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Quietly doing good

Eagle’s Trace Community Outreach Committee meets needs in Houston and beyond

Created date

February 8th, 2016
Members of the Community Outreach Committee
Members of the Community Outreach Committee

In between calls on a recent busy morning, firefighters from Houston Fire Station 86 on Briar Forest Drive were treated to an unexpected surprise.

Members of the Community Outreach Committee at Eagle’s Trace stopped by with two $500 gifts cards to show their appreciation.

“We’ve taken baked goods to the fire station before since it’s located so close to Eagle’s Trace,” says committee member Patricia Moore. “The more we got to know the firefighters, we learned that they have to purchase the food they eat at the fire station, and they also provide any extras, like televisions for the fire house.”

The Community Outreach Committee organized a collection drive at the West Houston community. Residents donated $1,000 during a two-day period.

“This was such a generous gesture,” says Captain Tom White of Fire Station 86. “Many of our supplies aren’t provided by the City of Houston, so these gift cards will go a long way toward offsetting some of those costs.”

Spirit of service

The Community Outreach Committee’s effort to benefit area firefighters is just one in a series of goodwill initiatives.

“We’re looking at projects all the time,” says Ernest Buschhaus, chairman of the Community Outreach Committee. “Our goal is to team up with organizations and provide support to them.”

Ernest and his wife Joyce moved to Eagle’s Trace in July 2013 from North Carolina to be closer to their daughter in Katy. Ernest is a retired colonel with the U.S. Marine Corps.

“When I retired, I ran an all-volunteer outfit at the Marine Corps Air Station Cherry Point,” says Ernest. “We had a database of about 6,000 military retirees, reserves, spouses, and widows, who we helped as needed. When Joyce and I moved to Eagle’s Trace, I felt it was important to continue to help out where I could.”

Ongoing community outreach

Members of the Community Outreach Committee sponsor a number of ongoing projects, as well as several one-time initiatives. 

They provide blankets to critically ill children through Project Linus, and they help process and package peanut butter once a year for Houston’s Food Bank.

Committee members also collected enough donations from residents to provide 126 wreaths that were used in Wreaths Across America’s wreath-laying ceremony on December 12, 2015, to honor fallen veterans.

The committee organized a holiday party for special needs high school students in the Transitioning Onward Promotes Success (TOPS) program through Spring Branch Independent School District. Many TOPS students work in dining services at Eagle’s Trace.

Also in late 2015, the committee distributed cups to residents as a vessel to collect loose change. The money will be donated to the Souper Bowl of Caring initiative on February 7, Super Bowl Sunday, and distributed to local charities.

Volunteer mindset

Donna Schlitt has served on the Community Outreach Committee for the past four years. 

“I feel like this committee is an extension of me,” she says. “I’ve been active in volunteer work all my life, and I feel like being able to help others in various ways enhances my life at Eagle’s Trace.”

Donna recently coordinated a Kits for Kids packaging day at the West Houston community to benefit Project C.U.R.E.

Kits for Kids provides personal hygiene and basic medical supplies to families in the developing world.

“The items we collected were basic first aid supplies you’d use in raising your children,” says Donna. “Many families in developing countries don’t have access to these supplies. We also packed each kit in a drawstring bag, so the children have the additional benefit of getting a backpack.”

Committee members collected enough supplies and donations from residents to assemble 61 kits.

“Any project that benefits children is dear to my heart,” says Donna. “I like to help any way I can.”