Esther Bunkers receives Volunteer of the Year Award

Thursday, February 8, 2018
Pictured above is Esther Bunkers and eight of her living children who surprised her at the Catholic Schools Week family picnic. Her local children as well as those who traveled from Oregon, California, Texas, South Dakota, and Minnesota came to be with her to receive this honor. (Photo contributed)

Esther Bunkers was awarded the Volunteer of the Year Award at the Catholic Schools Week family picnic on Friday, February 2. The following script was read to announce the award winner:

“The person chosen for the 2018 Volunteer of the year award has a record of volunteerism that spans many years and generations. The wife, mother, grandmother, and great-grandmother that we speak of is Esther Marie Bunkers.

Esther’s nomination was submitted by daughters Linda and Julia in union with their siblings Terry, Marcia, Steve, Anita, Chuck, Bill, Ken, Fred, Pam, and Rod, and in the spirit of their deceased father, Vernon; and brother, Dan. They believe their mother has earned the Remsen St. Mary’s Volunteer of the year award for modeling volunteerism for their family and the community of Remsen, as well as being a model Catholic.

Esther has a deep Catholic faith instilled by a family rich in religious vocations. Esther had five aunts who were Franciscan nuns, a brother, Father Phil Dreckman who is a Jesuit priest, and a sister Peggy Dreckman, who is a Sister of Mercy.

Esther has put her strong devotion and support of Catholic School education into action. After the accidental death of her husband, Vernon Bunkers, in October, 1979, she maintained her dedication and commitment to her faith and her children by making sure that her final three children were educated in a Catholic school. All 13 of her children graduated from Remsen St. Mary’s.

Esther has given of her time, talent and treasures. She annually attends Remsen St Mary’s Ball and church auction. She was purchaser of the “Name the RSM Gym” auction and dedicated it to her late husband and son. She continually advocates for the school and was instrumental in encouraging contributions towards the new high school bleachers and the new activity school bus.

In years past, Esther volunteered at Oyens St Catherine’s and St. Mary’s Elementary center. She assisted the teachers by reading to and listening to children read, and helping with the plays put on by the students. You may remember Esther as the familiar face at the hot lunch program working as a cook in the 1970’s. In 1985, Esther started her 24 year career as the secretary for Remsen St Mary’s parish rectory. She did the bookkeeping and was the friendly voice on the phone assisting parishioners. For some years she was the only staff member employed at the rectory and voluntarily made herself available at all hours to answer questions on the phone.

She was a staunch supporter of the Oscar Cash program and to this day cannot kick the habit of clipping coupons! Esther chose to retire from the rectory position in 2009 but stayed on as a volunteer for at least one day a week for the next eight years to answer the phone, help with the bulletin, and schedule Masses.

Esther resides at the Bavarian Meadows Retirement Community and enjoys free time to read and watch the EWTN Global Catholic Television Network! Esther has been a role model as a parent and parishioner in volunteering time and energy as well as financial support.”