Volunteer jumps right in
You can take the girl out of the country, but that won't necessarily change her accent.
Vicki Sperl, facility operator for Lansing Activity Center, 108 S. Second St., grew up on a farm near St. Mary's, Ga., and her drawl still gives away her roots.
Sperl is known for being one of the city's most prolific volunteers. She thought up and organized the first "Children Light the Way" parade in 2003, which culminates on Dec. 4 this year with the lighting of the pine tree near City Hall.
Sperl said she first got into volunteering through her husband, who had joined the Lansing Lions Club.
"He'd always tell me, 'The club's doing this and this, and I need you to do this,'" meaning he'd signed them both up for volunteer work, she said.
"I said, 'If I'm going to be doing all this, maybe I should join,'" Sperl said.
So she went to a few meetings and participated in a few activities, including a highway cleanup and a candy sale at the high school.
"It turned out to be a fun thing," she said. "It was the kind of stuff I always wanted to do anyway."
Sperl can also be thanked for the box in the parking lot just north of the Overlook Restaurant, 720 First Terrace, where unneeded eyeglasses may be dropped off to be repaired by inmates at the Lansing Correctional Facility and sent overseas by Lions Clubs International to those who need but can't afford them. Sperl took the former mailbox when the city traded it for a new, smaller box for bill payment drop-offs at City Hall.
Sperl and the rest of the Parks and Recreation staff volunteered Sunday cleaning up the aftermath of the Spooky Center in the Activity Center.
"We've got a good staff," she said. "We work together and get things done."
Name: Vicki Sperl
Occupation: Facility operator for Lansing Activity Center
Family: Husband, Louis; daughter, Jennifer; son, Steven
How long have you lived in Lansing and what brought you here? 16 years. My husband retired from the military here.
What do you like most about Lansing? The fact that it's a small town and minutes away from Kansas City or any other place you might like to go.
What do you do for fun? Shop and travel. Mostly shopping while I travel.
What would surprise people about you? That I'm not as quiet as they think I am. I used to like to go whitewater rafting and rappel out of helicopters; I was in the Army for four years.
What's the best advice you ever received? "Always take care of your needs before you take care of your wants," from my mother.
What organizations or clubs do you belong to? Lansing Lions Club and American Legion.