Everyday Hero: Robert Harris Jr.

Everyday Hero: Robert Harris Jr.

CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - It's easy to be drowned out by the din of students packed on a school bus.

For soft-spoken Robert Harris, he makes his voice heard in other ways.

"I like working with kids," Everyday Hero Robert Harris Jr said. "That's the part that I really do like. And it gives me a chance in between routes to do other things."

For 34 years he's shuttled kids around Cape Girardeau, taking stock of their accomplishments and watching them grow into adulthood.

But it's those "other things" he does, far beyond the hustle and bustle of pick ups and drop offs, that enhances these students' lives even if they don't know it.

"I grew up working the fields," Robert said. "And not having enough. And I know what that's like to not have enough. And you wouldn't want to see someone else go through that. So as I got older and got a chance, I wanted to help other people."

It's difficult to detail all the ways Robert has made an impact in this town.

To start, during the summers he plants vegetables at two community gardens and takes that fresh produce to elderly around town.

"So it's a way of trying to do something for someone who can't do for themselves," he said.

But as with his job, the real focus of his volunteer efforts is the kids.

"Our kids eat so much junk food. You know it's not nutritious."

And thus began "Kids in the Kitchen", a summer class teaching kids how to make snacks that are actually good for them.

"You know when you've lived something yourself, you understand the need," Robert said.

And with that first-hand experience in mind, he founded the "Urban Kids Project".

Last year they collected school supplies for 300 kids.

A success story driven by home grown relationships and divine inspiration.

"I must be called, chosen to do this," Robert said. "This is what I love to do."

And as someone with a deep knowledge of what it takes to make living things grow to their full potential, he can best explain what his mantra means to him.

"Bloom where you're planted was a term I heard a friend use one time," he said. "I took that to heart. I live where I live. I was born when I was born. And so I work where I work. So you make the most of your situation. That's what I mean about bloom where you're planted."

If you know of an Everyday Hero in your life, please let us know.

Just click here to make your nomination,

We'll profile an Everyday Hero each month on Heartland News, and all of our heroes will be honored at the annual Red Cross recognition luncheon.

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