“Heartfelt Volunteer,” Ensign, Jan. 1994, 67
“If there were more Bob Pottengers in the world,” says the principal of Washington Elementary in Prescott, Arizona, “the American education system would be infinitely improved. Bob’s heart is in the right place.”
After surgeons completed four bypasses on it last year, Brother Pottenger’s heart is still in the right place, and he is back in the classroom. Retired from the aerospace industry, Bob is a widower who volunteers his time and energies to children who need individual tutoring. He has done it eight hours a day, five days a week, for seven years.
A member of the Bradshaw Ward, Prescott Arizona Stake, Bob works with children from kindergarten through fifth grade in all subjects, but his favorite is math. “I like to encourage them and let them know they can do it,” he says affectionately. “They just need to know you believe in them, and they begin to believe in themselves. It’s all part of the gospel—gentleness, patience, love unfeigned, you know.”
Children benefit from the kind of attention Bob gives. For example, one boy who came to him for tutoring has Tourette’s syndrome, a disorder that causes involuntary twitching, jerking movements, and various noisy outbursts. The longer the boy worked with Bob, the less of a disturbance he became back in his regular classes, and “his ability to concentrate seemed to increase, too.”—Giles H. Florence, Salt Lake City, Utah