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LIT’s Koenig earns Rogers Award for outstanding volunteer work

BEAUMONT – Rusty Koenig, program director for Utility Line Technology, is the 2013 Julie and Ben Rogers Community Service Award winner for Lamar Institute of Technology.

He has been with LIT for 13 years, and teaches at the Frank Robinson, Jr. Center in Silsbee.

Koenig’s volunteer work touches on his many skills and his dedication to his hometown area. In 1984, he joined Jones Prairie Baptist Church in Leggett, and was asked to teach the men’s Sunday School class. He readily agreed, and in doing so launched his teaching career.

 In the late 1980s, he was called to serve at Livingston Baptist Church. The church was new, and Koenig cleared the property, rewired and refurbished an old church building that had been donated, and set up lighting for the outdoor and parking area. This work was in addition to his formal church work as treasurer, Sunday school teacher, song leader and interim lay pastor.

He and his family moved to Woodville in 1991 and became members of First Baptist Church in Woodville where Koenig has continued his volunteer work.

Koenig continually gives to the elderly by helping with repairs that they are unable to do. He also provides help with moving, some transportation and minor maintenance issues. In the aftermath of Hurricane Rita and Hurricane Ike, he worked tirelessly on repairs throughout the area.

He is a certified CPR instructor and has volunteered with the American Red Cross from 2001-2004, teaching community CPR classes. He also worked on disaster relief in Hemphill following the Space Shuttle Columbia crash in February 2003.

In addition to the volunteer work he does on his own time, Koenig has also involved his LIT students in helping out the community. In Silsbee, where the program is located, his students have helped put up and take down Christmas lighting in the downtown area, and they helped the Silsbee Independent School District after Hurricane Ike by taking down damaged stadium lighting and then installing donated lighting. They also helped with repair to Little League fields in Orange and Beaumont after Hurricane Rita.

He served as keynote speaker for the Silsbee Kiwanis Club in 2012, and has volunteered with the LIT team in the SkillsUSA competition.

Koenig and his wife Renie became foster parents to Harley in 2009. Koenig’s wife met newborn Harley while working as a home health pediatric nurse. Harley has DiGeorges Syndrome, which affects muscle tone resulting in a host of problems. The newborn had problems with feeding and eventually had a feeding tube inserted. She was later taken from her parents by CPS because of improper feeding. The Koenigs became foster parents so that they could care for Harley, and have since adopted her. She is five now and has progressed so much farther than her doctors originally imagined.

In addition to Harley, Koenig’s family includes a daughter, four stepchildren, 14 grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

In a nomination letter for the award, Randy Wiggins, the electrical director for the City of Liberty, said, “Rusty’s dependability has been a great asset…we can call him at any time for any reason and he is always available and willing to help.”

Koenig will be honored, along with nominees from the other three campuses, with a reception on the eighth floor of the Mary and John Gray Library at 3 p.m. on Oct. 10.

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