Year-round giving

Samuelsons honored by Craig Boys & Girls Club

Mark and Shannon Samuelson's generous spirit doesn't just come around during the holiday season.

The Boys & Girls Club of Craig is honoring the pair with the Man and Woman of the Year awards because of their desire and commitment to give back to the community.

"We believe that extracurricular activities for kids are important," Shannon said.

She also emphasized that it isn't just the sports programs, but all programs -- like reading and music -- that give kids something besides school to focus on.

"It keeps them out of trouble," Shannon said.

Mark said one of the biggest benefits he's seen is that it helps him and his wife get to know the community's other kids and not just their four children.

"It's a joint effort between the other parents," Mark said. "It's the worst thing as a kid, because everyone knows your business, but it's the best thing as parent, because you have others watching out for you."

Mark's involvement with youth has mostly come on the playing field, but he's also a school district volunteer and a Craig Kiwanis Club member.

As the owners of Samuelson's True Value Hardware, Mark and Shannon have donated to many local non-profit organizations. And Shannon's job as literacy coordinator at Ridgeview Elementary gives her a chance to step in and influence children's lives.

The Samuelsons focus their time and effort toward youth, because sometimes kids are not in the best situation, Mark said.

"Adults can fund their own activities," Mark said. "Kids don't have a choice."

One of the most instrumental fundraising projects that the Samuelsons have participated in is "Hope's Promise Adoption." The organization raises more than $25,000 a year to help women and children in America and abroad.

As an adopted child, Shan-non called it a natural fit.

The Samuelsons are as busy as anyone else, but said they prioritize giving back to the community. Some days it is a tricky balancing act, but Mark said once they got used to the fast pace of their everyday lives, it has been easier to make the time.

"We go in different directions a lot of times," Mark said.

Shannon said Mark's job allows him a little more flexibility.

"He picks up when I can't," Shannon said.

Shannon has spent much of her time -- about 10 years -- involved with the Boys & Girls Club, and said she and Mark are "very honored" to receive the Man and Woman of the Year awards.

Melanie McDaniels can be reached at 824-7031, ext. 211, or mmcdaniels@craigdailypress.com.

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