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Eagle Ranch christens volunteer award for 1st winner

Longtime volunteer Capps honored by Hall County children’s home

POSTED: September 5, 2013 11:13 p.m.

Volunteers, supporters and staff serve their plates Thursday evening at Eagle Ranch during the annual volunteer appreciation dinner at the children's home.

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Longtime Eagle Ranch volunteer Jack Capps is not only the inaugural Volunteer of the Year award recipient, he’s also its namesake.

It was an emotional moment Thursday evening, Capps wiping tears from his eyes as he received a standing ovation from a roomful of Eagle Ranch volunteers at the organization’s annual appreciation dinner.

“I can’t believe it,” Capps said. “There are so many people that do so many things. I’m not that special.”

Established in the mid-1980s by Executive Director Eddie Staub, Eagle Ranch Children’s Home is a “Christian-based children’s home,” according to its website. Children and teenagers from a variety of backgrounds live on the site near Flowery Branch, while licensed counselors and other professionals work to provide therapy and resources for families to ultimately reunite.

There were over 400 volunteers at Eagle Ranch in 2012, with the appreciation dinner designed to “give back and thank the volunteers that so generously give their time,” Director of Communications Stefanie Long said.

Those volunteers fill a variety of roles, most providing meals or cutting grass.

“We have a lot of acres out here,” Long said, referring to the 270 acres the retreat encompasses.

In fact, that’s how Capps started volunteering at the ranch.

“I used to come out at 10 o’clock in the morning, get on the tractor,” Capps said. “I brought me a lunch and would hang it up on the tree, cut for two hours, stop and eat my lunch while I sat on the tractor, and go back and cut. It was great. It just gives you a sense of being able to help somebody.”

Staub called Capps the embodiment of volunteerism.

“He was one of our first volunteers, and worked tirelessly for us mowing grass, whatever’s needed,” Staub said. “He was always willing to stand in the gap and help out.”

Director of Facilities Tim Wilson remembered Capps from when he first started.

“In 2001 when I first began working with volunteers at Eagle Ranch, I met a gentleman,” Wilson said. “He was in his 60s, early 70s, and he came to volunteer at the Ranch.”

Wilson presented a stunned Capps with the Volunteer of the Year award as his wife, friends and fellow volunteers watched with pride.

“I hope that I can invest in the way that he’s invested,” Wilson said, adding that the award would be named after Capps so his legacy of volunteerism would continue down through the years.

Capps, now almost 84, said he has had to “calm down” in how much he does, but he still has a heart for his volunteer work, and for the ranch.

“It’s been a wonderful time to have been involved with Eagle Ranch,” he said.


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