Texas State Board of Education awards 2021 Heroes for Children award to local firefighter

Isaiah Riebeling donated an iPad, a picnic table, a $200 H-E-B gift card, and school and cleaning supplies to the DeWitt-Lavaca Special Education Cooperative

YOAKUM, Texas – Isaiah Riebeling was presented with the Texas State Board of Education’s 2021 Heroes for Children award at tonight’s school board meeting in Yoakum. Riebeling received a plaque, a certificate from Governor Greg Abbott, and his name will be permanently engraved at the TEA headquarters. Riebeling donated his time and effort to the students in the DeWitt-Lavaca Special Education Cooperative which serves nine area school districts. Riebeling spent his free time building and donating a picnic table, as well as donating an iPad, a $200 H-E-B gift card, and school and cleaning supplies when he heard there was a need within the district. Riebeling says that growing up he would always try to help anyone in need which is how he found himself in his career as a firefighter.

“They’re much more dynamic than what a regular school needs, I was like okay that’s where I can make an impact, where there’s a really great need because not a lot of people don’t know about it. So really first of all people need to know the schools need help with stuff, like supplies, but then there are schools like the co-op who need real specialized help,” says Riebeling on being called to help out where he was needed.

As a firefighter Riebeling also brought fire trucks and EMS vehicles for students in the co-op to get a first-hand look with and to show the students firefighters are here to help them and to not be scared of them when they are suited up in their gear.

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Glen Kusak, Yoakum ISD Board of Trustees President presents Isaiah Riebeling with his award

TEA said the following about Riebeling on their website:

Isaiah Riebeling (Yoakum ISD/Dewitt-Lavaca Special Education Cooperative – SBOE District 3)
Isaiah Riebeling is a one-of-kind firefighter who made special connections with students at the Dewitt-Lavaca Special Education Cooperative, which serves 9 school districts in the area. It started with the annual show of firetruck and emergency vehicles with the bells and whistles that gave students a thrilling hands-on experience of seeing, hearing, and climbing. Riebeling stood out by taking the time to take a photo with each student, to squat at their levels as he talked and listened to them, and to lift them into the ambulance or firetruck for a closer look. His thoughtfulness and kindness continued during the pandemic when there was a dire need for picnic tables so students could eat outdoors. Though he had never built a table before, he donated a picnic table from his own handiwork. His generosity was also displayed through innumerable year-round in-kind and cash donations that directly benefited both students and staff when cleaning materials were scarce during the onset of COVID-19. Mr. Riebeling is the embodiment of true compassion and altruism through his selfless actions.

To read more about all the award recipients click here.