YUCCA VALLEY — Town officials honored Jim Powell with the second Spirit of Yucca Valley Award Tuesday night for his dedication to youth and community service both locally and far away.
“This was unexpected,” Powell said.
Powell is a computer science instructor at Cooper Mountain College and a passionate believer in giving back.
“When we serve other people, we are changed on the inside,” he said.
Powell, who helps the Morongo Unified School District with computer education, said he strongly believes in the power of all types of education.
“Don’t let school get in the way of your education,” Powell quipped after accepting his award, adding that education comes in so many forms, not just in a classroom.
A resident of Joshua Tree, he has served as a volunteer for many organizations benefiting Yucca Valley, the Morongo Basin, and other countries including Mexico and Haiti.
Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Drozd, who presented the award, listed Howell’s accomplishments, including taking Christmas gifts from Morongo Basin residents to the children of a Mexican village; cleaning cages and walking dogs at the Morongo Basin Humane Society animal shelter; helping feed people at the Way Station in Joshua Tree; volunteering with Mara’s Christmas Wish; and volunteering at Church on the Hill.
At Copper Mountain College, he directs the coding club and coding academy and is faculty adviser for the service club.
“He does so much for this community,” Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Drozd said. “Jim is a person who gives.”
Council members recently instituted the Spirit of Yucca Valley Award. Honorees may be recognized for contributions to the arts, business, community, education, public safety, youth and quality of life.
The individual must have provided an overall positive impact and or contribution for the town of Yucca Valley, Drozd said.
The first Spirit of Yucca Valley award was presented to Kathy DeRouen by Councilman Merl Abel in May. DeRouen, a former teacher at La Contenta Middle School, dedicates her time and energies to helping local students achieve their educational dreams.