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'Seemed like the right thing to do'

by The Western News
| January 26, 2012 10:44 AM

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Pam with Check

Local Kootenai Kiwanis member Pam Peppenger found herself in tears Friday — tears of joy.

Peppenger, who also holds a state Kiwanis office as the Montana District Division 8 lieutenant governor, is the Libby chairwoman of the Kootenai Kiwanis’ Koats 4 Kids effort. And, the reason for Peppenger’s wet eyes Friday, was the reception of a little piece of paper from Jerry Cummings.

For that piece of paper Cummings passed off to Peppenger was a check for $2,940, courtesy of employees of the Revett Minerals, Inc., mine in Troy.

“I just can’t believe this,” Peppenger said tears streaming down her face. “This is just so incredible. Thank you. Thank you,” she told Cummings as she reached out to wrap her grandmotherly arms around Cummings.

Cummings, 37, is a mill-team leader at the mine, and the lucky soul who won the sole ticket through an employee lottery to travel to New York to ring the closing bell at the New York Stock Exchange.

The lottery worked like this: Revett Minerals, Inc., received the opportunity to ring the ceremonial closing bell of the NYSE trading day. Revett CEO John Shanahan decided the honor should fall upon the mine workers and not company brass. So, then, it was left upon the employees to select someone. The employees decided to sell tickets for the chance to make the trip. Consequently, for $5 a chance, employees could purchase a ticket that then would be drawn to make the trip. From 588 tickets, Cummings’ lucky receipt was drawn.

“Oh, I probably spent about $100 on tickets,” Cummings said Friday. “Some spent less, and I imagine some spent more.”

The winner of the expenses-paid trip to the Big Apple also got the distinction of deciding what to do with the money raised by the employees’ ticket fund.

Cummings said many charities were considered. For example, Revett employees just made a donation of more than $15,000 to the Libby, Troy and Noxon food pantries. So, Cummings then turned toward Koats 4 Kids.

“My wife (Andrea) is a first-grade teacher in Troy,” Cummings began. “She sees first-hand how some children do without and with the weather turning even colder now, it just seemed like the right thing to do.”

And, Peppenger couldn’t have been happier with that decision.

“We can be newly restocked,” Peppenger said of the program that runs to Feb. 15.

“It seems like we’re finally getting winter,” she said as snow Friday was piling up outside her office on U.S Highway 2 South.

“This is just the best thing for our program. It will help us get what we need for the kids,” she said.

This is the 12th year for the Kootenai Kiwanis Koats 4 Kids, a program that has given more than 10,000 coats in Lincoln County. Last year, the Kiwanis provided outerwear for 1,326 youth and adults.