Education for his service to the schoolchildren in the community.
Retired Army veteran Charles Lyons was selected among 15 volunteers who will be recognized as the 2017 Heroes for Children at the September 15 meeting of the State Board of Education in Austin.
The "Heroes for Children" award was established by the State Board of Education in 1994, and is designed to recognize excellence in advocacy for education and spotlight volunteers whose efforts make significant contribution to public education in Texas. The award honors volunteers who have shown prolonged periods of involvement and support of schoolchildren in Texas public education.
Lyons teaches students the importance of patriotism, loyalty, community involvement, and pride through the Copperas Cove High School Excel Club, which is sponsored by the Noon Exchange Club of Copperas Cove. The club volunteers at numerous community events such as ringing bells for the Salvation Army, picking up trash for an adopted highway, and helping with the city's holiday festivals.
"The mission and goal of the club is service to the community through service projects in the four primary categories: community service, youth programs, Americanism, and child abuse," Lyons said. "I lead a great group of young men and women who understand the value of community service and its importance in helping to improve the community we live in."
Lyons schedules all the club's activities, which takes hundreds of hours of his time.
Additionally, Lyons supervises a youth basketball league for the schoolchildren on the weekends and during the summer. The retired veteran oversees the entire league -- which includes recruiting volunteer coaches, raising money for uniforms, trophies and awards, reserving gyms, planning concessions and volunteers to work concessions, hiring umpires, etc.
The time Lyons dedicates to the community's youth ensures the kids stay busy with activities rather than getting into trouble on the streets.
"(Lyons) does it because it brings him true joy to work with children and to see them gorw to become productive, contributing citizens in our community," Copperas Cove ISD Communications Director Wendy Sledd said. "He was a hero in our military and he is a hero in many circles in our community."
For Lyons, the reason he volunteers is simple.
"Whenever I am asked why I volunteer, the answer I provide without going into a lot of detail is 'someone has to do it'," Lyons said. "I realize schools are no different than many other institutions who lack necessary resources, both in personnel and materials, to accomplish all that needs to be accomplished."
The Heroes for Children portion of the meeting will begin at 9:00 a.m. September 15 in the William B. Travis building, located at 1701 N. Congress Ave in Austin, Texas.