‘Story time lady’ entertains, teaches Sembach youth

Emily Reagan
Kaiserslautern American

***image1***Every Thursday at 11 a.m., she reads two stories to about 20 children, teaches them sign language and puts the educational lesson together with a craft activity.

“I love to see the children signing and hearing them get excited about the library and learning,” said Lisa Coon, the “story time lady” at the Sembach Library.

In addition to her preschool storytelling hour, Ms. Coon is quite the “mega-volunteer” in the Sembach community. She leads a jogging club, a health program and a playgroup, volunteers at the Airman’s Attic and for various Protestant Women of the Chapel committees.

On top of all that, she home-schools her three children and just recently finished her college degree in psychology.

“She’s most remarkable, unselfish, dedicated, tireless woman living in the Sembach military community,” said Helen Lehman, a librarian at the Sembach Library. “She has touched the lives of many children, youth and families.”

Ms. Coon and her husband, Tech. Sgt. Robert Coon, 86th Maintenance Squadron duty title, have been stationed here for four years. At previous bases, she was just as active, volunteering for the Airman’s Attic, directing plays, teaching Sunday school at base chapels and more. At their last assignment at Kadena Air Base, Japan, she worked with a crisis pregnancy center and helped man its hotline.

“I volunteer for several reasons, not only to help better my community, but it gives me a feeling of belonging and accomplishment,” said Ms. Coon. “I believe I’ve been given talents and I want to use them to the best of my ability. I do not think about the amount of time that goes into my volunteer work. It’s just part of my life – it’s my lifestyle.”

She also took charge of the Sembach Playgroup when the former leader PCSed.
“I have children who love playgroup I wanted to see it continue and grow,” she said. “It’s nice just to get together with other parents where the kids can play in a warm and safe atmosphere.”

The free group is for parents with children up to age 5 and meets 10 to 11:30 a.m. Tuesdays in Bldg. 90. As the group leader, Ms. Coon plans summer field trips, craft, game days and other children’s activities.

She’s also spearheading a new walk/run club.
After years of running and walking by herself, she started the 7:20 Club to encourage and motivate people to get out of their houses and get active together.

“Last year I noticed different squadrons and offices running as a group. It occurred to me that there were many family members and active personnel who did not have the opportunity to workout with a group,” she said. “I know that I’m more determined when I have someone who will push me and support me.”

The 7:20 Club meets 7:20 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays in the parking lot of Bldg. 84. Families, children, strollers and dogs are all welcome to walk or run in the free group.

“I love to run and set new goals for myself,” said Ms. Coon, who is now planning to run in her first marathon in 2006.

In addition to the exercise club, she runs a Christian-based health program focusing on healthy eating and having a balanced life. The program has helped her lose 65 pounds.

“The program means a great deal to me because it gives me the opportunity to motivate and encourage others who are on the pathway to better health,” she said.

Finding the time and the places to volunteer is easy, she said, especially in the Sembach community.

“We’ve enjoyed living at Sembach because it has a warm, small-town feel. It is nice to belong to a smaller community where everyone knows your face and name.”