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Volunteer's PTA efforts lauded

December 24, 2002|by ANDREA ROWLAND

andrear@herald-mail.com

WILLIAMSPORT - Lee Draper Jr. doesn't think his volunteerism at Springfield Middle School in Williamsport warrants any special attention, but those who know him say the accountant's efforts add up.

"There are so many people who do much more than I do," said Draper, 44, of Williamsport.

Springfield PTA President Courtney Plume and others disagree. They say Draper and his wife, Tina, are always available to help at their children's school.

Shannon Draper is in sixth grade at Springfield Middle. Lee Draper III, who attended Springfield for three years, is a freshman at St. James School.

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"Any time we need them, Lee and Tina are there to help," Plume said. "They are just very generous, thoughtful people to the Williamsport community."

Lee Draper, chief financial officer for HBP Inc. in Hagerstown, has audited the Springfield PTA's financial records free of charge for the past four or five years, Plume said.

Draper also voluntarily audits the financial records for his family's church, Rehoboth United Methodist in Williamsport.

Plume said the hundreds of dollars in accounting fees that Draper has saved the PTA has enabled the organization to funnel those resources into student services. In addition, Draper has advised PTA members about money-saving strategies and created customized financial forms to make accounting easier for the PTA's treasurer, Plume said.

The 20 or so hours it takes Draper each year to audit the financial records is "no big deal," he said.

"It's just a little something I can do to help the school out," Draper said. "Every penny the PTA can save is worth it. With budget cuts, the PTA has to step up to the plate to pay for a lot of things that used to be provided."

Lee and Tina Draper volunteer to help with such school events as choral concerts and Destination Imagination tournaments, Plume said.

Lee Draper said he and his wife take the time to participate in their children's education and extracurricular music and sporting endeavors because it's the right thing to do.

"I think one of the biggest problems today is that parents aren't involved enough with their kids," he said.

The couple shows support for their children's activities and teachers, said Robin Bleesz, a sixth-grade teacher at Springfield Middle School.

She remembered the Drapers staying late to help clean up after an evening activity at the school, visiting the classroom during American Education Week and sending her a wreath to welcome her back to school after she had surgery.

The Drapers' "high regard for education and teachers is reflected in the positive attitudes of their children," Bleesz said.

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