Acts of Kindness: The Book Man
SPRINGFIELD, Ore. - For one Springfield Man, volunteering every day to create a richer learning environment for kids in public schools is just a part of life.
His involvement in education began in New Jersey long ago. When he moved to Lane County 1986, he continued volunteering at various schools.
Now, more than 40 years later, he's at Thurtson High School, reading, teaching and challenging students in the classroom.
Meet Ken Raymen, or as most people know him, the "Book Man."
Many of his days are filled with reading to kids. He's been doing it so long now that the children he used to read to are all grown up.
"He gave us these books," said Madeleine Smith, a senior at Thurston. "I still have books on my bookshelf from the 'Book Man.'"
After 15 years with the district, Raymen has been able to make a difference across all ages.
"Being able to see him now, I appreciate him even more for what he's done," said Smith. "I have a little brother here in preschool, so it's neat also having my siblings experience the 'Book Man.'"
For Raymen, however, his work extends beyond books.
"I do proof reading for an English class," said Raymen. "I'm going to be doing Accounting, which is what I did for a career, next term."
Through personal experience, Raymen also brings real life lessons into the classroom, like being drafted for the Vietnam War.
The Book Man says he hopes he can inspire more boys to choose education as a career option. He also says that giving his time keeps him young and connected to something bigger than himself.
"It's inspiring for not only the students, but myself, to see his energy," said James Underwood, Peer Group Instructor at Thurston. "He really wants every child in Springfield to have an opportunity to succeed, and it's contagious."