On April 29th, during our Barbara Jordan Celebration and Cocktail Hour, Trinity Center will proudly present Caroline Kibler with our prestigious Pat Hazel Award. Caroline not only organizes multiple groups of volunteers from St. Michael’s Episcopal Church for our Sunday Trinity Streets service, but she also keeps an eye on whatever our neighbors might need. Her stealth donations arrive throughout the year.
We hope you will join us for this important fundraiser (click here for tickets), and we hope you will join us in congratulating Caroline for the amazing work she has done for our homeless neighbors for more than a decade.
QUESTION: You’re a behind-the-scenes person, but you’re going to have to step up and be honored soon. So tell us a little about yourself: Where are you from, where do you work, how long have you been serving Trinity Center?
ANSWER: I’m originally from Hiawatha, Kansas. In addition to Kansas and Texas, I have lived in Illinois and Louisiana. Thanks to a family that enjoyed traveling and 12 years in a job that required constant travel, I have been to 49 of the 50 states, a lot of Canada and Europe and a few other places. But mostly, I enjoy being a tourist right here in Austin — going to new restaurants, enjoying the opera and all of the live music, and seeing all the that is going on.
QUESTION: What do you do when you’re not doing Streets — which seems like never?
ANSWER: I work as a project analyst for HNTB, a transportation engineering company. I have degrees from TCU, Washburn University and UT.
QUESTION: A typically over-educated Austinite! What brought you to Trinity Streets, and what keeps you coming back?
ANSWER: My first volunteer experience at Trinity Streets was in 2000. I reluctantly volunteered with the 20/30 group from St. David’s, because I wanted to spend time with those folks. I enjoyed it, and pretty quickly I was coming about twice a month and was a leader in the kitchen or for hospitality. That was in the days when Trinity Streets was using space in the Caritas building. I have been volunteering for all but about three years since then, currently with the groups from St. Michael’s.
One thing that keeps me coming back is being able to spend time with the neighbors, and especially being able to share in their worship. I also enjoy working with the other volunteers. There is always a bit of excitement because every day is different.
QUESTION: You’re receiving an award named after Trinity Center’s spiritual father, whom you actually knew. Not everyone has been that blessed. What are your memories of Father Pat Hazel
ANSWER: Although I didn’t know Father Pat that well, I have warm memories of him at St. David’s, at Trinity Center and even running into him at places like the airport. He seemed to always be comfortable and relaxed, and he seemed to be able to share that with everyone around him.
QUESTION: Your St. Michael’s groups are so organized and joyful when they come to Streets. How did you recruit them, and how do you continue to inspire them?
ANSWER: First, the clergy at St. Michael’s have given tremendous support to Trinity Streets, and the Outreach Commission has also made a commitment to make Trinity Center a priority. So, all that is really left for me to do is to let folks know about our service and to invite them to join us. We have a core group of dedicated volunteers, and we like to keep including new people. As for inspiring, I think it comes from the neighbors and the whole group at St. Michael’s and not from me.
QUESTION: Is there anything that particularly touches you about feeding the bodies and souls of our neighbors?
ANSWER: Inside of Trinity Center, it is easy to focus on the the similarities between us and our neighbors experiencing homelessness. It’s good to be reminded that they are all unique people and that there is always at least one person each time with whom I find something in common — an interest, something we find funny, a concern. And I’m continuously surprised at how kind they can be to each other and to the volunteers.
Now that you’ve met Caroline, please come and toast her!