Health teacher nabs Volunteer Award

By Anna Yee

June 2, 2012 Updated Jun 2, 2012 at 6:21 PM CDT

PEORIA, Ill. -- Patti Bash isn't like your average school teacher. She educates about 42,000 students each year.

Bash is a registered nurse and health educator at Peoria's Hult Health Education Center, the institution she founded more than 20 years ago.

"I've worked with Patti for 22 years," said Marcy Coppernoll, Curriculum Director at Hult Health. "She's a great teacher. She displays a lot of enthusiasm, and the students know it. They can really sense she cares about them. She's a true advocate for children's health."

Bash's passion for healthy living overflows into the community.

She's an active volunteer for countless events, like Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure and her own Loaves and Fish Feeding Ministry.

"We've been feeding every single Saturday for 17 years at First United Methodist Church," said Bash, "and that was a dream of mine to feed the hungry."

She also raises money to help sick children.

Bash is on the development committee for the Children's Hospital of Illinois.

She has volunteered for all but one Children's Miracle Network telethon, helping raise millions of dollars.

"Even though it has been 26 years, she's always coming up with a new idea every single meeting," said Shauna Skowronski, Coordinator for the Children's Miracle Network.

"Having the positive attitude is really, it's kind of contagious," continued Skowronski, "because then everybody on the committee and everybody on the board can share in her enthusiasm as well."

Bash says even though retirement may be in her near future, that won't stop her from doing what she loves.

"My mother used to be a volunteer, and I guess I learned from her," said Bash. "So, I started off volunteering when I was really little, and I think if everyone can do just a little, the world would be a much better place."

Tune into WEEK this Sunday, June 3, from 10:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. for the Children's Miracle Network Telethon.

You can make a pledge to help out the local Children's Hospital of Illinois.