Boler named Volunteer of the Year

Boler named Volunteer of the Year


Jacob Boler, an 11-year forklift driver at Weyerhaeuser, has recently been awarded the company’s Volunteer of the Year due to his exceptional work with children in Neshoba County. 

He is one of only five employees selected companywide and the sole recipient from the Southeast region. He was selected based on his volunteer activities throughout the year, his dedication to education and youth development, as well as by nominations from co-workers and six different community members.

“He rescues people by loving them,” wrote Philip Prince in his nomination. “They know he sees them. They know he cares. They see him work. He challenges people because Jacob isn't satisfied with the status quo. He provides hope and is a role model. Jacob doesn't take it easy on people. He challenges them to strive for excellence.”

Boler has gone above and beyond over the years. He founded the nonprofit Kids Over Everything (KOE) in 2009, organizing annual school supply drives, toy drives, and various events for local children.

Boler said his motivation for founding KOE began after noticing a lack of events going on in the area for local kids. He said he wanted to be involved and start with something small, which ended up being a little dance during Christmas Break at the Neshoba Sportsmans Club in Philadelphia. 

“I had no idea the school supply drives would get as big as it did when I first started,” Boler said. “It started off with 50 kids, the next year it was 100, then 300, then it got to a point where I was getting 2,500 kids, and we had to start doing the events at the Coliseum.”

Most recently, KOE held its second annual Christmas Toy Drive in December. Boler said the event was an even greater success than the ones before and he plans to have the drive again this year. 

"I want to be a positive force for change however I can, whether by making sure kids have gifts to open on Christmas or helping them gain basic life skills,” he said. “For many of them, even just knowing there’s an adult out there who cares about them is impactful.”

Boler said his commitment is not driven by recognition, but it makes him feel good when he has positive interactions with kids who recognize him as the person who generously provides them with school supplies and toys.

“Weyerhaeuser has been a big help,” he said. “My coworkers have been magnificent. They will go out to Walmart themselves to buy school supplies and toys, and they let me put flyers up so people will donate. When they put the word out, it goes a long way so others will know to help.”

Beyond working for Weyerhaeuser and running KOE, Boler is also an assistant basketball coach for the Philadelphia High School boy’s team and offers free basketball training at the Church of the Arc at 138 Lakeside Drive.

“When you come to my camp we are going to work hard, we are going to say “yes sir” and no sir”, and be respectful,” he said. “We are going to do all the intangible things that people don’t do nowadays. I teach kids when they shake hands to look a man in the eye and give a firm handshake. Simple things like that can take them a long way in life.”

Despite the sense of accomplishment and success, he feels this award brings to him, Boler continues to remain focused on making a profound impact on the lives of children and being a positive role model in his community.

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