Traci Ingleright has been actively involved in community service for more than 10 years. She also imparts the joy of giving to others to her 4th and 5th grade students. She is a member of the Morgan County Rescue Squad where she was formerly EMT captain. She works at the Relay for Life, Alabama, jubilee, ballgames, and various other activities as a volunteer. She is also involved in the Environmental Education Association of Alabama, which gave her an award for the best environmental program in Alabama.
Ingleright also trains teachers in Project Wild and Project Learning Tree, which named her Teacher of the Year for designing a science camp for pre-service teachers. She travels and teaches about bats for no charge, and has taken groups of students to the University of Florida to the Bat Institute to study the habits of fruit bats in South America. Ingleright’s major thrust in the area of volunteerism comes in the form of the initiation of FRIENDS OF FIREFIGHTERS. This is an ongoing project, which she established three years ago and plans to continue year to year.
Ingleright is the founder of the program, FRIENDS OF FIREFIGHTERS, which she heads yearly, along with the help of her students. They establish needs in the community by talking with firemen, the fire chief, and volunteer agencies. Ideas come from the children that Ingleright then makes happen. For example, a need was expressed about many homes in the area with no smoke detectors. The children thought that they would like to provide these people with these devices, which might save their lives. Every child in the Decatur City Schools was given a survey to determine whether a smoke detector was needed at their residence. Traci met with Home Depot who donated some and gave them the rest at cost to place into homes of people who needed them. Since resources were limited, Traci found ways to overcome that problem by asking for donations from others. Approximately 300 homes were outfitted with detectors based on the efforts of Ingleright and her students.
In addition to the 300 smoke detectors that were provided, Ingleright and the kids painted house numbers around an entire block which had no numbers on the curb. They did this after school and on the weekends. They also determined at another time that fire extinguishers were needed in homes, and have been able to fund 48 of those at this time.
The children have brought candy to give to the firefighters for them to take to neighborhoods and distribute at Halloween, they send them birthday cards, and they have worked together to provide packages for the homeless, including towels, toothbrushes, toothpaste and personal items for their use. All of these activities are wonderful, in and of themselves, but as much as anything is the impact it makes on the children, who will become volunteers in their adult lives and will contribute to the community in which they live and perhaps and even larger portion of the world’s population. This is as a result of Traci Ingleright.