meet deanna gilbert CHILD NUTRITION DIRECTOR » Hope Public Schools, Hope, Ark. Q: How long have you been an SNA member, and what’s been your favorite Annual National Conference (ANC)? A: 28-29 years. I’ve never thought about a favorite [ANC]! They have all been good. I guess I would pick Salt Lake City, because it was so beautiful. We have had awesome speakers at them all. I love to see new food items and hear new ways to do things for the students. Q: What’s your favorite aspect of the school nutrition profession? A: I take home more than a paycheck. I help teach students good health. They have impacted my life as much as I have theirs. Q: What’s your favorite vacation spot, and why? A: Petit Jean State Park [in central Arkansas]. It is so beautiful and quiet, and it has trails and hiking. We have our family reunion there now—sometimes that is the only vacation I take. Q: What is the most romantic thing anyone has ever done for you? A: My husband sent me flowers on our 25th wedding anniversary. You have to know my husband—he doesn’t do that kind of stuff often! Q: What kitchen appliance do you use every day? A: The coffee pot is used every day—got to have my “get up and go” juice! Q: What would people be surprised to learn about you? A: This is a hard question, because I am the type of person that you know where you stand with me. I stand up for what I believe in. Q: What is one of your best memories from childhood? A: I am the oldest of three children, so I was the one who chopped down trees and split wood with an ax and mowed the yard. I loved to go to the woods with my dad; I out-walk people today because I learned to keep up with him. What I would give to have him back with me now. Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of and why? A: I never dreamed when I was younger that this country girl would be flying in planes and going to Washington, D.C., to fight for our kids’ meals. To be getting to see other places I probably would not have ever had the chance to. Child nutrition has been my passion for 30 years now. I love what I do. Q: What motivates you to work hard? A: God gave me a passion to do what I do. I love to feed those hungry tummies. I love the snot-nosed hugs in the mornings. I love all the pictures and thank-you cards I have gotten over the years. One day just before Christmas break, a precious little girl came up and gave me an apple wrapped in a paper towel. She said, “Mrs.Deanna, I just wanted to give you a Christmas present, but this is all I could give you.” That’s why I do what I do.
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